NFL Preview: AFC West

Denver Broncos

After starting last season 6-0, Denver failed to reach the playoffs.  The pressure is now on Josh McDaniels to win in his second year.  Since arriving in Denver he has dealt Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.  Many people questioned the draft pick of Demaryius Thomas in the first round.  However, he should fit in well with the system they run.  Obviously, there is going to be a lot of attention surrounding Tim Tebow, who currently sits at third on the depth chart.  Veteran Jamal Williams comes in from San Diego to help anchor the defensive line.  Elvis Dumervil is one of the premiere pass rushers in the league.  While Champ Bailey isn’t getting any younger, he is still one of the best shutdown corners in the game.  Perhaps the biggest question facing the Broncos will be how to involve Tim Tebow in the offensive scheme.

Look for Tim Tebow to be used in a number of ways for Denver

Kansas City Chiefs

This is one team that I am optimistic about.  Matt Cassell should have a better second season in Kansas City.  I’m in love, literally cannot get enough of the tailback duo of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.  Charles should have a breakout year this coming season.  Big-play rookie Dexter McCluster should be a wild-card in the offense and provide a spark.  The receivers are ok, not great, with Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers.  The defense, which finished 30th overall last season is immediately better with the addition of Eric Berry.  Compared to Ed Reed, the sky is the limit for Berry to be a super-star in the NFL.  Glenn Dorsey has made little impact his first two seasons in the league, but has plenty of potential.  The combo of Demorrio Williams and Derrick Johnson at linebacker is and underrated one.

Oakland Raiders

The best offensive move Al Davis has made in years was snagging Jason Campbell.  Top ten pick Darrius Heyward-Bey caught just nine balls last year.  He wasn’t even the best rookie receiver on his team, that honor went to Louis Murphy out of Florida.  Darren McFadden has yet to live up to the hype he received coming out of college.  Oakland obviously needs a lot of help offensively, after finishing second to last a year ago.  The foundation on defense isn’t bad.  Rolando McClain will be a future stud in the league at linebacker.  Over the past few years, big time SEC linebackers have fared well in the NFL (Patrick Willis, Demeco Ryans, Jerod Mayo).  Nmamdi Asomugha is one of the best corners in the game.  Kamerion Wimbley should instantly help the run defense which was poor a year ago.  Rookie Jacoby Ford has blazing speed and should be a factor in the offense as well as the return game.

San Diego Chargers

Outside of New Orleans, this may be the most dynamic offense in the league.  Rookie Ryan Matthews will more than replace the void left by LaDainian Tomlinson.  Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson are big and fast wide receivers.  Marcus McNeill is one of the better left tackles in the game.  While Eli Manning has a Super Bowl ring, Philip Rivers appears to be the better quarterback of that draft class.  Antonio Gates is the best tight end in the game.  The defense struggled at times last season against the run.  There is a ton of depth at linebacker with Shawn Merriman, Brandon Siler, Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett, etc.  The secondary should be better as some of its young players continue to develop.

Overall analysis

In all honesty San Diego has the most talent in this division.  While I like some of the moves in the off-season by Kansas City and Oakland, they still lack the players to compete with San Diego.  I’m still not sold on Kyle Orton as the Denver quarterback.

The Pick: San Diego

One Response to NFL Preview: AFC West

  1. Pingback: NFL midseason thoughts « The Sports Beat by Robinson Gurney

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