The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team Needs – AFC West

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Other than using the vehicle of the NFL Draft to solve an immediate need, teams look to the selection process to build depth. Due to expected injuries and overall development, constructing a solid roster from top to bottom is essential for clubs to succeed. Players must be teachable, hungry and ready, which is why the NFL Regional Combine is significant.

NFL teams should build according to their division. If a squad can amass the right talents to execute the system well enough to dictate outcomes on the field, skies the limits.

The AFC West has the potential to be the best division in the NFL. However, the San Diego Chargers must be consistent and the Denver Broncos need better quarterback play before the West can claim the top.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team Needs – AFC South

The Oakland Raiders are the real deal, while the Kansas City Chiefs is resilient.

The AFC west is occasionally physical, but for the most part, the division is more about speed with hybrid type defenders and finest.

The AFC West was the highest scoring division in the AFC Conference last season with 1548 points, and fell nine points short behind the AFC East for being the best defensive grouping in the AFC.

With a plus-122 differential, the West has a host of achievements to shoot for in 2017.  Nevertheless, the Broncos must stay the course, while the Chargers need to get involved.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – (Current RC players – None)

Last season, 12-4 – AFC West Champions

After three consecutive years of falling second place in the division, the Chiefs finally became the top dog of the West. A couple of things went their way towards the end of the 2016 campaign. Nevertheless, they were in position to win the division and they accomplished.

In 2017, the realistic goal of winning back-to-back division titles is legitimate.

Needs – Linebacker, Defensive Tackle, Cornerback


Teron Fitzgerald (Texas State), Quick, explosive, decent hands, aggressive

Dvonta Derricott (Arkansas Tech), Intense, solid tracking speed, great hands, great tackler, discipline

B.J. Bello (Illinois State), Agile, great feet, decent hands, hybrid, plays the pass, quick

Defensive Tackle

Patrick Grafree (Eastern Kentucky), Huge, powerful, quick, nasty, great feet and use hands well

Chad Stoterau (Northern State, S.D.), Solid tackler, balance, good feet, athletic

Alex Pace (Cincinnati), Agile, explosive, balance, strong, great feet, use hands well


Xavier Coleman (Portland State), Fast, decent hands, tracking skills, instinctive

Dejaun Butler (Hawaii), Physical, great tackler, balance, good hands

Wayne Morgan (Syracuse), Good speed, great hands, great instincts

OAKLAND RAIDERS – (Current RC players – WR Seth Roberts, LB Tyrell Adams)

Last season, 12-4

Clearly, the absence of quarterback Derek Carr plagued the Raiders’ chance to go deep into the playoff. With a healthy Carr, bullish offensive line and an improving defense, the Raiders will look to achieve bigger things.

Needs – Linebacker, Defensive Tackle, Cornerback


Jeffrey Branch (Presentation College), Great balance, patience, discipline, solid tackler, decent speed

Nigel Harris (South Florida), Balance, hybrid, quick, play well with weight, strong, great hands

Logan Schultz (Northwood, Mich.), Quick, balance, great feet, used hands well, strong

Defensive Tackle

Darnell Vickers (West Liberty State), Agile, light on feet, quick, great hands

Nhigel Phillips (Albany State, Ga.), Powerful, smart, decent speed, instinctive

Alex Pace (Cincinnati), Agile, explosive, balance, strong, great feet, use hands well


Marcus Sayles (West Georgia), Explosive, decent hands and speed, special teams ace

Wayne Morgan (Syracuse), Good speed, great hands, great instincts

Jerod Boykins (Central Florida), Big, great feet, decent hands, quick

DENVER BRONCOS – (Current RC players – K Brandon McManus)

Last season, 9-7

After one year removed from having one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, the optimism for a playoff appearance remained. Instead, the 2016 season for the Broncos highlighted a host of signal callers, and the campaign ended with some ‘what ifs.’

How would the 2015 world champions been if Trevor Siemian stayed healthy? How good would the Broncos have been with a running attack?

The 2017 NFL season may end with some of the same questions for the Broncos. Moreover, what will not be questioned for their upcoming outing is their competitive nature.

Needs – Offensive Lineman, Full Back, Defensive End

Offensive Lineman

-Dustin Stanton (Oregon State), Huge, balance, control, great footwork, quick

-Jason King (Purdue), Huge, strong, moves well, uses hands well

Full Back

-Ante Litre (Simon Fraser), Explosive, runs hard, balance, great hands

-Joe Phillips (Slippery Rock), Pounder, physical, good speed

-Saul Monteon (Washburn), Great hands, strong, discipline, decent speed

Defensive End

-Alex Jenkins (Incarnate Word), Extremely athletic, raw talent, explosive, strong, great hands

-Brian Khoury (Carnegie Mellon), Moves great, focus, balance, control, strong, quick

-Troy Gahm (Alma), All-around athletic, agile, strong hands, raw talent (basketball player)

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – (Current RC players – LB Jatavis Brown, QB Mike Bercovici, DT Carlis Zamir, CB Michael Lee, TE Sean McGrath)

Last Season, 5-11


The Chargers have talent, but their issue is consistency. If they can find their identity and be balance offensively, the Chargers can be dangerous.

Needs – Defensive End, Wide Receiver, Offensive Lineman

Defensive End

Monte Taylor (Albany State, Ga.), Solid, strong, quick, agile, high motor

Kyle Kelley (San Diego State), Fiery, play on high motor, good hands

Corey Vereen (Tennessee), High motor, quick first step, decent speed, use hands well

Wide Receiver

Justice Liggins (Stephen F. Austin), Solid route running, great hands, smooth, runs hard

Montay Crockett (Georgia Southern), Great hands, playmaker, fluent, quick, burner

Drew Scales (Slippery Rock), Return specialist, decent speed, great vision, elusive

Robert Waddell (West Virginia Wesleyan), Great hands and speed, discipline, solid route runner, smart

Offensive Lineman

Jack Plankers (North Dakota State), Nasty, agile, powerful, quick, great feet, solid pass protector

Thomas Evans (Richmond), Explosive, good feet and hands, smart

Casey Perry (North Carolina-Pembroke), powerful, strong, moves well, good hands

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