The Denver Broncos selected two players in the 2014 NFL draft who could help in their “arms race” with the New England Patriots.
Broncos first-round cornerback Bradley Roby could be doing battle with Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson in 2014, while Denver’s second-round wideout, Cody Latimer, should be lined up across from Brandon Browner or Alfonzo Dennard when the teams play this fall. The Broncos obviously were concentrated on maintaining their passing offense and improving their pass defense in 2014.
This week, NESN.com will grade the picks made in each division. Check out how the AFC West fared:
Round 1, No. 31 overall: Bradley Roby, cornerback, Ohio State
Round 2, No. 56 overall: Cody Latimer, wide receiver, Indiana
Round 3, No. 95 overall: Michael Schofield, offensive tackle, Michigan
Round 5, No. 156 overall: Lamin Barrow, linebacker, LSU
Round 6, No. 207 overall: Matt Paradis, center, Boise State
Round 7, No. 242 overall: Corey Nelson, linebacker, Oklahoma
The Broncos obviously weren’t finished improving their secondary when they signed cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward in free agency. Roby has work to do, but he’ll be able to rotate into the Broncos’ defense while Talib and Chris Harris start at cornerback.
Latimer is a potential steal in the second round. He injured his foot at Indiana, but he has elite size and speed for a wide receiver and could replace Eric Decker, who left for the New York Jets in free agency this offseason, across from Demaryius Thomas at wide receiver.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Round 1, No. 23 overall: Dee Ford, defensive end, Auburn
Round 3, No. 87 overall: Phillip Gaines, cornerback, Rice
Round 4, No. 124 overall: De’Anthony Thomas, running back, Oregon
Round 5, No. 163 overall: Aaron Murray, quarterback, Georgia
Round 6, No. 193 overall: Zach Fulton, guard, Tennessee
Round 6, No. 200 overall: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, offensive tackle, McGill
That first-round pick still is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Chiefs struggled when Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were injured in 2013, but Ford was a bit of a reach, and they could have found depth at that position later in the draft. The Chiefs also failed to find a wide receiver in the deepest class in recent memory.
Gaines, Thomas and Duvernay-Tardif are high-upside picks, and Murray probably could take over for quarterback Alex Smith once the veteran’s contract is up.
Round 1, No. 5 overall: Khalil Mack, linebacker, Buffalo
Round 2, No. 36 overall: Derek Carr, quarterback, Fresno State
Round 3, No. 81 overall: Gabe Jackson, guard, Mississippi State
Round 4, No. 107 overall: Justin Ellis, defensive tackle, Louisiana Tech
Round 4, No. 116 overall: Keith McGill, cornerback, Utah
Round 7, No. 219 overall: Travis Carrie, cornerback, Ohio
Round 7, No. 235 overall: Shelby Harris, defensive end, Illinois State
Round 7, No. 247 overall: Jonathan Dowling, safety, Western Kentucky
The Raiders no longer are the joke of the NFL draft. Mack was the perfect Round 1 pick, and Carr is a great fit to sit behind Matt Schaub until the Fresno State product is ready to start.
Ellis and McGill are high-upside picks, and Jackson could be a Year 1 starter at guard.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Round 1, No. 25 overall: Jason Verrett, cornerback, TCU
Round 2, No. 50 overall: Jeremiah Attaochu, linebacker, Georgia Tech
Round 3, No. 89 overall: Chris Watt, guard, Notre Dame
Round 5, No. 165 overall: Ryan Carrethers, defensive tackle, Arkansas State
Round 6, No. 201 overall: Marion Grice, running back, Arizona State
Round 7, No. 240 overall: Tevin Reese, wide receiver, Baylor
The Chargers selected great players across the board while filling big needs on their roster. Verrett, Attaochu, Watt and Carrethers all are potential starters for the Chargers, and even Reese is a highly-athletic slot receiver who could make an impact in the NFL