May 28, 2013; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) warms up before the start of organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
I saw this idea in an NFL.com article and felt like I’d put together my own All-AFC West team, and I’ll even go so far as to add a backup at each position.
The AFC West was quietly one of the better divisions in football last season after years of being one of the league’s laughing stocks.
Heck, even our own Broncos won the division with an 8-8 record in 2011.
But a lot has changed since 2011 and this division is littered with great talent from top to bottom. Here’s how I’d pick the best offense from the four teams in this division.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Broncos
This is an obvious choice. Manning is the league MVP and is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s as dominant or more dominant than he’s ever been in his career.
Backup: Philip Rivers, Chargers
Running Back: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
Charles can do it all. If he is healthy, he is among the top 3-5 backs in the NFL today. A dynamic playmaker.
Backup: Ryan Matthews, Chargers
Wide Receiver (1): Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
Dominant receiver who has size, speed, leaping ability, can make tough catches, and makes plays after the catch. Best receiver in the division by a mile.
Wide Receiver (2): Keenan Allen, Chargers
Really good rookie season with strong hands, and is a great red zone threat. Allen has huge potential this season.
Slot Receiver: Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
Sanders is a better overall receiver than Wes Welker so I’d take him in the slot on an All-star team. Welker is still a stud and would have a strong case for this spot though.
Backup WR: Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Tight End: Julius Thomas, Broncos
Thomas was the best TE in the division last year, and I project the same this year.
Backup: Antonio Gates, Chargers
Left Tackle: Ryan Clady, Broncos
Even after injury, you have to think the former All-Pro is going to be back to form as arguably the top OT in the game.
Backup OT: Eric Fisher, Chiefs
Left Guard: Jeromey Clary, Chargers
Plays RG but on this team I push him to LG because of his former Chargers teammate.
Backup OG/OT: Orlando Franklin, Broncos
Center: Stefen Wisniewski, Raiders
Talented technician and a very solid player for the Raiders, one of their best overall.
Backup: Nick Hardwick, Chargers
Right Guard: Louis Vasquez, Broncos
Dominant OG was the underrated free agent addition of the year in 2013 for the Broncos.
Right Tackle: D.J. Fluker, Chargers
Powerful OT who plays with a mean streak. Only going to get better.
From this, we can reasonably conclude that the Broncos and Chargers have the best offenses in the AFC West for this season, not that that’s something we didn’t already know. The Chiefs have some nice pieces, such as their superstar RB, and the Raiders are really lacking offensive firepower.