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Who fits AFC West teams?

4/22/2011

With Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton presenting AFC West team needs and team profiles, I'm taking a look at the best early-round fits for teams in the division.

Denver Broncos

Denver has to be hoping the Carolina Panthers take Auburn QB Cam Newton with the top overal pick, which would open the door for the Broncos to take Alabama DT Marcell Dareus -- the top player on our board -- at No. 2.

Denver has the worst scoring defense in the leauge in 2010 and a league-low 23 total sacks, and Dareus would help remedy both of those issues. He has the strength, power and versatility to shore up the middle of the defensive front.

The Broncos also have two second round picks (Nos. 36 and 46), and could consider Washington LB Mason Foster with the latter pick. Foster has the range, instincts and tackling ability to run to the ball and make plays.

Kansas City Chiefs

My colleague Todd McShay projected the Chiefs to take Arizona DE Brooks Reed at No. 21 overall, and Reed makes some sense there. He's got the explosiveness and relentlessness to team with DE Tamba Hali to give the Chiefs a dynamic pass rush.

Kansas City could aso opt for the top offensive tackle on the board, likely Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, to fill a need. And while they would like to get a wide receiver to plug in opposite Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs could fll that need in the second round with someone like Boise State's Titus Young, Kentucky's Randall Cobb or Miami's Leonard Hankerson.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders' first-round pick belongs to New England as part of the Richard Seymour trade, but at No. 48 in the second round they could opt for Virginia CB Ras-I Dowling, who has first-round skills but was hampered by multiple injuries in 2010.

Dowling fits the Oakland mold of a prospect with great size and speed, and he is an effective press corner who could help maintain what was the No. 2 pass defense in the league last season with his range and ball skills.

Oakland signed CB Stanford Routt to a big contract and is likely preparing for CB Nnamdi Asomugha to move on after his contract expires, so drafting Dowling and grooming him as an eventual starter might be a wise move.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers need nelp along the defensive front seven, and while California's Cameron Jordan and Wisconsin's J.J. Watt wil likely be gone when San Diego picks at No. 8 the Chargers might do well to add Temple DE Muhammad Wilkerson.

Wilkerson is a big-time run-stopper with good size (6-foot-4, 315 pounds), and he also moves well for his size and can get after the passer (9.5 sacks in 2010).

And with two picks in both the second and third rounds San Diego could address a likely need at wide receiver. Pittsburgh's Jonathan Baldwin has elite size and ball skils and could be a good option, and North Carolina's Greg Little also has the tools to take advantage of the touch and timing with which QB Philip Rivers throws.