In last week’s article, the AFC West was highlighted as a division that would need work going into the 2018 season. Each team has needs at each position, some more than the others. This week needs at quarterback, receiver, and running back are highlighted.
Plenty of attention will surround the Denver Broncos this offseason regarding options at QB. But with that said, the other AFC West teams could be looking into their depth at the position.
Denver, of course, is set up with the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft and it seems that selecting a QB with that pick is a lock. Rumors and projections have put the team going after USC’s Sam Darnold or possibly Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Both players have shown the upside, but the Broncos need to select wisely. With Darnold, they could have a strong arm, although he did turn over the ball plenty. With Mayfield, the team could get some attitude and consistency, but arm strength is a bit in question.
“If John Elway asks you to be on [his] team, you don’t say no.” – @baker_mayfield6
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 24, 2018
The Broncos could also surprise the league and go after a well-established veteran if there are any available at the right price.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes II in last years’ draft and could move on to him as the starter for the 2018 season. That leaves question surrounding Alex Smith and his future with the team. He could be used as trade bait and end up with another team. But he could end up staying for another season while the Chiefs groom Mahomes into the QB of the future.
Whatever the case may be, K.C. could look into another QB, but the next few month will be telling as to what they may do.
The Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers clearly feel comfortable with their starters, but depth will still be concerns for these two teams. Derek Carr looked fragile and off his game at some points of this season, but with Gruden in place, this could be a budding relationship in the works. Oakland has an able backup, but they should be on the lookout for an upgrade.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) January 18, 2018
The Chargers, on the other hand, need to find a QB that will be their ‘guy’ soon. Philip Rivers, although still one of the best in the league, isn’t getting any younger. He’s even started talking about life after football in recent years. So Los Angeles is clearly in need of a possible replacement in the next two seasons.
At the running back position, every AFC West team could use another back or two to add depth. The least likely to do so will be the Chiefs considering who they have. After the untimely injury to Spencer Ware, rookie Kareem Hunt exploded onto the scene and became an instant sensation for Kansas City.
“It’s a great feeling, being here with the best of the best.”
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 25, 2018
The Chargers have arguably one of the best runners on their team in Melvin Gordon. But they could use more talent after him. Austin Ekeler has shown some flashes of what he can develop into, but Los Angeles could use another back although all of their RB’s are under 25 with the exception of Branden Oliver.
Oakland should definitely look for another back seeing as they only have three on their current roster. Also, Marshawn Lynch is currently 31 years old and with his style of play, it makes one wonder how much he has left in the tank. Finally, the Raiders finished 25th in rushing offense which should speak volumes to adding a player in the backfield.
Lastly, the Broncos will need to evaluate what they are doing in the backfield. C.J. Anderson and company were able to rank 12th overall in rushing, but some questions linger. Anderson has had some knee issues in recent years but remained solid in 2017. But he is near the end of his contract and passed him, there is not a clear front-runner for the top back for this fragile offense. Denver could use another back but may hold off to test what they got and strengthen other areas of the team.
The Chargers finished the 2017 season as the top rank pass offense with the Chiefs not too far behind at 7th overall. The Raiders finished 16th and the Broncos finished 20th.
It can be said that the Broncos could have finished a lot higher if they had stability at the QB position throughout the season, and the Raiders could have done better without Carr injury earlier in the season.
Surprisingly the AFC West has a good group of receivers. But don’t count them out to make a few moves during the offseason. This can be said especially in Denver and Oakland where some of their players are either inconsistent or aging. Although both of these teams have a good 1 and 2 at the position, some would say the hat there is a lack of depth.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) January 24, 2018
Los Angeles is probably in the best position with the resurgence of the injury-plagued Keenan Allen along with Mike Williams. Kansas City also is in good shape because their group is young and features speedster Tyreek Hill. But don’t be surprised if either team looks at a receiver in the middle rounds of the draft or through free agency.
Next week, the offensive line and tight end needs will be addressed for all AFC West teams.