ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Before the Broncos took Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby with the 31st pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, their AFC West rivals each made moves to bolster their own pass defenses, perhaps no coincidence considering the Broncos' record-setting offense last season.
The Raiders got things underway for the AFC West with the fifth overall pick, drafting pass-rushing outside linebacker Khalil Mack out of Buffalo. Head Coach Dennis Allen said the team plans to use Mack in a Von Miller-like role, a role Allen helped design when he was the Broncos' defensive coordinator in 2011, Miller's rookie year.
The Chiefs, picking 23rd overall, also chose to bolster their pass rush, adding Auburn defensive end Dee Ford to a defense that had 47 sacks last season. Nearly half of those sacks came from 2013 Pro Bowl outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, who both picked up 11.
While Oakland and Kansas City added to the front seven, San Diego strengthened its back end at No. 25 overall, grabbing TCU cornerback Jason Verrett. Verrett collected nine interceptions in three years of college, including six in 2012.
We'll see if the trend continues for Denver's rivals in the draft's final two days, but at least in the first round, all three seem to be gearing up to try to slow down Peyton Manning and Co. this season.