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AFC West Draft GPA's: Denver Broncos Come in 3rd

Ken Pomponio Avatar
May 9, 2015


The ink scarcely had dried on draft cards last weekend before the 32 teams and all 256 picks were assigned grades.

But, hey, what is there for draftniks to do?

Still, even if you look at little askew at these snap judgements – I’m with the majority that believes it takes at least three years before truly accurate draft grades can be handed out – the marks are always interesting to peruse and compare.

Here in Broncos Country, it all starts with the AFC West, of course, so we’ve tracked down the grades from five of the most prominent draft gurus – ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., NFL Draft Geek.com’s Nolan Vasan (who provided the marks for USA Today’s Sports Weekly), Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout.com/CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke and Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News – and averaged them together to compile some divisional GPAs. A “C” grade was given a value of 2.5, a “C+” 2.75, a “B-” 3.25, a “B” 3.5 and so on up and down the grade book.

Anyway, here’s how the Orange & Blue and their AFC West competition graded out, starting with the highest GPA of the quartet, the …

San Diego Chargers (3.55 GPA)

Summary: The Bolts filled their top need by trading up two spots in the first round to nab Wisconsin stud tailback Melvin Gordon, and then added what many feel is a second-round steal in Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman. San Diego didn’t add any wide-receiver help, but did (wisely) hold on to QB Philip Rivers following all the pre-draft trade speculation.

Highest mark: A- (Vasan)

Lowest mark: B- (Kiper, Burke, Iyer)

Quote of note: “The trade up for Gordon left the Chargers with only five picks, but few clubs (in the league) made more improvements with a limited number of selections.” – Rang.

Oakland Raiders (3.40 GPA)

Summary: The Jacksonville Jaguars set the draft table for the Silver & Black by drafting pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr., and handing them the top wideout in Alabama’s Amari Cooper, arming second-year QB Derek Carr with the elite weapon he – and the franchise – have lacked. Second-round defensive lineman Mario Edwards is regarded as somewhat of a reach, but the third-round selection of tight end Clive Walford out of Miami drew a number of rave reviews.

Highest mark: B+ (Burke, Vasan)

Lowest mark: C+ (Iyer)

Quote of note: “Give the Raiders credit for taking the best value at a clear need and passing on tempting options such as Kevin White and Leonard Williams (in the first round).” – Kiper.

Denver Broncos (3.25 GPA)

Summary: As you well know, the Broncos made the biggest move of the first round by trading up five spots to snare Missouri pass-rush demon Shane Ray, a top-10 talent who had fallen because of a lingering toe injury and his ill-timed marijuana citation three days before the draft. Denver filled its biggest need by drafting offensive linemen Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia, in the second and fourth rounds, respectively, but still left questions at inside linebacker and on the defensive front.

Highest mark: B (Rang, Burke)

Lowest mark: C (Vasan)

Quote of note: “As long as they’re able to keep Shane Ray out of trouble, he should prove to be a difference maker on defense, but after that it was a lot of role players for the Broncos.” – Vasan.

Kansas City Chiefs (3.05 GPA)

Summary: K.C.’s first-round selection of talented but troubled University of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters could prove to be one of the boom-or-bust picks of the entire draft. In addition to the secondary, which also was addressed in the third round, the Chiefs’ other prime need was at wide receiver, and the third-round selection of Georgia deep threat Chris Conley is hailed as a strong value pick.

Highest mark: B (Burke, Rang)

Lowest mark: C (Iyer, Vasan)

Quote of note:  “It’s just hard to think they really positioned themselves here to out-finish Denver and San Diego in the AFC West.” – Iyer.

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