NFL: Mocking the AFC West Ahead of The 2021 Draft

With one NFL division out of the way in the mock draft department (AFC South), I look on to the next division in my planned line.  This being the AFC West.  One of the more interesting divisions in terms of where teams need to look in the draft.  With that said, here is the basis I will be going upon for all of my mock drafts:

  1. This mock draft will be 1 round total.  Each article will be a different division, and the teams within each article will be ordered by the first pick they have (earliest pick first).  If a team has multiple firsts, they will be listed together based on who has the earliest. 
  2. Any teams that do not have a first round pick will not be excluded however.  Instead, I will be explaining the trade they made to lose this pick, and giving it a grade on whether it is good or not in hindsight.
  3. Picks will be based upon team needs as well as the best player available.  I will not be overlapping any players from one division to the next, just like any other mock.

Now that we have the baselines out of the way, let us jump right in to the earliest pick from this division.

Denver Broncos – Pick #9 – Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech CB)

This has been the projected pick to the Broncos for quite some time now across the mock community.  However as the saying goes, why try to fix something that’s not broken.  The Broncos could desperately use a new CB1 addition to the team, it jumps out on the depth chart.  

The Broncos take AFC West pick 1 here would have their choice of either of the top 2 CBs in the class.  This being Caleb Farley or Patrick Surtain II, but Farley seems to be a better fit for this scheme in Denver.  Farley transitioned to the CB position in 2019 from WR, and boy has he shined at it almost immediately.  He has an absolutely fantastic physical presence, including his size, length, hands, and overall body shape and frame.  Outside of that he is extremely versatile and can interchange between cover and man to man defense with little to no issues at all.  He is like glue in man coverage, staying all over whoever he is matched up against and not letting them go.  He has elite ball skills, and is always aware of where the ball is in reference to where he is.

Some things to note is he does have an injury history, including an ACL tear early on in his college career as well as missing some games in 2019 due to back issues.  This will be something to watch, but really is not too concerning as he has shown he can produce after them with no issue.  He also has quite a few issues in terms of competitively tackling and often misses tackles that are right in front of him.  This can easily be corrected with coaching, however.  

Los Angeles Chargers – Pick #13 – Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech OT) 

Here we have another AFC West pick that’s almost consensus at this point, and again it’s for good reason.   The Chargers struggled to keep their rookie phenom Justin Herbert off the ground at times.  The run game also had some issues mainly correlating back to lack of outside protection on the line.  As a team with a dwindling list of needs positionally, offensive tackle is likely the most glaring one on the depth chart.

An extremely mobile offensive lineman, Darrisaw also has some great strength in his upper body.  This allows him to be proficient in both the run and pass blocking game, which is huge for a team like the Chargers.  He is one of the few offensive lineman in recent memory that can pull defenders to him and then lock them in place almost immediately.  He has this innate ability to do such, which is fantastic when he goes against high level defensive ends.  

Overall, his addition to the Chargers offensive line cannot be understated.  Protecting the franchise quarterback is an absolute necessity, as we saw with the Joe Burrow injury this year.  Sure, getting a wide receiver may be more flashy or fun but this is solidifying the team with what’s on the board here.  Darrisaw could easily be a franchise tackle from this class, and he should definitely be welcomed by Chargers fans.

Las Vegas Raiders – AFC West – Pick #17 – Micah Parsons (Penn State LB)

In this AFC West mock, the Raiders get extremely lucky and get likely the best linebacker in this class.  The Raiders need help on the defense, as their safeties, linebackers, and edges are all average or below normally.  The few players that are effective on their defense are also extremely inconsistent, which is why this is such a nice pick.

Micah Parsons is a bit raw as a prospect realistically, and has some minor things to work out in his game.  His coverage is somewhat on and off, and really not anything special.  With his two weaker points out of the way, we can move on to the many positives.  He is extremely athletic, strong, and a capable pass rusher all day long.  His capabilities in the run game are consistent and solid, regardless of if its in the gaps or outside.  He is extremely dynamic with his hands and feet, and has little to no issue tearing through offensive lines like butter.

The reason he would fit so well with the Raiders is mainly leadership in my eyes.  While he is obviously young and learning himself, his presence would give the Raiders a focal point to build around on that side of the ball.  The Raiders tend to run a crash end defensive scheme, where they rush inside the tight ends.  This would be hugely beneficial to Micah’s game, as it fits what Penn State has done during his tenure there.

Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West – Pick #31 – Wyatt Davis (Ohio State IOL)

This one is probably the most simple AFC West pick to make out of the four.  The Chiefs offensive line was absolutely abhorrent leading up to and in the Super Bowl inside the tackles.  With Mitchell Schwartz out from back surgery, and Eric Fisher out from an Achilles injury, the Chiefs offensive line was left floundering.  It was clear from the start of the game that they need another piece to add to the front five.  Wyatt Davis is just that.

At 6’4” and 315 pounds, Wyatt Davis has been a stud for the Buckeyes during his years there.  He is one of the best players I have seen at utilizing his strength in functional ways, and shifting it into the tackles to open up gaps.  He is also relatively quick on his feet both laterally and vertically.  This will make for a fantastic guard build in the NFL, and will be a fantastic addition to the RG position for KC.  His strength will allow him to be solid in both the run game as well as pass blocking, which makes him a versatile addition.

The reason I see him fitting into the KC scheme is like I said, his strength and movement ability.  Provided the Chiefs bring Schwartz back, allowing Wyatt Davis to play inside him at guard and learn how to create gaps would be a fantastic idea.  If Davis pans out, he would be a long term solution for protecting Patrick Mahomes from the inside of the line.

Related Article: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Pick Analysis for the 2020 Draft

Who do you think the AFC West teams could draft? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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