AFC West: Quinton Coples
No. 11, Kansas City
Kiper pick: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
McShay pick: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
My take: In our bloggers live mock draft Monday, I went with DeCastro. I think the Chiefs will believe he is a safer pick than Poe. He has scared some teams off because of a lack of college production.
No. 18, San Diego
Kiper pick: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
McShay pick: DeCastro
My take: These are two interesting picks. I think, in Kiper’s scenario, Poe may be a more needed pick team Reiff, although Reiff would be a good value pick. I love DeCastro as a choice, but in McShay’s scenario, I might take North Carolina pass-rusher Quinton Coples because of need. Either way, these drafts fall pretty well for San Diego.
No. 25, Denver
Kiper pick: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
McShay pick: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
My take: I think both of these mocks are on par. If Brockers is available, he will likely be the choice. If not, Worthy is a smart pick. Denver would be happy either way.
Oakland traded the No. 17 pick to Cincinnati in a package for quarterback Carson Palmer.
These were not the results I was expecting in our Blogger Mock Draft Live held Monday.
However, I feel pretty good about the players we pegged to come to the AFC West. Each divisional blogger was in charge of picking for each team in their division in the first round. I based my decisions on value of the picks and what I thought the decision makers on each team would do in that situation.
Let’s review the film:
Kansas City: I was tempted to try to move up to No. 7 to take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I could see the Chiefs doing it, but I’m just not sure they want to spend what it takes to get him, so I stayed at No. 11. I would have taken Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, but he went two spots earlier. In the end, I chose Stanford guard David DeCastro. I think he was the best value player at the spot and he would be an instant impact player on the offense. Many scouts believe DeCastro will be a perennial Pro Bowl player. It’s time to make that Kansas City O-line special again.
San Diego: I think San Diego general manager A.J. Smith will be willing to do anything. When South Carolina pass-rusher Melvin Ingram dropped, I started to work on a trade up. I was talking to NFC West blogger Mike Sando about a deal for Ingram at No. 12 with Seattle in case he fell. But in an intra-division deal, James Walker had the Jets give a load to Buffalo to take Ingram at No. 10. Then, when North Carolina pass-rusher Quinton Coples fell, I hit the phones again. I was close to a deal with AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky at No. 15, but he wanted more and he wanted to make a decision, so talks stalled. When the No. 18 pick came around, I went with Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower over pass-rushers such as Syracuse’s Chandler Jones or Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus. I picked Hightower because Smith values talent regardless of need and Hightower was the best player on the board. Todd McShay has him ranked as the No. 13 available player. He is an impact player and he’d be the Chargers’ best inside linebacker. Plus, he is a solid pass-rusher from the inside. It all came down to value.
Denver: In our previous blogger mock draft, LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers fell to Denver at No. 25. He was taken at No. 14 by Dallas this time. There was a chance Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe was going to be there, but, predictably, Pittsburgh took him at No. 24. I then considered trading the pick or taking Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill. In the end, I went for need and value and took Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. He is a good player who will start right away and McShay has him ranked as the No. 22 player available. If this is the way the draft falls on Thursday, I can see the Broncos trading down a few spots and still getting Worthy.
Oakland does not have its pick (No. 17). It was sent to Cincinnati in a package for quarterback Carson Palmer.
NFL.com reported that Jackson -- the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft -- has accepted a major contract restructuring. The report said the restructuring was amicable and logical, but it is clear the Chiefs were focused on getting Jackson’s pay scale in line with his production. He was heavily overpaid because of his draft slotting. The Chiefs are in fine salary-cap shape, so this wasn’t a restructuring done out of necessity.
The report states that Jackson’s 2014 contract was voided and he could hit the open market as soon as next year. Jackson will now reportedly see his 2012 contract go from more than $8 million to $4.25 million in base salary, with $4 million guaranteed. According to the report, Jackson will have a $14.72 million salary in 2013 with a whopping a $17.5 million cap figure. Thus, expect Jackson to be either restructured again or cut next year.
Jackson is a decent player. He will never produce up to the standards of being the No. 3 player selected, but he’s not a total bust, either. This new contract allows the Chiefs flexibility moving forward.
It also makes you wonder if the team could add a defensive end early in the draft. The Chiefs have the No. 11 pick and perhaps they could be in play for someone such as Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox or North Carolina's Quinton Coples.
In other AFC West news:
ESPN Stats & Information has a look at what the Raiders have received for their spent 2012 draft picks.
Former Oakland cornerback Chris Johnson is visiting the Jets, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Johnson was cut by Oakland earlier this year.
The Raiders are keeping their future stadium options open.
Will the Chiefs make a big move up? The Kansas City Chiefs could become the story of the division with a move up for Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. There has been recent buzz that the Chiefs may be one of the teams interested in moving up for Tannehill. If he is available at No. 7 (Miami may take Tannehill at No. 8), I could see the Chiefs jumping in the mix. Jacksonville, which has the No. 7 pick, probably would be willing to part with the pick or the Chiefs could take a risk and hope he falls to No. 11. Tannehill is the only attainable quarterback who could immediately press Matt Cassel.
