- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS – I was able to catch up with ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay on one key draft question on each AFC West team. Let’s take a look at his thoughts:
Should Denver draft a quarterback at No. 25?
In his most recent mock draft, McShay had Denver taking Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, McShay said Saturday that he now thinks Tannehill will be taken within the first 20 picks, and that Denver won't take a quarterback at No. 25. Denver could take a quarterback in the second round, though by the time the Broncos' pick rolls around, McShay thinks several other signal-calling options will be gone. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins could be the best available quarterback — and McShay would advise the Broncos to pull the trigger, because Cousins has a brighter future than current Denver starter Tim Tebow.
Is Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly a good fit at No. 11?
“I love him,” McShay said, noting that if the Chiefs see a greater need at middle linebacker than at any other position, Kuechly will be a good value pick at No. 11 — a perfect fit for Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense. McShay can see Kuechly fitting in well with Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston, with Kuechly playing weakside middle linebacker in the Chiefs’ system. McShay called Kuechly an instinctive tackling machine who could flourish under Crennel.
Can the Raiders get any impact players with a small draft class?
The Raiders currently have just their fifth- and sixth-round picks. They will get some compensatory picks next month, but No. 97 (near the end of the third round) will be the highest possible comp pick. McShay said the draft is fairly strong in the middle rounds and the Raiders will get a chance to add a decent player or two. He is unsure if Oakland can get an immediate impact player, but thinks there are some good cornerbacks (the position is Oakland’s biggest need) in the middle of the draft. Among the cornerbacks who could be available in the middle rounds are South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore, Virginia Tech’s Jayron Hosley, West Virginia’s Keith Tandy and Maryland’s Cameron Chism.
Can the Chargers get a pass-rusher at No. 18?
McShay thinks South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram will be gone when the Chargers pick, but that Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw may be available. McShay is not sure Upshaw will be an instant, dynamic pass-rusher. But because Upshaw is such a strong power rusher, McShay said, he would help the Chargers immediately — an NFL-ready linebacker who has a big upside.