The start of the NFL regular season is just over a month away and the preseason is just around the corner. We’ve gone through seven of the eight divisions in the league to discuss what they need to be more complete teams. Today we go over the final division, the AFC West. The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers all showed last year that they all have significant holes to fill. Some helped themselves significantly, doing that with their picks in the 2015 NFL draft. So without further ado, let’s get to the remaining AFC West Team Needs.
Denver Broncos – Anytime you have Peyton Manning, he will help you glaze over the needs of the overall team, but when it comes to playoff time, Manning has not been able to carry the team on his 39 year old back. If the Broncos want to win, or even get back to, a Superbowl, they have to fill a couple spots. One of their big holes was at OT. They went with Shane Ray in round one, but filled their OT need with 2nd round pick Ty Sambrailo. However, there are still two needs that they needed to address:
Nose Tackle – They lost their big run stuffer, Terrance Knighton, in the offseason. They drafted NT Darius Kilgo in the 6th round and are going to go with Sylvester Williams, but I think it’s an important part of their defense and it needs a better upgrade. They need a space eater.
Inside Linebacker – It’s not a high priority right now, but they need someone a 2nd ILB to go with Brandon Marshall because Danny Trevathan is not good enough in my opinion.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs, despite being in the playoffs or playoff contention the last two years, had a lot of holes on their roster. The Chiefs did well for themselves filling needs at CB, C, WR, and ILB with their picks of CB Marcus Peters in round one, OL Mitch Morse in round two, WR Chris Conley in round three, and ILB Ramik Wilson in round four. They still have two spots that they need to fill, either internally or externally:
Offensive Tackle – Eric Fisher wasn’t great last year and would probably be better suited as a RT, but currently he is forced to be the LT because they don’t have anyone else really that good on the team.
Defensive End – They have Allen Bailey on one side, but they need to upgrade on the other side where currently Mike DeVito is slated to start.
Oakland Raiders – The Raiders seem to be starting to get it right. After drafting Derek Carr last year, they gave him the best WR in the draft in Amari Cooper with the 4th overall pick of this year’s draft. They then followed that up but giving him another weapon in TE Clive Walford in round three and OG Jon Feliciano in round four. Their 2nd round pick, DE Mario Edwards Jr, should be able to start opposite Justin Tuck. As I said with the previous two teams mentioned above, they Raiders have two more team needs they still need to address:
Offensive Tackle – Like Eric Fisher, Donald Penn is a solid OT, but would be better suited for RT, but just like with the Chiefs, the Raiders don’t have another OT that is solid enough to start alongside him.
Defensive Tackle – The interior defensive line of the Raiders is really a problem. Dan Williams and Justin Ellis look the part to be a monster DT duo, but both seem to be more of a NT than a 4-3 DT.
San Diego Chargers – To be fair, the Chargers only had five draft picks this year, but I have to say that I am not a fan of how the Chargers addressed their needs this offseason. Essentially, they did nothing. Drafting Melvin Gordon in the 1st round was great, but their entire line is horrible and they neglected that position the entire draft. Not to mention that they were a bad rush defense last year and they took no NTs. Nothing against ILB Denzel Perryman, but with Donald Butler and Manti Te’o, that position was not the spot that was needed to be taken in the 2nd round. Their team needs are the following:
Offensive Tackle – DJ Fluker is actually not bad, but he should be playing OG, but since their only good tackle is King Dunlap, Fluker moves to RT and then RG becomes an issue.
Center – With Nick Harwick gone, they Chargers have some serious interior line issues. I already mentioned RG and RT, so this is just icing on the cake. Good luck running up the middle Melvin Gordon.
Nose Tackle – Currently Sean Lissemore is expected to start at NT for San Diego. That is not a good thing to say the least. Expect a repeat performance of last year.
Besides the Chargers, I think the rest of the teams in the AFC West all did solid jobs towards trying to round out their teams. It’s a division that as Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers gets another year older, while Derek Carr gets another year of experience, they standings may start to tighten up from top to bottom. To add to all of that, is Alex Smith the man who will bring the Chiefs to their ultimate goal of a Superbowl? There’s only one way to find out and it should be a fun year looking to find out in the always changing AFC West.
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