The mid and late rounds of the NFL draft are just as critical to a team’s success as the first and second rounds. Every year there are late round grabs that become starters, and even all-pros. Let’s take a look at some day two and three projections that will be perfect fits for the AFC West teams.
Offense: Davis Mills – QB, Stanford
A couple of factors pinned Mills to the Broncos here, the first being the only thing certain with Drew Lock is his love for rapping Jeezy on the sidelines. His regression last year ended with only 16 TDs, 15 interceptions and a lowly 57% completion percentage. Mills was originally the #1 pro-style quarterback from the class of 2017, and proved he’s capable of elite play with an outstanding pro day. GM John Elway could lean on his Stanford ties here and brush off the negative stigma of not being able to win without Peyton Manning.
Defense: Milton Williams – DL, Louisiana Tech
Williams has the perfect make up to play one of the defensive end slots on the Broncos 3-4 defensive front. Letting him learn the defense from current end Dre’Mont Jones, and rush moves from outside linebackers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller would pay dividends. Even if the Broncos grab a defensive lineman like Christian Barmore in the first round, the Broncos shouldn’t back down from adding more competitors in the trenches.
Los Angeles Chargers
Offense: Khalil Herbert – RB, Virginia Tech
The Chargers will likely grab an offensive lineman in the first two rounds and a receiver at some point, but could really use a headliner at running back. Not only could Los Angeles boast the Herbert & Herbert law firm in the backfield, but they will have a tailback that idolized and modeled his game after Charger great LaDainian Tomlinson. Herbert was fifth in the country in total rushing yards last season and averaged 7.7 yards per carry. He runs hard and can really put his foot in the ground and turn one cut into a long touchdown run.
Defense: Monty Rice – LB, Georgia
The Chargers are technically a base 3-4 defense but under new defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill, they may mix it up. Rice played in a 3-4 in college but due to his athleticism, coverage skills and pursuit, he’s not bound to a specific scheme. Having a speedy linebacker who can make tackles in space is never a bad thing to have.
Kansas City Chiefs
Offense: Seth Williams – WR, Auburn
The Chiefs throw the ball roughly 40 times per game so having receiver depth won’t hurt. Plus, the mold of Chiefs’ receivers like Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman is short but blazing fast. Adding Williams would put a physical wideout on the perimeter who can make tough catches and block on the edge when the speedsters get the ball. Also, this pick is made with the anticipation that the Chiefs will get Patrick Mahomes some offensive line help early after what we saw in the Super Bowl.
Defense: Jordan Smith – DE, UAB
In the correct system Smith could really become an elite player. He has such a frame to work with and build upon, currently sitting at nearly 6’7” and weighing in at 255 lbs.. He has a motor for getting after the quarterback and uses his speed to beat the tackle. Once Smith adds some weight and pass rush moves to his arsenal, then he’ll be a valuable weapon for the Chiefs’ pass rush.
Las Vegas Raiders
Offense: Drake Jackson – Center, Kentucky
Jackson has been the heartbeat of the Wildcats’ offensive line since taking over the starting center role as a freshman. Four years and 47 games later have produced an extremely smart football player and a great leader in the trenches. Durability, IQ and skill are all traits that Raiders’ GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden are looking for.
Defense: Jamar Johnson – Safety, Indiana
Johnson was an instrumental piece to the great Hoosier defense last season. The Raiders don’t have a dire need at safety, but would benefit from getting some depth in a guy like Johnson. He is a capable tackler from the safety position and was a ball hawk in the eight games played in 2020, collecting four interceptions.