While the Las Vegas Raiders improved their roster through the 2020 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, their division rivals naturally attempted to do the same. As Raiders fans saw after the 2019 draft, judging a draft strictly based on collegiate accomplishments can set an incorrect ceiling of potential for the players selected. Yet, since these rookies won’t play for a while, addressing of team needs will with accurate pick grades.
Los Angeles Chargers
After letting Philip Rivers walk, the Chargers knew the direction they were headed with their sixth overall pick: quarterback. With Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa going to Miami with the fifth pick, the Chargers saw a duck fall into their lap with Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. But, Los Angeles was not done in the first round and traded the New England Patriots for the 23rd overall pick to select Oklahoma linebacker, Kenneth Murray. By doing this, the Chargers significantly strengthened both their offense and defense without heading to the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Stockpiling early in the draft benefitted the Chargers. They would only pick four more times after the first day, with one pick in each of the final four rounds. Los Angeles would draft a running back in the fourth to help fill the void in Melvin Gordon’s absence; taking Joshua Kelly from UCLA.
The Denver Broncos were another team that came into the draft knowing what they needed: offensive weapons for their young quarterback, Drew Locke, and they did exactly that. In some sort of surprising fashion, Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy found his way down the draft board to #15 where he was quickly snatched up by Denver. When the draft made its way back to the second round, Denver doubled dipped and selected KJ Hamler, a wide receiver from Penn State.
With the addition of Melvin Gordon, the Broncos now have an incredible offense to support a once-unstoppable defense. Denver’s defensive window is closing just as their offensive window is reaching full strength.
Kansas City Chiefs
While the Chiefs entered the offseason as Super Bowl champions, many found it difficult to significantly pinpoint where the team could improve. However, the Chiefs drafted prudently, they just took what came to them.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back from LSU, served as the final pick of the first round. Edwards-Helaire finished his career as a national champion and was reportedly Patrick Mahomes’ first choice. Kansas City would also snag Mississippi State linebacker Willie Gay in the second round. Gay raised questions around his off-field behavior, but widely regarded as a first-round talent in between the hashmarks. The Chiefs did their research and arguably came away with an early steal, somehow still improving their team significantly.