2024 NFL Draft Review: 4 rookies who will make some noise in the AFC West

4 rookies who will make some noise in the AFC West.
Michigan's Junior Colson
Michigan's Junior Colson / David Berding/GettyImages

Will the Kansas City Chiefs get competition in the AFC West in 2024?  Well, the defending back-to-back Super Bowl Champions are favored to take the division again, but the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers look to give them some competition.

With two of those teams still searching for a quarterback, it’s tough to forecast the Chiefs not locking down the division again.  The one team that has a quarterback and head coach combination to give Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes a run for their money is the Chargers with Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL and coaching Justin Herbert.

Even with the coach and QB in place, the Chargers, like the Raiders and Broncos, are hoping they found improvements in other areas to challenge the Chiefs.  Did each team improve their teams through the draft?  Well, there is some interesting talent joining the division.

2024 NFL Draft selections who will make noise for each AFC West team

NFL Mocks looks at each AFC West team’s 2024 NFL Draft selection that will make some noise in the division and maybe make their team a little better than predicted.

Denver Broncos – WR Troy Franklin (Round 4– Pick 102)

Sean Payton and the Broncos are hoping they have their quarterback of the future in former Oregon star Bo Nix.  Selected with the No 12 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Nix has the maturity and talent to flourish under Payton, especially with a familiar player in the offense.

Denver Broncos rookie receiver Troy Franklin will make some noise in the AFC West
Denver Broncos Rookie Minicamp - Troy Franklin / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

In selecting Nix’s former Oregon teammate Troy Franklin in the fourth round, the Broncos not only added a weapon to the offense Nix is familiar with, but also may have a player who will be a steal in the draft based on his production during his final season at Oregon.

The Nix to Franklin combination tore it up at Oregon and if Nix is the starter for the Broncos, expect Franklin to have a solid rookie season.  His speed will be a welcome addition in Denver, and he will be a nice complement to Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims Jr. in the offense.  He could even challenge Josh Reynolds for the team’s WR3 role.

Kansas City Chiefs – TE Jared Wiley (Round 4– Pick 131)

Folks, Travis Kelce isn’t getting any younger and the Chiefs may have drafted his successor in TCU’s Jared Wiley.  Though he is not a rookie getting much hype as far as expectations, but with his size and pass-catching ability, Wiley has an opportunity to flourish in Andy Reid’s offense, especially learning behind and watching Kelce.

During his final season at TCU, Wiley hauled in 47 receptions for 520 yards with 8 touchdowns.  The talent is there, but he’ll have to compete to work his way up the Chiefs’ tight end depth chart and he will.  His length and versatility as a tight end with blocking ability will earn him snaps and he’ll take advantage of those snaps.  Along with the speedy Xavier Worthy, Patrick Mahomes get a big new target in Wiley to get the ball to.

Las Vegas Raiders – TE Brock Bowers (Round 1 – Pick 13)

This one is a no-brainer.  Seen as a surprise pick by the Raiders based on need, Las Vegas simply took the best player available with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and Brock Bowers will make the Raiders offense more versatile.

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Brock Bowers will make noise in the AFC West
NFL Combine - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

The Two-time John Mackey Award-winner will prove to be a matchup nightmare in the AFC West.  How impactful he’ll be will obviously depend on the Raiders quarterback situation, but whoever they roll with under center, Bowers will be a reliable target and along with Michael Mayer will give the Raiders a dangerous tight end duo.

Along with the pass-catching production, Bowers will also bring toughness to the Raiders’ offense.  How effective he’ll be in that offense will depend how Raiders offensive coordinator Luke Getsy defensive to use him.  As a player who can and has lined up in different formations, it will be both interesting and entertaining to see how Getsy gets him in position to be most effective.

Los Angeles Chargers – LB Junior Colson (Round 3 – Pick 69)

The Chargers top two picks, Joe Alt and Ladd McConkey will make impacts at their position, but the team’s third round pick will be the player who makes the most noise.  Drafted as a position of need, former Michigan linebacker Junior Colson has entered the perfect situation to succeed.

Los Angeles Chargers rookie linebacker Junior Colson ready to make some noise in the AFC West.
NFL Combine - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

In leading the Big Ten with 95 tackles, Colson joins a familiar face in Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh who he played under in Michigan.  That familiarity should help him enter his rookie season with comfortability and confidence as the Chargers are thin at the linebacker position.

Along with the leadership he’ll bring (even as a rookie), Colson will also add explosiveness to the defensive with a combination of strength, size and field awareness that will quickly make him one of the better inside linebackers in the AFC West by the middle-to-end of the 2024 NFL season.