Will a second-day quarterback be on the way? I think a Friday storyline could be the addition of a second-tier quarterback in the division. If the Chiefs don’t take Tannehill, they could take a quarterback in the second or third round, and Denver could take one on the second day as well. The quarterbacks available on the second day probably will be Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler and Arizona’s Nick Foles. Kansas City could look at any of the four and Denver is probably in the mix for all but Weeden. He will soon turn 29, and with Peyton Manning in Denver, I don’t think the Broncos will take an older quarterback.
Will there be a changing of the guard? Stanford’s David DeCastro is considered one of the best guard prospects in the past several years and he is considered a sure thing. Both the Chiefs and Chargers are considered teams that could land DeCastro.
Will the Raiders make a move up? The Raiders don’t pick until No. 95, the final pick of the third round. Oakland could move up to get a better prospect, but I wouldn’t think Oakland would move too far up the draft. Sooner or later, the team must stop mortgaging future picks, and I think new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie gets that. I’d expect him to suck it up and deal with what he has this year for the most part.
Will the Chiefs add a running back? There was early talk Kansas City could make a play for Alabama’s Trent Richardson, which could require a move up to No. 5. That may not be a likely scenario. However, the Chiefs could still take a running back in the early rounds. Jamaal Charles is coming off a torn ACL and Peyton Hillis signed a one-year deal. The Chiefs have been visiting with running backs, so I could see them taking one at some point.
Will the Chargers and Broncos take a running back early? There have been projections that both Denver and San Diego could take a running back as early as the second round. I’d think Denver is the more likely of the two teams to take a running back early. Boise State’s Doug Martin, Virginia Tech’s David Wilson, Miami’s Lamar Miller and Oregon’s LaMichael James are all possibilities.
Will A.J. Smith make a splash? The Chargers probably will have to make the playoffs for San Diego general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner to keep their jobs. The Chargers have been aggressive in free agency and they have always been aggressive in the draft. I could see the Chargers taking a chance and moving up for the right impact player.
Will Denver take a defensive tackle? The Broncos haven’t taken a defensive tackle since 1997 when they took Trevor Pryce. It is the team’s greatest need. However, if players such as LSU’s Michael Brockers and Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox are gone by No. 25, Denver may opt for another position or trade down rather than reach for another defensive tackle prospect.
Will the Raiders be a draft factor? The Raiders only have five picks, but I think they can still get a couple of developmental players. It may be too much to ask for the Raiders to find instant impact players, but I think McKenzie will salvage this class.
Will the Chargers reach for their top need? The Chargers badly need an impact pass-rusher, but it isn’t a deep class. By the time the No. 18 picks rolls around, the top pass-rushing prospects -- South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, North Carolina’s Quinton Coples and Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw -- all may be gone. The next level of players include Syracuse’s Chandler Jones, USC’s Nick Perry and Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus. Many scouts think taking those players at No. 18 may be too high. So, the Chargers could be on the move down if that scenario develops.
Will the Chiefs be swayed by Poe’s beauty? Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe is a high-risk, high-reward player. He has all the measurables and he has big potential. But he has unimpressive game tape against second-level competition. Many teams are leery of taking him. The Chiefs could use him, but with a recent history of taking under-achieving defensive linemen, can Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli take the risk?
Another Georgia Tech receiver in Denver? If the Broncos bypass a defensive tackle at No. 25, they could look to give Manning another weapon. A name to keep an eye on is Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill. The Broncos have been scouting him and they wouldn’t mind adding another former Georgia Tech receiver. Denver took Demaryius Thomas out of the school with the No. 22 pick in 2010.
Will Golden Domers head to the beach? Two players Smith likes a lot are Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd and safety Harrison Smith. Floyd could require a trade up and Smith could be a candidate via a trade down. Don’t be surprised if one of the two ends up a Charger.
Is Josh Chapman AFC West bound? One of the underrated players on a strong Alabama defense is versatile defensive tackle Josh Chapman, a fit for both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. He has visited both the Raiders and the Chiefs and could be a target of any team in the division in the third round.
The Chargers did a nice job in free agency recently, as they signed 15 players. Do you think the Chargers should go big in the draft and try to move up from No. 18 to take an elite player?
Trading into the top 10 to take a player such as South Carolina pass-rusher Melvin Ingram, North Carolina pass-rusher Quinton Coples or Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe could require parting with a future No.1 pick.
Smith has been aggressive in the past in moving up in the draft. With a need for an impact defender and the need to win now, Smith could be tempted to play loosely with a future pick. Do you think he should? Vote in our poll and express your opinion in the comments section below. We will review the poll results Wednesday.