NFL Training Camp Primer: AFC West
Kansas City is the favorite, but the Broncos will give them a run for their money in 2020.
Findbet continues our tour of NFL training camps as we approach the start of the NFL season. Let's take a look at the headlines coming out of the AFC West and make our record predictions for 2020.
Mecole Hardman impressed as a rookie in 2019.Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Just when you think the Chiefs couldn't get any more dangerous, they go out and select one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL Draft in Clyde Edwards-Heliare from LSU. The Chiefs were able to bring back Sammy Watkins to pair with Tyreek Hill and emerging star Mecole Hardman. They also signed Patrick Mahomes to a 10(!) year contract extension valued at over $500 million. Head Coach Andy Reid and General Manager Brett Veach were both given contract extensions after the Chiefs' Super Bowl season, and they didn't stop there. They re-upped their star defensive tackle, Chris Jones, to a contract extension as well. Not much changed on this roster compared to last year, and not much needed to as the Super Bowl champs look primed to repeat with one of the most dangerous and exciting offenses in the NFL.
Prediction: 13-3 (Division Champ)
Von Miller and the Denver defense will be the foundation of Denver's success in 2020.USA Today
Denver feels like they just scratched the surface of what they are capable of at the end of 2019. Second rounder Drew Lock didn't look overwhelmed stepping into the starting role as a rookie, and was one of the big reasons wide receiver Courtland Sutton had a career year. The Broncos then went and added more weapons around Lock in Melvin Gordon III, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. They also have one of the most exciting young TEs in the league in Noah Fant. Defensively, the added Jurrel Casey to an already formidable defensive line and look to continue their stellar play from 2019. Denver's season hinges on Drew Lock's development. If he can take the next step, no one will want to see this team on their schedule, especially late in the year.
The Raiders make their Las Vegas debut in 2020USA Today
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders make the big move from Oakland to their brand new stadium in Las Vegas for 2020. Las Vegas is known for its bright lights and flair, and the Raiders look to take on that persona in 2020. They added the fastest wide receiver in the draft in Henry Ruggs III as well as NFL ready Bryan Edwards from South Carolina. They have a bona fide star running back in Josh Jacobs as well as gadget RB Lynn Bowden Jr. Defensively, the Raiders need to take a step forward this year if they want to have any chance at competing for a playoff spot. They traded away Gareon Conley to Houston for a third round pick during the season last year and drafted controversial Ohio State CB Damon Arnette at 19 in the 2020 draft. Celin Farrell, the 4th overall pick in 2019 had a rough year acclimating to NFL Offensive lineman and looks to make a jump this year. Overall, if the Raiders defense doesn't take a step forward this year, it will hold them back from a winning record and a playoff spot.
Tyrod Taylor is just a placeholder until Justin Herbert is ready.Alex Gallardo / Associated Press
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers moved on from longtime starting quarterback Philip Rivers this off season and handed the keys to their offense to journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor. The Chargers did draft Justin Herbert in the 1st round of the 2020 draft, but he is considered a raw prospect and needs some time to adjust to the NFL before being thrown into the mix. They also moved on from Melvin Gordon and signed Austin Ekeler to a contract extension in the off season. He comes into 2020 as the starter after he was borderline elite filling in for Gordon at the beginning of 2019. The Chargers offense will mostly go through their run game. Even with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at receiver, Taylor and Herbert don't inspire much confidence in producing a viable passing game. Derwin James tore his miniscus in his knee and will be out for the year, a massive blow to Gus Bradley's defense and for a unit that was going to be relied on to take some pressure off an offense in transition. The Chargers are headed for a rough transition year, but if Herbert can make some strides in mop up time during his rookie year, the future looks bright for this rebuild.
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