Best of the West: AFC West Offensive Position Rankings

The AFC West is often a forgotten division. The national media has shown a preference for east coast teams, but this year will be different. The AFC West is teeming with talent and will be awfully difficult for the media to ignore.

The AFC West is packed full of top-end talent on both sides of the ball. This division accounted for seven of the twenty-eight all-pros from 2018 - the most of any division in the league. It also has the reigning NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes. The national media simply will not be able to look the other way as some of the best football the NFL has to offer is being played in the AFC West.

This can make sizing up the position groups in the division a difficult task. Each fanbase could try to make an argument for their guys being the best in several positions. So, let's start off on the offensive side of the ball and rank each position group in the division.

Quarterbacks

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Winning the NFL MVP a year ago, makes Pat Mahomes the obvious choice for the top quarterback in the AFC West.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

When you have the reigning NFL MVP on your side, there's not a lot of choices. Patrick Mahomes had one of the best seasons a quarterback in the NFL has ever had. Until he shows something different, Kansas City earns the top spot.

2. Los Angeles Chargers

This is an easy one. The gap between Philip Rivers and Derek Carr is a wide one. Rivers is perhaps a top five quarterback, and no one else in the division comes close. Rivers will be looking to cement his legacy as a Hall of Fame quarterback this season.

3. Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr began his career in promising fashion, but he never made the jump that many thought he would. Now, he seems to have doubters even at the top of the Raiders organization - leaving many to wonder how much time he has left as the Raider's signal caller.

4. Denver Broncos

The Broncos seem to be perpetually in a state of searching for a quarterback since the retirement of Peyton Manning. Joe Flacco will be the third quarterback to start week 1 in the four years since Manning played his last game. There is a reason Flacco was available to the Broncos - his average passer rating ranking over the past 5 years is 25th. I wouldn't be surprised if next year there is, once again, a new quarterback under center to start the season for the Broncos.

Wide Receivers

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Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are the most talented tandem of wide receivers in the AFC West. Travis Benjamin makes the unit a triple-threat and puts the Chargers atop the list for AFC West receivers.

1. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams is amongst the best in the NFL. Keenan Allen is one of the games best route-runners, and Mike Williams will prove to be one of the best red zone targets in the game. Travis Benjamin adds some YAC ability to this top-heavy unit.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

This is assuming the suspension to Tyreke Hill will not be an overly significant one. Without him, the Chiefs lack a headliner in the receiver room. With him, they sport one of the fastest, most talented units in the league. Hill, Sammy Watkins, and, recently drafted, Mecole Hardman will prove to be tough for even the most athletic defensive backfields to handle.

3. Oakland Raiders

It felt weird to rank a wide receiver unit that has Antonio Brown as the front man third in the division, but that's merely a reflection of how talented the AFC West is. It's also due to how thin the Raiders are at receiver. Outside of Brown, Oakland has ex-Charger Tyrell Williams and a slew of others who will be vying for playing time.

4. Denver Broncos

The Broncos currently lack the marquee talent at the top of the depth chart that the others in the division possess, but that could change if Courtland Sutton takes a big step forward in his second year.

Running Backs

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Assuming Melvin Gordon is a Charger this season, the combination of him and Ekeler is the best the AFC West has to offer at the running back position.

1. Los Angeles Chargers

This one, of course, comes with the big caveat that is Melvin Gordon's potential holdout/trade. If Gordon plays for the Chargers this season, this is an easy choice. Gordon is among the top 6-10 backs in the game and Ekeler is a do-it-all role player. The Chargers also have solid depth behind those two with Jackson and Newsome both showing signs of being very capable.

