Is it ever too early to begin talking about the 2023 NFL Draft? Surely is isn’t. Here are the current most pressing needs for AFC West teams. The AFC West was held in such a high regard this offseason. Through four full weeks in the NFL, it’s clear that the division is not living up to the hype that they were receiving.
The Chargers and Broncos are currently going through it with brutal injuries. The Raiders simply haven’t won as much as some thought, and the Chiefs appear to be running away with this division yet again. Even though most teams have 13 regular season games, it’s never too early to take a look at what each team is identifying as an early 2023 NFL Draft need.
Early draft needs for AFC West teams
Kansas City Chiefs – Wide receiver
The Chiefs had to do some work with their wide receiver position this offseason when they traded away Tyreek Hill. They signed Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and drafted Skyy Moore. As of now, they don’t really have a true WR1 on their roster.
They appear to have a few good players, which has worked out just fine for Kansas City, but it’s clear the team needs to find their own version of Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, etc.
This would add another wrinkle to an already elite offense. The Chiefs also have a few needs on the defensive side, and I think they could target the cornerback position with their first selection in 2023.
Los Angeles Chargers – Offensive line
The Chargers have put some resources into their offensive line since Justin Herbert arrived, but more work needs done. Rashawn Slater is a stud at left tackle. Zion Johnson and Corey Linsley are good interior players.
Los Angeles needs to find themselves a solid starting right tackle for 2023 and beyond. Perhaps they’d consider dipping into the free agent market, but drafting usually pays off more in the end. They’ll have to pay Justin Herbert this offseason, but his large cap numbers likely won’t kick in for another year or so after that.
It’s imperative for the Chargers to keep building up their roster while they have Herbert in a reasonable financial situation.
Denver Broncos – Offensive line
I think we’ll continue to see an offensive arms race in the division. It’s simply hard to find quality offensive line play in the NFL, and it seems like there are more quality edge rushers than there are linemen. The Broncos need to improve their offensive line.
It’s regressed since 2021 when Mike Munchak was coaching the unit. It’s also clear that guys like Dalton Risner and Lloyd Cushenberry simply haven’t been cutting it for most of their careers. Denver also doesn’t have a long-term solution at right tackle, and Garett Bolles, their left tackle, is set to miss the season. This position group will be getting some attention in the offseason.
Las Vegas Raiders – Secondary
The Raiders have the worst defense in the division, and one of their most problematic units is the secondary. Rock Ya-Sin and Nate Hobbs are good cornerbacks, but I’m not sure either can be a true CB1.
Johnathan Abram hasn’t lived up to his draft status and likely won’t be re-signed in the offseason. Las Vegas made arguably some of the most notable moves of the 2022 offseason when they signed Chandler Jones, extended Maxx Crosby, and traded for Davante Adams.
They’ve got needs along the offensive line, but if their defense cannot stop their opponents, the elite offensive weaponry won’t matter in the AFC West.