Let’s look at one player on every AFC West roster who should be paying close attention when the draft begins Thursday:
Denver running back Willis McGahee: He will likely get a backfield partner early in the draft. McGahee is 30 and was nicked up a lot last season. He was fantastic, but will be best served if the Broncos get him some help.
Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel: The Chiefs have spent this offseason building around Cassel. Still, there is a chance Kansas City could take a quarterback early. If the Chiefs take Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill in the first round, Cassel’s future is Kansas City will be short. If the Chiefs bypass a quarterback in the early rounds, it’s a strong statement that Cassel is in the team’s long-term plans.
Oakland tight end David Ausberry: The Raiders like Ausberry, a second-year player, but they have also been scouting tight ends. Oakland not drafting one would be a clear sign that Ausberry will get every opportunity to play in 2012.
San Diego running back Ryan Mathews: He has seen Darren Sproles and Mike Tolbert leave via free agency in the past nine months; Mathews needs a quality backup and I think he will get one. Mathews is making great strides, but he has some durability issues -- making a strong backup a must.