AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders


  • Tony Pauline expects the Broncos to take a quarterback at pick No. 9 if one they like falls, with current QB Drew Lock being a “contingency plan” for Denver: “Drew Lock would be a contingency plan if they can’t get a quarterback early in the draft. If the right quarterback is there, I do believe that’s the direction they’ll go.” 
  • If the Broncos don’t take a quarterback, Pauline thinks they could take Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II.
  • Broncos GM George Paton said RT Ja’Wuan James “looks great” and expects him to start: “He’s been here, he’s been working out, he looks great. The expectation is he starts at right tackle and plays well.” (Mike Klis)
  • Paton believes Denver’s offensive line ranks in the “top third” of the league and feels they could sign more depth: “I think our offensive line, if you had to rank in the league, I think they are in the top third. We could add depth.” (Troy Renck)
  • Paton added that recently signed CB Kyle Fuller prevents them from forcing a pick in the draft along with bringing back veteran CB Kareem Jackson: “Really good ball skills. Great anticipation. To get a guy like that, we don’t have to force it in the draft. It was really big for us. .. And we are really happy Kareem is back. The whole building wanted him back.” (Troy Renck)
  • As for the draft, Paton said he’s had “over 250 Zoom calls” with prospects, which last for roughly an hour. Paton mentioned that this was “way more than usual.” (Mike Klis)


Chiefs’ HC Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes showed love to QB Alex Smith as he rides off into the sunset of retirement. Reid has other plans for him and was quick to call “dibs” on Smith as a coach if he decides to head that direction after his playing career.

“You guys know what I feel about him,” Reid said, via Pete Sweeney of “He’s just a heck of a person. He had a great career. He played so many years here with different teams, and everywhere he went, he made them better. I texted him a while back if he gets into coaching I get first dibs on him, which I doubt he will, but if he decides to go that route, he’d be a guy that you’d love to have on your staff. He is really a special person. He’ll go down as one of my all-time favorites there.”

“Just a tremendous guy, obviously a great player,” Mahomes said. “Dealt with adversity throughout his career and always seemed to come out on top and be better from it. He’s dealt with different coaches. He’s dealt with different systems, and he’s always had success, and obviously with the injury that he had, been able to come back and lead his team to the playoffs. It shows the type of man that he is, the type of team player that he is, and I’m just grateful for the time that I had with him that really developed me to be the quarterback I am today.”

As for Mahomes, he was willing to address his injury and says that he is progressing well after being hurt in the Super Bowl against the Buccaneers.

“I think I’m progressing well,” said Mahomes, via Adam Teicher of ESPN. “I think I’m ahead of schedule myself. Obviously, we’re trying to be cautious. We’re not pushing me out there too soon. But I’m doing what I can. I’ve gotten out of the boot finally. It took forever. Now I’m trying to get back on the field and get that stuff working. I’m sure they’ll keep me on that same pathway and that hopefully, I can do some stuff by the end of the offseason.”

“He’s got great flexibility in that toe,” Reid added. “He worked his tail off, not a real fun thing for him to do with that. It seems like a small thing, but that toe is rather large and stiff before the surgery and after the surgery, so he’s really worked hard to get that right.”


  • When asked about free safeties available in the 2021 NFL Draft, Raiders GM Mike Mayock said there are good player available within the first three or four rounds: “Good players through the first 3, 4 rounds.” (Paul Gutierrez)
  • Mayock said they’ve had “lively conversations” about where they stand on drafting players who opted out of the 2020 season. (Vic Tafur)
  • Mayock feels like the Raiders can currently “compete” at center with Nick Martin plus Andre James: “We feel like we can compete at center. We got younger…all the respect in the world for Rodney, Gabe and Trent.” (Paul Gutierrez)
  • As for the Raiders’ need at right tackle in the draft, Mayock praised undrafted OT Jaryd Jones-Smith and keyed in on him as a player they like at the position. (Tafur)

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