2. Denver Broncos

Phillip Lindsay burst on the scene in 2018 as one of the league's best all-purpose backs. He finished second in the league in yards per carry while also proving to be very capable as a receiver. In addition to Lindsay, the Broncos also have fellow second year player, Royce Freeman, as well as veteran Devontae Booker.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

After Kareem Hunt was released from the team last year after a video showing him attacking a female acquaintance surfaced, it looked like the once-feared Chief running game was going to take a serious hit. Damien Williams stepped right in and quieted all that down. Williams average 5.1 yards per carry and 7.0 yards per catch. Now, the starter, I expect Williams to do some pretty big things. 

4. Oakland Raiders

With Doug Martin as their slated starter, the Raiders were forced to address running back with one of their first round picks this year. They used that pick on Alabama running back, Josh Jacobs. While I think Jacobs will be a productive runner, he lacks some of the explosiveness that other teams in the division have with their lead backs. Jalen Richard has big-play ability, but Jacobs will likely dominate the touches.

Tight End

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Travis Kelce has become perhaps the league's best tight end - making him an easy choice for the top one in the AFC West.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

There is likely no tight end in football that could claim to top Travis Kelce. He has made the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons, and was an all-pro in two of the last three.

2. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers no longer have future Hall of Famer, Antonio Gates, at the top of the depth chart, but they still have a highly talented tight end in Hunter Henry. The Chargers desperately missed Henry last season after he went down to injury. He should factor in to be a huge asset for Philip Rivers and this offense in 2019.

3. Denver Broncos

Noah Fant is a wild card in this group. If he hits the ground running, the Broncos could creep into number two. Fant is an ultra-talented all-around tight-end that should make that a position of strength for the Broncos for years to come. Jeff Heuerman is also a solid player and will provide great depth behind Fant.

4. Oakland Raiders

I wouldn't sleep on Darren Waller. There is a reason the Raiders waited until the fourth round to take a tight end (Foster Moreau). Waller and Luke Wilson will both get snaps as the Raiders pass-catching tight ends, but they offer very little as blockers. That's where the rookie, Moreau, should be able to pick up the slack. The lack of an all-around tight end hurts the Raiders in these rankings, but there is some talent there.

Offensive Line

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The Kansas City Chief's offensive line boasts one of the best right tackles in the NFL in Mitchell Schwartz. Outside of Schwartz, there isn't a whole lot special about this line, but also not much that is weak.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

This was a close one between the Chiefs and Broncos. The Chiefs earn the top spot because they have fewer question marks along their line. Mitchell Schwartz is an all-pro who anchors this unit. Besides him, this group is pretty underwhelming, but they are also solid throughout.

2. Denver Broncos

The Broncos could easily prove me wrong and end up being one of the best lines in the game. They have that much potential. It would, however, require big turnarounds from Leary, McGovern, and Bolles. They all struggled through stretches last season. The addition of Ja'Wuan James helps.

3. Oakland Raiders

The Raider's o-line is another unit that has enough potential to surprise this season. After Kolton Miller's nightmarish rookie season, he has nowhere to go but up. The team also invested heavily in Trent Brown, and are looking for another solid season from Rodney Hudson. Overall, this is a below average unit with their collective arrow pointed up.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

This one wasn't close. The Chargers easily come in last in the AFC West in this category. The lone bright spot for the Chargers would be Forest Lamp. If he wins a starting job, there is at least some hope that this group can improve upon their dismal 2018.

Conclusion

Well there you have it. The offensive position rankings for the AFC West are dominated by the Chiefs and Chargers. That is probably not a surprise to anyone. Feel free to share your thoughts on how you would rank the top offensive units from the AFC West in the comment section below.

Comments (9)
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KenLambert
KenLambert

Your AFC west offensive rankings reflect the obvious. The division will be decided by either KC or LA.

Alexmeza222
Alexmeza222

Hill and Watkins over AB and Williams ???? Keenan Allen can’t ever stay healthy and Mike Williams hasn’t proved himself over Tyrell..... Raiders WR core is definitely top of the list

Daniellenuhfer
Daniellenuhfer

Where would you have the Chargers’ running backs if Gordon doesn’t play?



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