AFC West: Cordy Glenn

One of the more difficult draft minds to predict belongs to San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith.

Smith has made plenty of first-round picks made by that have been under the radar. Few expected him to take Illinois defensive end Corey Liuget last season or Northern Illinois pass-rusher Larry English in 2009.

Don’t be surprised if Smith springs another surprise this year with the Chargers' No. 18 pick.

A lot of people (myself included) think the Chargers will take a pass-rusher such as Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus, Syracuse’s Chandler Jones or USC’s Nick Perry or an offensive lineman such as Stanford’s David DeCastro or Georgia’s Cordy Glenn.

But I think it would be a mistake to simply think in such a limited scope.

If Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd is available, I could see him being the choice despite the heavy focus on receivers in free agency. Floyd is a special talent and the Chargers like him.

San Diego could also draft a cornerback such as Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick or South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore. Cornerback isn’t a major need area, but if the Chargers like a certain player there, a case could be made.

I know the Chargers like their inside linebackers, so maybe Smith will nab Alabama’s Dont'a Hightower. Why can’t an impact defender be a classic inside 3-4 linebacker?

What does this all mean?

We’re dealing with Smith and that means everything is on the table, pressing needs or not.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has offered another mock draft . This time, McShay is going two rounds deep. Let’s take a look at his choices for the AFC West teams:

First round

11. Kansas City: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

My take: I don’t mind this pick at all. He would help this defense and he would shine under Romeo Crennel. Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe is off the board, so this pick makes sense.

18. San Diego: Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

My take: Illinois pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus needs to be off the board for this to happen. The Chargers badly need a pass-rusher. If David DeCastro is available, I could see the argument to take a guard, but in this instance, Mercilus needs to be the choice.

25. Denver: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

My take: This is a good fit the way this board falls. Brockers has potential. The Broncos, though, would need him to perform right away.

Second round

44. Kansas City: Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin

My take: I don’t mind this pick. The Chiefs could use another youngster along the offensive line.

47. San Diego: Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington

My take: Ta’amu has a chance to be a good player, and the Chargers need more help on defense, so I can’t argue with the choice.

55. Denver: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech

My take: Wilson would be a great value pick at No. 55 and I expect Denver to target a running back with the pick.

Note: Oakland traded its pick in both the first and second rounds.
In Insider pieces, we are offering a double dose of mock drafts. Both Mel Kiper Insider and Todd McShay Insider offer new mock first-round drafts. Let’s check out their choices for the AFC West teams:

11. Kansas City:

Kiper: Luke Kuechly, MLB, Boston College

McShay: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

My take: This is interesting. Kiper has Richardson being off the board when the Chiefs pick and McShay having them taking advantage of him falling down the board. Richardson would be a luxury pick for the Chiefs, but he would give them a nasty offense and a great backfield partner for Jamaal Charles. Kuechly is a safe pick, who should be there for the Chiefs at No. 11. I think he could be the pick.

18. San Diego

Kiper: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

McShay: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

My take: I like the Mercilus pick. The Chargers need a pass-rusher badly. He led the NCAA in sacks last season. However, the presence of Stanford guard David DeCastro may be tempting because of the retirement of Kris Dielman. I know the Chargers are planning on Tyronne Green taking over for Dielman, but DeCastro is a special talent. I think we’ll learn more about the Chargers’ direction with this pick after the first wave of free agency.

25. Denver

Kiper: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St.

McShay: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

My take: I think both Kiper and McShay are on the right track here. I think defensive tackle will be the position Denver looks at first. If Cox is on the board, I think he will be the first choice unless Memphis’ Dontari Poe unexpectedly falls.

Oakland traded its first-round pick (No. 17) to Cincinnati as part of the trade for quarterback Carson Palmer.

Breaking down Kiper's mock draft

January, 18, 2012
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper is offering his first mock draft in an Insider piece. Insider Let’s check out his first-round picks for the AFC West teams:

11. Kansas City: Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still

My take: I wouldn’t have a huge problem with the Chiefs’ starting the Romeo Crennel head-coaching era with a dominant man up front. This defense is one or two players from being dominant. I’m just not convinced Still is going to be a game changer. I think the Chiefs would be tempted to take Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin at this spot. That’s a need area.

18. San Diego: Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia

My take: The offensive line may be an area of immediate need if guard Kris Dielman, tackle Marcus McNeill and center Nick Hardwick don’t come back. So, this selection makes sense. But there is also a chance the offensive line question will be answered by the draft. If so, the Chargers would look for defense help early.

25. Denver: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

My take: I could see this happening. I think Cox will be a player Denver looks at and the way Kiper’s first round falls, this pick makes sense. Denver has long been looking for help in the middle of the defensive line and this pick would further build an improving unit.

Oakland traded its first-round pick (No. 17) to Cincinnati as part of the trade for quarterback Carson Palmer.