Today, the AFC West is going to be playing for the same team for once. While still going head to head against divisional foes, the ultimate outcome will be to create the all AFC West team this year based on 2017 statistics and performances. From QB’s all the way to coaching each major designation will be examined against one another to create the ultimate AFC West team for 2018.
The All AFC West Team
Phillip Rivers is the All AFC West QB this year for two reasons. His production for the entirety of his career is Hall of Fame level consideration statistically, and his consistency year in and year out puts him above Derek Carr.
The Wide Receiver corps was a difficult one to choose this year. Keenan Allen is probably the most talented wide receiver out of the entire bunch but has injury issues.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are extremely talented wide receivers hampered by poor QB play the last two years, so their statistics don’t necessarily translate to their actual talent recently.
KC certainly upgraded with Sammy Watkins this year but still looks to be more of a threat via their TE and RB duo, and Oakland upgraded with Jordy Nelson but Amari Cooper has some of the worst drop percentage numbers in the league.
In the end, the nod goes to Oakland in that they get a receiver in which Aaron Rodgers was furious with his organization for not re-signing Nelson coupled with Amari Cooper always being a threat even when coverage is on him. Jordy should open up the deep threat for Carr, and Amari is a big bodied receiver who can go up and win a 1 on 1 battle more times than not. Not to mention, the Raiders added Martavis Bryant as well, who can blow the top off when on the field.
The TE position goes to KC. Travis Kelce is a matchup nightmare and is difficult to scheme against. He chips well, blocks fine, and is always a red zone threat. Too fast for LB’s and too strong DB’s, Kelce is someone that can get you a touchdown even when he is double covered.
The Chargers shockingly had a solid line for what is the premier pass rush division in the league. Going against Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Justin Houston six times a season does not bode well for any line or QB. Despite the pass rush talent in the AFC West, the Chargers only allowed 154 pressures on the season which was good enough for 5th overall in the NFL.
KC’s running back corps is the best in the AFCW bar none. They have absolutely hit it out of the park these last few drafts with Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware. If this corps stays together for a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start to draw Thunder and Lightning comparisons in the future.
The secondary is tough to choose due to so many unknowns this year compared to last. Denver’s secondary, while not quite the no fly zone anymore, still has the ability to channel their inner no fly zone. Chris Harris Jr. is a criminally underrated CB year in and year out, and Bradley Roby has the talent to be a CB1 but has never had the opportunity to actually match up and prove it for 16 games straight. The Broncos also added Tramaine Brock in free agency, who is very serviceable and has been reps with the 1’s in training camp. In the end, Chris Harris Jr. is enough of a trump card over all other DB’s in the AFC West to make this decision go to Denver.
By far the hardest to choose only because each team has a very valid case to be the selected group this year. In the end, this decision goes to Denver because Von Miller is the premier pass rushing LB in the league. It is certainly a tossup between Denver and Oakland but for argument’s sake, Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin are going to be considered a part of the D-Line and not LB’s as that is their designation on the depth chart.
Much like the LB decision, the D-Line decision was just as difficult to choose. In the end, the Raiders get the nod primarily driven from having Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin designated as LE and RE in the Raiders base 4-3 scheme.
Broncos Kicker and Punter
It helps when you are able to kick at altitude eight games out of the year. McManus has the leg and has had enough success to argue that his lack of production last year was an outlier, not a trend down. What tips this in Denver’s favor is the offseason signing of Marquette King. King has an absolute monster of a leg, and kicking in altitude this year will probably draw Pro Bowl votes, as King should expect his 47.4 average to go up.
Kansas City Chiefs
Many young and new coaches these past few years makes this an easy decision. KC’s coaching staff is the pick this year as Andy Reid, while continuing his trend of struggling in the playoffs, is still getting his team into the playoffs, and first round bye’s year in and year out. There is a reason why this team keeps losing their coordinators to other teams.