The Draft Scout Roster Grades: AFC West

Our team-by-team look at every division in the NFL continues with the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs have owned the West with three straight division titles and three straight AFC title game appearances. Led by Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. But, there are contenders as the Los Angeles Chargers have a bright young quarterback (Justin Herbert), the Broncos are loaded at skill positions, and the Raiders remain a tough out. The Chiefs reign supreme, but how do the West’s rosters stack up? We grade them all.

Denver Broncos

2020 Record: 5-11

Free Agent Additions:
CB Ronald Darby, CB Kyle Fuller, QB Teddy Bridgewater (trade)

Draft Class:
CB Patrick Surtain II (Rd 1, Pick 9)
RB Javonte Williams (Rd 2, Pick 3)
OG Quinn Meinerz (Rd 3, Pick 35)
OLB Baron Browning (Rd 3, Pick 42)
S Caden Sterns (Rd 5, Pick 8)
S Jamar Johnson (Rd 5, Pick 20)
WR Seth Williams (Rd 6, Pick 35)
CB Kary Vincent, Jr. (Rd 7, Pick 9)
DE Jonathan Cooper (Rd 7, Pick 11)
DE Marquiss Spencer (Rd 7, Pick 26)

TE Nick Vannett, CB A.J. Bouye, OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, RB Phillip Lindsay

Overall Roster Grade: C

The Denver Broncos brought in a great 2021 NFL Draft class but the question still remains if the quarterbacks on the roster are good enough to win with? The offensive line should be improved but the right tackle spot is still a mystery. And while the secondary will be much improved thanks to additions in free agency and the draft, which Von Miller shows up as the team’s premier pass-rusher?

The Broncos look very solid on paper, especially with Courtland Sutton returning from injury at wide receiver and the move to lock up safety Justin Simmons long-term, but the AFC West is a very good division; one you can’t win without great quarterback play. The Broncos don’t have that right now and likely won’t be until there is consistency behind center.

Kansas City Chiefs

2020 Record: 14-2

Free Agent Additions: 
OT Orlando Brown, Jr. (trade), OG Joe Thuney, OG Kyle Long, DT Jarran Reed, TE Blake Bell, LB Kamalei Correa, RB Jerick McKinnon

Draft Class:
LB Nick Bolton (Rd 2, Pick 26)
OC Creed Humphrey (Rd 2, Pick 31)
DE Joshua Kaindoh (Rd 4, Pick 39)
TE Noah Gray (Rd 5, Pick 18)
WR Cornell Powell (Rd 5, Pick 37)
OG Trey Smith (Rd 6, Pick 42)

OT Eric Fisher, OT Mitchell Schwartz, WR Sammy Watkins, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, LB Damien Wilson

Overall Roster Grade: A-

The focus of the offseason in Kansas City was on rebuilding the offensive line—something the front office attacked to the tune of what should be five new starters in Week 1 of the 2021 season.

With limited salary cap space and limited draft capital, the Chiefs weren’t able to completely remake a defense that still has holes or add much-needed depth at wide receiver. But they still have Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and the head coach is still Andy Reid.

And while the defense has question marks at cornerback and the defensive line will have a few new faces, Steve Spagnuolo’s group is good enough to contain opposing offenses.

A third-straight trip to the Super Bowl should be the expectation in KC.

Los Angeles Chargers

2020 Record: 7-9

Free Agent Additions:
C Corey Linsley, OT Matt Feiler, TE Jared Cook

Draft Class:
OT Rashawn Slater (Rd 1, Pick 13)
CB Asante Samuel, Jr. (Rd 2, Pick 15)
WR Josh Palmer (Rd 3, Pick 14)
TE Tre’ McKitty (Rd 3, Pick 34)
OLB Chris Rumph II (Rd 4, Pick 13)
OT Brenden Jaimes (Rd 5, Pick 15)
LB Nick Niemann (Rd 6, Pick 1)
RB Larry Rountree III (Rd 6, Pick 14)
S Mark Webb (Rd 7, Pick 13)

TE Hunter Henry, S Rayshawn Jenkins, LB Denzel Perryman, QB Tyrod Taylor, G Dan Feeney

Overall Roster Grade: B

The Chargers hit a home run with quarterback Justin Herbert as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and are now building a roster around him. That was evident with moves like offensive tackle Rashawn Slater in Round 1, pass-catchers in Round 3, and a huge free agency signing at center.

The defense will look very different with Brandon Staley as head coach in 2021, but the hope has to be that a healthy Derwin James and a rejuvenated scheme will boost the squad. And while the pass-rush outside of Joey Bosa remains unclear, there is a lot of talent to work with upfront.

The Chargers have all the tools to be a playoff team if they can finally overcome the injury bug that’s seemed to plague the team for years. But on paper, this is a roster without many holes.

Las Vegas Raiders

2020 Record: 8-8

Free Agent Additions:
DE Yannick Ngakoue, RB Kenyan Drake, WR John Brown, DE Solomon Thomas, DT Quinton Jefferson, CB Casey Hayward

Draft Class:
OT Alex Leatherwood (Rd 1, Pick 17)
S Trevon Moehrig (Rd 2, Pick 11)
OLB Malcolm Koonce (Rd 3, Pick 16)
S Divine Deablo (Rd 3, Pick 17)
S Tyree Gillespie (Rd 4, Pick 38)
CB Nate Hobbs (Rd 5, Pick 23)
C Jimmy Morrissey (Rd 7, Pick 2)

WR Nelson Agholor, RB Devontae Booker

Overall Roster Grade: C+

The Raiders were competitive in 2020, finishing 8-8, but still the roster feels unsettled. What is the strategy or team-building philosophy here?

While the rest of the West improves, the Raiders feel stuck somewhere between rebuilding and reloading while they attempt to find an identity on both sides of the ball. With the Chargers ascending and the Broncos loaded with talent outside of the quarterback position, it might not be long before the Raiders are looking up at the rest of the division if continuity isn’t found quickly.