Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the ESPN.com blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: Dream scenario/Plan B.
Denver: The Broncos will hope that both Alabama middle linebacker Rolando McClain and Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant are on the board when it makes its first pick at No. 11. Denver has needs at both positions and has investigated both players closely. If both players are on the board, Denver may have a tough decision to make. However, because of the Brandon Marshall trade to Miami, Denver may lean toward Bryant. If both McClain and Bryant are off the board (that may be unlikely,) Denver will likely attempt to trade down. The Broncos need a center and they could take Florida center Maurkice Pouncey in the mid-to-late part of the first round.
Kansas City: The Chiefs would love for Washington to bypass Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung. However, that may be wishful thinking. The Redskins may take him. However, Washington could also consider Oklahoma left tackle Trent Williams. The Chiefs like both Okung and Tennessee safety Eric Berry a lot. They would love for both players to be on the board. If so, Okung may be the choice. If Washington does take him, the Chiefs could easily nab Berry to anchor their defense. In the unlikely event both Okung and Berry are gone, that would likely mean either Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy would fall to No. 5. The Chiefs would likely entertain trade possibilities if that were the case. There have been some recent thoughts the Chiefs could take Texas safety Earl Thomas over Berry. If that’s the case, the Chiefs could look to trade down a few slots. Here is one thought that the Chiefs could shock the draft and take McClain at No. 5.
Oakland: The Raiders are in a pretty good position. They have several needs and they should be available to satisfy a need at No. 8. The Raiders need an offensive tackle and they should have several options. Williams, Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis of Rutgers and Bruce Campbell of Maryland could all be available for Oakland. Oakland could also look at McClain or Florida cornerback Joe Haden. Talk about Idaho guard Mike Iupati is picking up. I think the Raiders will have at least three players to choose from on the board when they pick. The Raiders should be very pleased with their choices at No. 8. Because Oakland is flexible, it could also trade down some slots to add more picks.
San Diego: The Chargers have a lot of options as well. They have the 28th and 40th overall picks. They also have some pressing needs, most notably at running back and nose tackle. If Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews falls to No. 28, the Chargers will be temped to take him. If Mathews falls past Houston at No. 20, he could be available at No. 28. San Diego will also look at defensive tackles at No. 28 because the running back class is so deep and a good player could be available at No. 40. Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody will be considered. But keep an eye on UCLA’s Brian Price, too. There has been late talk that the Chargers are looking to him fairly intently. The Chargers will likely also look to trade up and down the draft from the 25-40 range.