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April 18, 2008

Team needs: AFC West teams still have needs

Rivals.com has partnered with NFL scout and draft expert Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com to analyze the five biggest needs of each NFL team. Today, we look at the AFC West.

AFC West: Denver Broncos | Kansas City Chiefs | Oakland Raiders | San Diego Chargers

Head coach: Mike Shanahan (15th season)
Key needs: 1. Offensive tackle 2. Wide receiver 3. Defensive tackle 4. Safety 5. Running back
1. OFFENSIVE TACKLE: The Broncos are looking to draft their future left tackle in this class. They love Boise State's Ryan Clady and have him on their first-round short list. They are also considering Virginia guard Branden Albert in the first round, with the idea of moving to left tackle early in his career. They also like USC's Sam Baker in the second round and see him as a good left tackle with further development. They also have some depth and age problems on the interior. They love Arizona State center Mike Pollak in the middle rounds. They most likely will add a guard at some point and possibly in the top 100 picks. They think Oregon State's Roy Schuening is ideal for their blocking scheme.
2. WIDE RECEIVER: The position has become a pressing need. Still, they probably won't address this position with the 12th overall selection. They will discuss a trade with the Bengals for Chad Johnson for a second-round pick. They also like Indiana's James Hardy and LSU's Early Doucet in the second round. They will look to add to this position through the middle rounds.
3. DEFENSIVE TACKLE: The Broncos have only marginal talent on the inside. They hope USC's Sedrick Ellis falls to 12th overall, but that is unlikely. They like underrated prospect Marcus Harrison of Arkansas in the second round.
4. SAFETY: The Broncos are old and have little depth at safety, which probably will force a first-day selection. They invested heavily at cornerback three years ago, with good results. With their second-round selection, they could look to California's Thomas DeCoud or Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson.
5. RUNNING BACK: The Broncos' offense has produced 1,000-yard rushers with many low-profile guys. They like Georgia's Thomas Brown and Morgan State's Chad Simpson in the late rounds
Head coach: Herman Edwards (Second season)
Key needs: 1. Tackle/Guard 2. Cornerback 3. Wide receiver 4. Defensve end 5. Defensive tackle
1. TACKLE/GUARD: The Chiefs have needs at three spots and could make multiple selections here. With the fifth pick overall, they may have a chance at the top tackle (Michigan's Jake Long) and possibly the top passer (Boston College's Matt Ryan). They like Boise State tackle Ryan Clady in the first and USC tackle Sam Baker in the second; they could use their top two picks on this unit. They like Virginia guard Branden Albert and would move him to left tackle in time. They like guards John Greco (Toledo) and Carl Nicks (Nebraska) both of whom were tackles in college in the third round. They most likely will select a center and like Notre Dame's John Sullivan and Wake Forest's Steve Justice on the second day.
2. CORNERBACK: The Chiefs' corners are aging and there is marginal talent behind them. They like Troy's Leodis McKelvin, Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and USF's Mike Jenkins, and all will be available with the fifth overall pick. They will get another No. 1 pick if they trade defensive end Jared Allen in the middle of the round, and at least one of that trio likely would still be on the board. They also like Arizona's Antoine Cason and hope he slides to the second round.
3. WIDE RECEIVER: The Chiefs may have found a true No. 1 receiver last year with top pick Dwayne Bowe. Despite so many pressing needs, they could surprise if the best value on the board is a receiver. They like LSU's Early Doucet and Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly in the second round.
4. DEFENSIVE END: The Chiefs may be looking for a rush off the edge, especially if they trade veteran Jared Allen for a first-round pick. They like Clemson's Phillip Merling and Auburn's Quentin Groves in the first round and Virginia Tech's Chris Ellis in the second.
5. DEFENSIVE TACKLE: The Chiefs have received only average production from the inside and could address this area with a first-day selection. They like North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer in the middle of the first round and Arkansas' Marcus Harrison in the second or third round.
Head coach: Lane Kiffin (First year)
Key needs: 1. Defensive tackle 2. Wide receiver 3. Linebacker 4. Offensive tackle 5. Running back
1. DEFENSIVE TACKLE: The Raiders love LSU's Glenn Dorsey and have him on their short list for the fourth overall pick. He is best in the three-technique spot in a 4-3 front. They also like N.C. State's Demario Pressley and Texas A&M's Red Bryant in the fourth round. They also love Virginia defensive end Chris Long and could continue the family legacy started by father Howie Long; Chris could be available at No. 4.
2. WIDE RECEIVER: The Raiders like LSU's Early Doucet and Indiana's James Hardy in the second round and may have to trade up to select either of those prospects.
3. LINEBACKER: The Raiders have an opening on the outside they would like to upgrade in this draft class. They probably will add a prospect here but most likely wait until the second day, where they could get Purdue's Stanford Keglar or Nebraska's Steve Octavien.
4. OFFENSIVE TACKLE: The Raiders have addressed their offensive line with several high draft picks recently with only marginal success. They will look to add a top left tackle if possible and will give Michigan's Jake Long serious consideration if he's available. They also like USC's Sam Baker, but have only the No. 4 overall pick in the top 100.
5. RUNNING BACK: The Raiders have a deep backfield, but Al Davis always looks to add a star and will be tempted to select Arkansas' Darren McFadden at No. 4. If he makes that move, the Raiders will look to trade at least one veteran back.
Head coach: Norv Turner (Second year)
Key needs: 1. Offensive tackle 2. Strong safety 3. Nose tackle 4. Linebacker 5. Running back
2. STRONG SAFETY: The Chargers added a playmaker at free safety in Eric Weddle last year. They would like to add an in-the-box safety such as Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson or Arizona State's Josh Barrett.
3. NOSE TACKLE: They have minimal backup talent along their front three. They like Texas A&M's Red Bryant and Iowa State's Ahtyba Rubin in the middle rounds.
4. LINEBACKER: The Chargers need new talent for their 3-4 set. They like outside 'backers such as Georgia Tech's Darrell Robertson and UCLA's Bruce Davis in the fourth round. They like inside 'backers such as Syracuse's Jameel McClain and Vanderbilt's Jonathan Goff in the middle rounds.
5. RUNNING BACK: The Chargers lost backup Michael Turner in free agency and have only situational back Darren Sproles in reserve. They probably will address this position, though most likely in the later rounds. They will be tempted if Arkansas' Felix Jones is available at the 27th overall pick. They also like Northwest Missouri State's Xavier Omon and Missouri's Tony Temple in the late rounds.

This is special to Rivals.com from Frank Coyle. Coyle has written about the NFL Draft in his newsletter for more than 15 years and has endorsements from NFL veterans like Gil Brandt, Phil Savage and Charley Casserly. Coyle's work can also be found at draftinsiders.com or you may call him toll-free at 800-776-1949.

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