AFC West: Shariff Floyd

As the NFL draft approaches, there has been growing speculation that both the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers could be involved in trades early in the process.

The Raiders have been receiving calls for the No. 3 pick and the pick is expected to be a pivot point in the draft. Oakland may get plenty of calls while on the clock. It is interested in trading down to help stock a depleted roster. It has been heavily speculated that Cleveland could move up from No. 6 to No. 3.

That would be a gift to Oakland.

The Raiders would then slide to No. 6 and get solid compensation and then still be able to grab a top defensive talent such as Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd or Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.

Meanwhile, there has been growing speculation that the Chargers could move way up from No. 11 to grab a top left tackle. That is the team’s most glaring need and there is no way a top left tackle will be available at No. 11.

Still, I think it would be difficult for the Chargers to pull the trigger on one big move up. This is a team that is rebuilding. It needs help at a lot of positions. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said he thinks the Chargers could even trade their 2014 first-round pick to get in a position to get Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel. A potential trade partner could even be Oakland.

Giving a division rival a first-round pick would be difficult to swallow. I understand the Chargers’ need for a blindside protector for Philip Rivers, but at what price?

These potential big trades add to the drama of the first round in the AFC West.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has offered another mock draft Insider in an Insider piece. This time, Kiper is going two rounds deep. Let’s take a look at his choices for the AFC West teams:

First round

1. Kansas City: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M,

My take: This looks like the most official pick at this point. Things can change, but it looks like Joeckel.

3. Oakland: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

My take: This is my choice as well. Taking Floyd would kick start a defensive revival.

11. San Diego: Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma

My take: It’s starting to look like Johnson might not be available. The key here is Kiper Jr. had Geno Smith going No. 4 to the Eagles. The Chargers would be thrilled if this happens.

28. Denver: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

My take: It fills a long-term need, and Hayden has potential. I think Denver would look for other needs first.

Second round

45. San Diego: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

My take: He is a fine player. This would be a good two-round haul for San Diego.

55. Denver: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

My take: That would be an amazing value if he fell. He was once considered a top-5 talent. There are concerns, but he produced in college.

Note: Kansas City and Oakland do not have picks in the second round.
The Oakland Raiders have done a nice job by filling their starting linebacking crew in free agency. Now they must work on their defensive line, among other areas.

Oakland, which has six holes in the defensive starting lineup, has three openings on the defensive line for players to join holdover Lamarr Houston. Matt Shaughnessy, a former mid-round pick, signed a one-year deal with Arizona.

Shaughnessy had potential and played well for Oakland, but he did not play well last season and was replaced by journeyman Andre Carter late in the season. Still, the Raiders have holes on the defensive line. Richard Seymour is a free agent and Tommy Kelly expects to be cut.

Second-year players Christo Bilukidi and Jack Crawford might get a chance. Oakland might draft Flordia’s Sharriff Floyd with the No. 3 pick. The Raiders signed Cincinnati’s Pat Sims at defensive tackle, but Sims has started just one game in the past two years.

Thus, defensive line is a priority for Oakland.

In other AFC West notes:

The Chargers re-signed running back Ronnie Brown and signed Danny Woodhead on Friday. Both are different types of backs who will back up Ryan Mathews. I can still see the Chargers bringing in a running back (probably a bigger one) in free agency or in the draft.

Arizona signed former San Diego starting cornerback Antoine Cason to a one-year deal. The Chargers didn’t have much interest in bringing him back.

San Diego pass-rusher Antwan Barnes left his visit with the Jets without a deal.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has offered another mock draft Insider in an Insider piece. Let’s take a look at his choices for the AFC West teams:

1. Kansas City: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

My take: It’s starting to look like Joeckel may be the pick. He’d move to right tackle for this season and be insurance if Branden Albert leaves in free agency next year.

3. Oakland: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

My take: This is starting to look like a strong possibility. Todd McShay had him tabbed here last week and I have him here in my latest mock. He would help Oakland’s defense immensely.

11. San Diego: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

My take: This is also starting to look like a real possibility. Along with McShay, I also selected Johnson at this pick. But the Chargers could sign a left tackle in free agency.

28. Denver: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

My take: This isn’t a bad idea. Trufant is rising and the Broncos are looking for a cornerback. But they could add one in free agency.

Early draft look: Broncos

January, 14, 2013
With the Denver Broncos’ season over, let’s take an early look at where the team might be heading in the draft.

First pick: No. 28

Top draft needs: Linebacker, safety, defensive tackle, receiver, cornerback.

Possible first-round picks: Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short, Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.

Intangibles: The Broncos have drafted well in the John Elway-John Fox era. They are smart and they play the board well. They seem to have a good plan and they maneuver around when needed. I think they will be patient and select the best available defensive player that falls to them.