NFL DRAFT

Los Angeles Times - - MAYWEATHER VS. PACQUIAO -

The draft will be held Thurs­day, Fri­day and Satur­day in Chicago. Times NFL writer Sam Farmer ex­am­ines team needs by di­vi­sion. To­day, in the last of four parts, the West di­vi­sions:

AFC West

Pro­tect­ing Pey­ton Man­ning is para­mount, so the Den­ver Bron­cos al­most cer­tainly will look for help along the of­fen­sive line in this draft. But will they go that way with the 28th pick? They need to fill the va­cancy left by de­fen­sive tackle Ter­rance “Pot Roast” Knighton, who’s now in Wash­ing­ton. They also need a tight end to step in for the de­parted Julius Thomas, even af­ter adding Owen Daniels.

The San Diego

Charg­ers’ di­rec­tion de­pends on what they do with quar­ter­back Philip Rivers. If the ru­mors are true and they trade him to Ten­nessee, they will go for a quar­ter­back at No. 2. More likely, they (and Rivers) stay put and the team takes a power run­ning back who can get the hard yards. Of­fen­sive line is a pri­or­ity too, as is a pass rusher. Now that they have a quar­ter­back to build around in Derek Carr, the Oak­land Raiders need to get him some re­ceiv­ing tar­gets. At No. 4, the Raiders are in po­si­tion to take a po­ten­tial star pass catcher in West Vir­ginia’s Kevin White or Alabama’s Amari Cooper. In­di­ca­tions are they’re lean­ing to­ward White. The Raiders used their top pick on Khalil Mack last year, but they could use an­other edge rusher.

The Kansas City

Chiefs have lots of picks (10) and lots of needs, in­clud­ing at cor­ner­back, where their only es­tab­lished player is Sean Smith. With the 18th pick, Kansas City is in good po­si­tion for a draft that’s deep in cor­ners. They have va­can­cies along the of­fen­sive line too, and are look­ing for some re­ceiv­ing tar­gets for Alex Smith, even though they added Jeremy Ma­clin via free agency. Not a sin­gle wide re­ceiver scored a touch­down for the Chiefs last sea­son.

NFC West

NFL coach of the year Bruce Ari­ans has the

Ari­zona Car­di­nals head­ing in the right di­rec­tion, but there are miles to go. They could go run­ning back in the first round, some­one to com­ple­ment An­dre Elling­ton, and there are op­tions. The Car­di­nals need to ramp up their pass rush too, per­haps adding a book­end to Calais Camp­bell.

Big changes are afoot for the San Fran­cisco 49ers,

now with­out Jim Harbaugh as coach, and the re­build­ing process could start at line­backer, es­pe­cially with the sur­prise re­tire­ments of Pa­trick Wil­lis and Chris Bor­land. The team prob­a­bly will tar­get in­side lineback­ers in the mid­dle rounds. How­ever, the No. 15 pick could be a cor­ner­back, and the 49ers have an op­por­tu­nity to get a good one there. Be­cause of the Jimmy Gra­ham trade with New Or­leans, the

Seat­tle Sea­hawks don’t have a first-round pick. There’s still work to be done in this draft, par­tic­u­larly along the of­fen­sive line (only height­ened by the trade of Max Unger.) To this point, the Sea­hawks have made the most of their wide re­ceivers, and it’s time for an in­fu­sion of play­ers there.

The St. Louis

Rams have a new quar­ter­back in Nick Foles, and they need to pro­tect him. There are sev­eral needs along the of­fen­sive line, and that might be the di­rec­tion the team goes with the 10th pick — although the Rams worked out Ore­gon quar­ter­back Mar­cus Mar­i­ota, so a trade up isn’t out of the ques­tion. Cor­ner­back is a need too, and the Rams are in prime po­si­tion to grab one.

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