2012 NFL Draft AFC West Day 3 Recap: Chiefs, Broncos Get Value On Defensive Backs

Day 3 for the AFC West, besides a few notable exceptions, was a steady stream of "Who?" So many of these players are unheralded and projected to be low draft picks or undrafted free agents. The notable exceptions are CB Omar Bolden from Arizona State (Broncos), De'Quan Menzie from Alabama (Chiefs), and Juron Criner of Arizona (Raiders).

The Chiefs took a couple projects in Cyrus Gray and Jerome Long, but I think they struck gold with De'Quan Menzie and Junior Hemingway. Devon Wylie is an interesting guy who is a great return man, and we can all remember the last time the Chiefs had a great return man in Dante Hall. He single-handedly morphed the Chiefs from an average team into a scary one. Wylie isn't on that level but he does make them better. Menzie was a starter on the best defense in college football, and coming from Alabama you know he's prepared for the pro game. Hemingway is a big, tall spread receiver with good hands.

The Chargers may have picked a guy with the best value of Day 3 in Michigan center David Molk. Molk isn't tall, but he is very thick with a neck like a Virginia ham. He was the best center in the country last year and why he wasn't taken on Day 2 is incomprehensible. Molk will be starting within a year and should anchor the San Diego line for the foreseeable future. The Chargers also picked up TE LaDarius Green from Louisiana-Lafayette, who is a good prospect to develop behind Antonio Gates and to give playing time to when Gates inevitably misses time with the flu or a pulled spleen or whatever ailment curses him this season.

The Broncos took Omar Bolden, an excellent corner from Arizona State who probably shouldn't have fallen so far, in the fourth, as well as a terrific center/guard from Baylor in Philip Blake. The rest of their third day was blah, but that doesn't matter. Peyton Manning will win twelve games by himself no matter who the sixth round picks are. They could have selected my aged grandmother in the third round for all the difference it would make.

The Raiders had five picks on Day 3, and devoted all but one to defense. They took two defensive linemen and two linebackers. They utterly neglected to address the secondary, which is baffling to me, but Juron Criner is so shiny I can't be too upset. Their actions tell me one of two things: they like Chekwa and Van Dyke as backups to Bartel and Spencer OR they did not see a cornerback they liked with any of their picks. I call shenanigans on number two, because Chase Minnifield went undrafted and that's nonsense.
Miles Burriss and Nate Stupar are two high-energy linebackers who have the versatility to play inside or outside in any scheme, and the Raiders (as I mentioned yesterday) need as many of those as they can get. Jack Crawford is a tough developmental defensive end, and Christo Bilukidi is simply a very large man who will need time to adjust to the NFL game.
The real gem here, of course, is Juron Criner. He has true #1 receiver ability, and can catch the ball in traffic as well as stretch the field and make all the catches, even the degree-of-difficulty acrobatic ones. Criner fell in the draft due to a slow 40 time, but his tape shows that he is plenty fast enough. He's not exactly a burner like, say, Julio Jones, but his size and great hands allow him to win most battles against even the best cornerbacks. The Raiders have enough burners and speedsters on their team already (Ford, Moore, Heyward-Bey) what they need is a guy who is big and strong and can make all the tough catches and handle the contact without breaking (looking at you, Chaz Schilens). The Raiders' WR rotation has a lot of talent, but if anyone can crack that nut it's Criner, who possesses a unique skill set that the coaching staff and Carson Palmer will appreciate.

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