NFL Nation: Philip Rvers

NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

What’s the ideal first-round scenario for each team?


The Broncos are in a decent position sitting at No. 28. Yes, all of the elite players will be long gone. But the Broncos can get better at this spot. Denver doesn’t have many pressing needs, but it can surely upgrade at a few positions. Among the spots Denver could use some help at are on the defensive line, running back, cornerback and middle linebacker. This is a deep class on the defensive line and at cornerback, and the better running backs and inside linebackers may be available late in the first round. Denver would love to see these players available at No. 28: Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, Florida State pass-rushers Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant and Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden. I think, at least, one of these players will be available. Thus, Denver should get a player it covets.

Kansas City

Since the Chiefs will start the draft with the No. 1 pick, they dictate the show. But we’ve long talked about this being a bad year for the Chiefs to have the top pick. After a tremendous quarterback class last year, this year’s crop is devoid of top talent. The Chiefs could still find talent at the top of the draft, but they would prefer to trade out of the top spot to collect more picks and get out of paying the highest rookie contract. For that to happen, some team will have to come out of the woodwork. Thus far, there aren’t many indications there will be a market for the top pick. But if some team falls in love with a specific player, the Chiefs would accommodate them.


The Raiders are in a similar spot as the Chiefs -- they want to trade down. In fact, Oakland likely wants to deal the No. 3 pick more than the Chiefs want to get rid of the No. 1 pick. Oakland badly needs to stock its roster. Trading the No. 3 pick may be easier than dealing the No. 1 pick. The price will be less and teams may be intrigued by the way the first two picks fall. So, I could see Oakland getting a suitable trade offer while on the clock. Oakland would love to still get a top-15 pick to get a top defensive talent and recoup its second-round pick lost in the Carson Palmer debacle. Now, if the Raiders don’t make a trade, they will be in good shape at No. 3. The Raiders badly need defensive talent. Among the top defensive prospects are Oregon pass-rusher Dion Jordan, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. At least two of those players will be available at No. 3, so Oakland will be sitting pretty.

San Diego

This is pretty simple: The Chargers want to see Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson still on the board at No. 11. But it may be iffy. The Chargers have a lot of needs, but no need is greater than at left tackle. The Chargers do not have a blindside protector for quarterback Philip Rivers. That’s scary. But there is no sure thing San Diego will find its left tackle in the draft. Top prospects Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will both be gone by the time the Chargers pick. Johnson has been a fast riser and there is a good chance he will be gone. Arizona at No. 7 is considered a strong landing spot for the super-athletic Johnson. The Chargers need quarterback Geno Smith to go in the top seven picks. If the Eagles take him at No. 4, it could push Fisher to No. 7 and Johnson to No. 11. If the Cardinals take Smith, Johnson could fall to the Chargers.

KANSAS CITY -- A look at a lopsided AFC West affair:

What it means: This was an important game for both teams. The Chiefs could have forced a first-place tie, but it was the Chargers who responded after a poor game against Atlanta last week. San Diego cruised to the win and is going to be alone for first place in the AFC West for another week. It is 2-0 in two AFC West road games. The Chiefs failed to capitalize on momentum built from a road overtime win at New Orleans last week. They are 1-3. Kansas City has been outscored by 51 points in its three losses.

Dominant defense: The Chargers forced six Kansas City turnovers and scored 24 points off the miscues. San Diego’s defense has been outstanding in three of four games this season. It will keep the Chargers in a lot of games.

The flipside: Matt Cassel threw three interceptions and Jamaal Charles fumbled twice as the Chiefs imploded. San Diego led 20-0 early in the second quarter because of the turnovers. This team has looked very bad in its three losses. It is time to worry in Kansas City.

Mathews has a hole to climb out of: San Diego starting running back Ryan Mathews is not being trusted by his team. He fumbled last week in his season debut and the Chargers are making him think about it. Jackie Battle started for Mathews. Mathews, who played extensively in the fourth quarter and made some big runs, ended up with 61 yards on 14 carries. Whether he is being pushed or not, the Chargers will be better off when Mathews makes a bigger impact.

Milestones for Rivers: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers completed 18 of 23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The game was Rivers’ 100th career start and he passed the 2,000-completion and the 25,000-yard passing marks in the win.

Penalty bug bites Chiefs: The Chiefs entered the game tied for an NFL-low 12 penalties. They had eight penalties for 75 yards Sunday.

What’s next: San Diego plays at New Orleans in a Rivers-Drew Brees battle, and the Chiefs host Baltimore.