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NFL Notebook: How AFC West Rivals Fared in the Draft

Oakland Raiders' first-round NFL draft selections, from left, Josh Jacobs, Clelin Ferrell, and Johnathan Abram hold jerseys after a media conference Friday, April 26, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders' first-round NFL draft selections, from left, Josh Jacobs, Clelin Ferrell, and Johnathan Abram hold jerseys after a media conference Friday, April 26, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Thursday's NFL Notebook will look back at what the Chargers' AFC West rivals did last weekend in the 2019 NFL Draft:

Denver Broncos: The Broncos entered last Thursday night with the tenth overall pick in the draft. They opted to trade out of that spot, swapping picks with the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall) in exchange for an additional second-rounder in 2019, and a third-round pick in 2020.

Denver selected Iowa tight end Noah Fant in the first round to give newly acquired quarterback Joe Flacco a weapon in the passing game. In three college seasons, Fant caught 78 passes for 1,083 yards and 19 touchdowns.

In the second round, the Broncos drafted Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner (No. 41 overall). With Missouri's Drew Lock still on the board, Denver traded up to select its quarterback of the future with the very next pick.

Ohio State defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones was the team's third-round choice at No. 71 overall. Jones was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2018, and the first defensive player drafted under new Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio.

Denver closed by selecting Oregon linebacker Justin Hollins in the fifth round and Colorado wide receiver Juwann Winfree in the sixth.

Beat Writer's Take: "This is an offense that has to evolve, has to get into the 21stcentury [and] has to have more playmakers. Noah Fant is here to catch passes. If he blocks a little bit and doesn't get called for holding, that should be considered a victory. But, with Flacco's experience with tight ends – young tight ends – and also, I'll add this: … A lot of the stuff Fant ran route-wise at Iowa will be run [in Denver]. A lot of west-coast concepts, so I think the transition should be pretty successful for Noah." –The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran on Chargers Weekly

Kansas City Chiefs: Before the draft, Kansas City traded its first-round pick (No. 29 overall) to the Seattle Seahawks for defensive end Frank Clark. That left the Chiefs with six selections, starting with two in the second round.

At No. 56 overall, the team drafted speedy wide receiver Carey Hardman. The former Georgia Bulldog ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and also flashes versatility as a punt and kick returner.

Seven picks later, Kansas City tabbed Virginia safety Juan Thornhill, a first-team All-ACC selection in 2018. Thornhill led the Cavaliers with 98 tackles and six interceptions last season.

The Chiefs' final picks were as follows: Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders (third round); South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton and Utah State RB Darwin Thompson (sixth round); and Illinois G Nick Allegretti (seventh round).

Beat Writer's Take: "Hardman will likely contribute immediately as a developmental, Tyreek Hill-type player. The Chiefs' next two picks, in Juan Thornhill and Khalen Saunders, were solid second- and third-round picks, giving new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo versatility and depth in his defense. As a true free safety, Thornhill may end up being the best pick in the Chiefs' class."The Kansas City Star’sBrooke Pryor

Oakland Raiders: With three first-round picks, intrigue surrounded the Raiders and Mike Mayock as he entered his first draft as an NFL general manager.

The former NFL Network draft analyst wasted no time filling the pass-rush void left by All-Pro Khalil Mack. All-American Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell was the team's first selection at No. 4 overall.

Ferrell ended his college career with 166 tackles (50.5 for loss) and 27 sacks. He should become an immediate starter on a defense that in 2018 notched just 13 sacks – 17 fewer than the two teams that tied for 30th in the NFL.

At No. 24 overall, Oakland took Alabama's Josh Jacobs – the only running back selected in the first round. Jacobs had just 251 carries in college, rushing for 1,491 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns.

Three picks later, the Raiders added Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. A first-team AP All-SEC selection, Abram led the Bulldogs in tackles last season with 99. He was the third defensive player from Mississippi State selected in the first round.

The Raiders' final six picks were as follows: Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen (second round); Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby, Houston CB Isaiah Johnson and LSU TE Foster Moreau (fourth round); Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow (fifth round); and Prairie View A&M DE Quinton Bell (seventh round).

Beat Writer's Take: "The buzzword of this past weekend was 'foundational players,' and I think that some people can read that as, 'Oh, that's cliché. Leaders, great. They're good people, but can they play football?' I think so. I think they really went for a balance of the two and they need to build that foundation heading into Vegas. And, as we all know, this is a complete reset of the Raiders franchise, and if they want to build this thing from the ground up you need a foundation." –The Mercury News' Matt Schneidman onChargers Weekly

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