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2023 NFL Draft Wish List: AFC West

NFL Fantasy



The AFC West continues to run through Kansas City and a Chiefs team that is still celebrating last year’s Super Bowl title. It seemed like last year could be the year the Chargers, Broncos and Raiders really challenged the Chiefs, but that didn’t come to fruition. If those teams are going to have any chance of dethroning the champs, a successful draft weekend wouldn’t be the worst way to start.

Let’s break down this entire division. 


By the time the NFL Draft starts April 27, we’ll have touched on every team around the league. Here’s the schedule for our Draft Wish List series:

2023 NFL Draft Wish List: AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

  • First pick: 1st round, 31st overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 10

Coming off a Super Bowl title, Kansas City will once again hold the final pick of the opening round of the draft, though instead of 32nd overall, it’ll be 31st. It seems pretty likely that Kansas City will go either defensive line or potentially wide receiver in the first round and with this being a fairly deep edge class, that bodes well. Will McDonald should be available for the Chiefs at 31, and if he actually lined up at edge more often at Iowa State this past season, there is a really good chance he’d be a consensus top-15 selection. McDonald is an explosive athlete with long arms, which helps him get after quarterbacks, even if he is a little undersized for the position. With speed, athleticism and a devastating spin move, McDonald could be a really, really impactful player at the next level.

If they don’t address the edge position in the first round, the Chiefs will likely look to wideout or offensive tackle. Kansas City lost Orlando Brown this offseason, though they did add Jawaan Taylor. Still, they could use more depth at the tackle position and there is a solid chance that Ohio State’s Dawand Jones is available here. At 6-foot-8 and 374 pounds, Jones has tremendous size and plenty of power, though his foot speed is an issue. Still, he allowed zero sacks in nearly 400 pass-blocking snaps last season, along with a pressure rate of just 1.3%. 

In the later rounds, whatever position the Chiefs don’t address to start the draft will be on their radar. Auburn’s Derick Hall would be a viable selection to end the second round, and he has some similarities to Will McDonald. I also expect the Chiefs, per usual, to look to the wide receiver position. If it is in the third round, I could see Kansas City targeting Parker Washington or Tyler Scott. Washington would help fill the absence of JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot, while Scott could replace the speed element they lost with Mecole Hardman. Washington isn’t going to wow you with speed, but he has arguably the strongest hands in this entire draft class and turns into a running back once he catches the football. 


Las Vegas Raiders

  • First pick: 1st round, 7th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 12

The Raiders are a very interesting team. For a while, it seemed very likely they would select Will Levis at seventh overall, and while that is absolutely still possible, it also sounds like Levis could fall a bit. Las Vegas has Jimmy Garoppolo as a bridge quarterback right now, who obviously knows the system that Josh McDaniels wants to run. But he isn’t their future, and new backup Brian Hoyer sure isn’t either. Levis has video game arm strength and can make impressive plays when under pressure. However, he is inconsistent when going through progressions, while his footwork is unbelievably spotty, which has a lot to do with his accuracy issues. He can play behind Garoppolo for a year but might start multiple games as a rookie if Garoppolo continues to struggle staying on the field. Meanwhile, if Levis is off the board or a team trades up ahead of the Raiders, Las Vegas would still be thrilled to see either Devon Witherspoon or Christian Gonzalez on the board at seven. As it stands, the Raiders top two defensive backs are Duke Shelley and David Long. The Raiders were one of the most zone-heavy teams in football last season, which would make Gonzalez a pretty good fit for this scheme.

If they don’t manage to draft one of the top two defensive backs at seventh overall, there are plenty of players I like later on for the Raiders. Cam Smith, Emmanuel Forbes and Tyrique Stevenson could all be on the board at 38th overall. Forbes is undersized but has absurd ball skills, but I like the fit with Stevenson, who has the size and physicality to play press man coverage, but also excelled in zone coverage this past season. The Raiders also need more help on the offensive line. If TCU’s Steve Avila is available with their second-round selection, that would be ideal, as Avila is an experienced player who can play all five positions on the offensive line, which gives a below-average offensive line more depth and versatility. 

Los Angeles Chargers

  • First pick: 1st round, 21st overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 7

I don’t think it is a secret that the Chargers are looking to add more to their wide receiver room. Specifically, more speed. They were apparently interested in Jameson Williams this time last season and while the pairing of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams is good when healthy, it also offers very little explosiveness. Zay Flowers has been a popular player to mock to the Chargers and I can’t disagree with it. Flowers is an unbelievably sudden wideout with 4.42 speed. He moved all over the formation at Boston College and plays with a ton of confidence. Flowers also tracks the deep ball well and with Joe Lombardi gone and Kellen Moore in as offensive coordinator, we should see the Chargers throw the ball down the field a lot more in 2023. At this point, I think it would be a surprise if the Chargers didn’t draft a pass-catcher in the first round, though if they don’t, it could very well be Bijan Robinson. Austin Ekeler has reportedly asked for a trade and if the Chargers can add Robinson, they could move Ekeler. Robinson would instantly be the team’s every-down running back and in this offense, could legitimately flirt with some of the elite seasons we see from Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson. 

Again, I doubt it happens at this point but if the Chargers don’t draft a wide receiver in the first round, Jalin Hyatt would be a dream fit for this offense. He excels running vertical routes from the slot and would give this team the downfield presence they simply haven’t had in quite some time, while it would help open everything up for Allen and Ekeler in the intermediate areas of the field. I just don’t think he’ll be on the board when Los Angeles makes their second-round selection at 54th overall. 


Denver Broncos

  • First pick: 3rd round, 67th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 0
  • Total selections: 5

Barring any craziness, it should be a relatively quiet draft weekend for the Broncos, who moved plenty of draft picks in the Russell Wilson trade. Luckily, Denver really addressed their offensive line issues during free agency, adding Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey. I’d like to see the Broncos add a defensive back opposite Patrick Surtain II and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo would be an extremely fun selection. At 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, Ringo would join Surtain (6-2, 208) to give the Broncos a massive defensive back duo, while he also has great speed, especially for his size, running an insane 4.36 40-yard dash. All of the tools are there and although he requires plenty of development, playing alongside one of the game’s best corners would be ideal. 

I’ll also use this opportunity to talk about how much I love Clark Phillips III from Utah. He is the complete opposite player of Ringo, but Phillips reads the quarterback’s eyes at a very high level and has really strong change of direction ability with tremendous hip fluidity. Given how instinctive and fundamentally sound he is, Phillips is one of my favorite defensive backs in this entire class. In 12 games last year, Phillips had six interceptions and allowed just a 68.4 passer rating in coverage. 

With two selections in the fourth round, I love the idea of the Broncos drafting a running back. Javonte Williams could miss most of the 2023 season after tearing his ACL and LCL last year. Denver added Samaje Perine this offseason, who is a very capable running back but if this team doesn’t have Williams, they really lack playmaking and explosiveness in their backfield. That would immediately change with the selection of Tulane’s Tyjae Spears, who has absurd change of direction and cutting ability. Spears has terrific speed manipulation to keep defenders guessing, while also providing plenty in the passing game. Spears can line up out wide and in the slot and when on an island against a linebacker, it is all but over. I also love how well he understands winning the leverage battle when running the football. and given his skillset, I think he’d be a perfect fit in Sean Payton’s offense. Once Williams is ready to roll, Spears would be an elite complement to the former North Carolina running back. 

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