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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Who's most affected by the draft?

By Bill Williamson

Let’s look at one player on every AFC West roster who should be paying close attention when the draft begins Thursday:

Denver running back Willis McGahee: He will likely get a backfield partner early in the draft. McGahee is 30 and was nicked up a lot last season. He was fantastic, but will be best served if the Broncos get him some help.

Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel: The Chiefs have spent this offseason building around Cassel. Still, there is a chance Kansas City could take a quarterback early. If the Chiefs take Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill in the first round, Cassel’s future is Kansas City will be short. If the Chiefs bypass a quarterback in the early rounds, it’s a strong statement that Cassel is in the team’s long-term plans.

Oakland tight end David Ausberry: The Raiders like Ausberry, a second-year player, but they have also been scouting tight ends. Oakland not drafting one would be a clear sign that Ausberry will get every opportunity to play in 2012.

San Diego running back Ryan Mathews: He has seen Darren Sproles and Mike Tolbert leave via free agency in the past nine months; Mathews needs a quality backup and I think he will get one. Mathews is making great strides, but he has some durability issues -- making a strong backup a must.