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Grading the 2017 NFL Draft: AFC West

By Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange
Grading the 2017 NFL Draft: AFC West
Garett Bolles kisses his son after being selected by the Denver Broncos as the 20th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater in Philadelphia, PA on April 27, 2017. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

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But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a look at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

RELATED 2017 NFL Draft Day 3 Update, Selections: Only 4 quarterbacks taken on final day

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Few know better than John Elway that a quarterback's best friends are his left tackle and a security blanket at tight end. In Garett Bolles in the first round and the sure-handed Jake Butt in the fifth, the Broncos provided those for young passers Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Given that Bolles remains quite raw and that Butt is still recovering from a torn ACL, ultra-quick slot receivers Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie (who'll double as a returner) may actually wind up making the most immediate impact on offense for Denver. Florida State's DeMarcus Walker did not generate as much pre-draft hype as his production warranted but expect that to change in Denver when he feasts upon the one-on-one blocks he'll see with opponents focusing on edge rushers Von Miller and Shane Ray. Brendan Langley remains quite raw but the Georgia-transfer is very athletic and physical. Chad Kelly lacks the intangibles scouts would prefer but he possesses undeniable talent, something that cannot always be said for Mr. Irrelevant.

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RELATED Relevant Mr. Irrelevant: Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly selected last by Denver Broncos in 2017 NFL Draft

Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

RELATED 2017 NFL Draft: Round 2 updates and current player selections

A natural gunslinger with a "wow" arm and a knack for improvisation, Patrick Mahomes II is a fascinating selection for the Kansas City Chiefs as he is the polar opposite of incumbent starter Alex Smith, one of the smarter and more patient (but ultimately, risk-adverse) quarterbacks in the league. Few coaches are better suited to harnessing Mahomes' raw talent than Andy Reid, who, of course, helped mold a similarly unrefined Donovan McNabb into a heckuva quarterback in Philadelphia. The big trade up from No. 27 to 10 to land Mahomes cost Kansas City plenty of draft picks but some intriguing talent was added on Day Two, including imposing Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and Toledo's Kareem Hunt -- my favorite of the so-called second-tier runners. With Jamaal Charles gone, don't be surprised if Hunt's ability to remain to keep his feet through contact and protect the ball helps him earn significant carries as a rookie. One small quibble with Kansas City's draft is that the club could have used some help at inside linebacker with veteran Derrick Johnson recovering from his second torn Achilles.

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Grade: B+

Los Angeles Chargers

After 13 years, the Chargers finally seem to be serious about protecting quarterback Philip Rivers, using their first-round pick (No. 7 overall) on big-bodied split end Mike Williams and investing Day Two picks on pro-ready linemen Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. While never exactly fleet of foot, Rivers is one of the more courageous and durable quarterbacks in the league, often stepping up into the pocket to extend plays, making the play of his guards arguably just as important in pass protection as the tackles. Though they likely wouldn't admit it, the Chargers missed the big plays Eric Weddle used to deliver at safety a year ago but found two interesting (but very different) candidates to adequately replace him in hard-hitting Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth round and 2015 Thorpe Award winner Desmond King in the fifth. King starred at corner for Iowa and may remain there in Gus Bradley's scheme. He possesses the instincts and reliable tackling skills to handle safety duties, if asked.

Grade: B

Oakland Raiders

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Late owner Al Davis popularized the expression "Just win, baby" and the Raiders seemed to take that mentality into the 2017 draft, gambling that disturbing allegations levied against first-round cornerback Gareon Conley would never result in an arrest and on the raw upside of several subsequent picks. No one was more impressive at the Combine that Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu and UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes flashed (when not overweight or injured) after signing with the Bruins as one of the more highly regarded preps in the country. David Sharpe offers similarly intriguing upside, boasting the sheer size to project as a possible replacement at right tackle for free agent departure Menelik Watson. Of Oakland's later picks, watch out for Washington State's Shalom Luani.

Grade: C

Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for , a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.>www.NFLDraftScout.com

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