Defense is key on AFC West draft boards

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
11:27
AM ET
Stats & Information gets you ready for the NFL Draft at the end of the month with a look at the biggest need for each team. Today, we finish up with the AFC West.

Denver Broncos
Need: Defensive line

Last season, the Broncos switched from a 3-4 defense to 4-3. Denver got just 2.0 sacks from players lining up as an interior defensive lineman, tied for the fewest among teams playing a 4-3.

Making matters worse, Brodrick Bunkley has departed and Ryan McBean is suspended for the first six games of the season.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

Kansas City Chiefs
Need: Interior defense

Chiefs’ nose tackles made little impact last season, registering one sack and three tackles for loss, all by unconditional free agent Kelly Gregg.

The Chiefs allowed seven rushing touchdowns up the middle last season, tied for third-most in the NFL.

ILB Derrick Johnson had 2.0 sacks, five passes defended, two interceptions and nine tackles for loss; ILB partner Jovan Belcher had no sacks, no passes defended, no interceptions and three tackles for loss.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Oakland Raiders
Need: Defensive back

Raiders’ cornerbacks had 27 pass disruptions or interceptions last season, tied for 21st in the NFL. However, 15 of those plays came from Stanford Routt, who was cut in the offseason.

The Raiders allowed nine more touchdowns than interceptions with five-or-more defensive backs on the field last season, tied for the fifth-worst differential in the league.

Oakland has drafted the fastest 40 time from the combine in each of the last three drafts. In 2008, it drafted the second and fifth fastest. The fastest player at this year’s combine was Josh Robinson, a defensive back from Central Florida.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: No picks in first two rounds
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: No picks in first two rounds

San Diego Chargers
Need: Offensive line

The Chargers used 19 different offensive line combinations last season, tied for fourth-most in the NFL. Their most used line combo played only 353 of 1,047 snaps together.

San Diego averaged 3.9 yards per rush to the right side last season, tied for fifth-worst in the league.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Chandler Jones, OLB, Syracuse
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia

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