4 Downs: AFC West | Football Outsiders



Denver Broncos

Greatest Have to have: Cornerback

Denver has a single very good cornerback proper now: Bryce Callahan, who commenced 10 game titles with the Broncos in 2020. In a league that carries on to force defenses to play with 3 cornerbacks on the industry more frequently than not, possessing just a person superior participant at the place poses some problems. It really is no question the Broncos concluded with their worst defensive DVOA ranking since 2013.

Denver’s best three cornerbacks in 2020, aside from Callahan, have been veteran A.J. Bouye, third-round draftee Michael Ojemudia, and undrafted rookie Essang Bassey. Bouye did not appear approximately as powerful as he has in the earlier and was cut as a cap casualty on February 10. Ojemudia and Bassey each and every performed like non-1st spherical rookie corners, who have a tendency not to participate in nicely early on. Ojemudia posted a respectable accomplishment price, but allowed over 9. yards for each concentrate on, suggesting that he often bought beat for big performs down the field.

Whilst there is an argument to be made that Ojemudia showed amazing opportunity and could be much better up coming year, the Broncos still need to have a third cornerback. They have the flexibility to decide on up any kind of cornerback, looking at as Callahan is an seasoned nickel corner. Unless of course they choose to use the ninth all round select in a package to trade up for a quarterback, Denver is in a good location to use their first-spherical choose on a cornerback. At the very least just one of Patrick Surtain Jr. (Alabama), Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech), or Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) is positive to be obtainable, if not all 3.

Significant Free Brokers: Justin Simmons, S Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB/DE DeMarcus Walker, DE Shelby Harris, DL

Recognize a trend? These defensive totally free agents do not even consist of the club solutions for go-rusher Von Miller and safety Kareem Jackson, who are technically on contract but could be introduced with little to no penalty.

Simmons will pretty much undoubtedly be again. He is their ideal non-Miller player on protection and is the glue for that secondary. The depth pieces up front are where by the authentic get worried sets in. Attaochu and Walker mixed for 9.5 sacks final time, even though Harris was a good rotational piece liable for four tackles for reduction and 2.5 sacks. Perhaps replacing this a lot depth is a challenging undertaking regardless of the top quality of players.

Kansas City Chiefs

Greatest Have to have: Offensive line

This could sense like a response to the Tremendous Bowl, but it can be not. The Chiefs were lacking in essence their whole Week 1 commencing offensive line in the championship recreation it’s not honest to choose the over-all state of the offensive line off that contest. What really plagues the Chiefs is that quite a few of the gamers who have been intended to be setting up very last calendar year will be long gone.

For just one, we do not know the standing of guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. He selected to choose out of the 2020 time to perform as a health practitioner (certainly, truly) owing to COVID-19, and it really is unclear whether he ideas to do so once again. Guard Kelechi Osemele, who missed most of 2020, as properly as middle Austin Reiter have expiring contracts and would want to be re-signed. The exact same is genuine of Mike Remmers, a guard/deal with fill-in who performed correct tackle in position of an wounded Mitchell Schwartz.

Schwartz himself may also conclusion up as a cap casualty. The Chiefs are way over the future income cap and getting rid of Schwartz would help save the group just above $6 million. Still left tackle Eric Fisher is likely risk-free, but every single other place on the Chiefs offensive line is up in the air. It would not be too surprising to see the Chiefs stop up with four diverse starters in comparison to their supposed 2020 Week 1 lineup.

Key Absolutely free Brokers: Demarcus Robinson, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Daniel Sorensen, S Bashaud Breeland, CB Damien Wilson, LB Kelechi Osemele, G Austin Reiter, C

As mentioned, a ton of Kansas City’s offensive linemen are on their way out the door. Depth player Daniel Kilgore is also due for a new contract, but almost certainly will not get one particular with the Chiefs.

Kansas Town will want to do some retooling at vast receiver. With Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce nonetheless in city, the move-catching corps will however be additional than high-quality, but surely Andy Reid would like a improved No. 3 option than Mecole Hardman. It’s tricky to think about a circumstance exactly where the Chiefs can healthy either Robinson or Watkins in under the cap, so glimpse for them to remedy this in the draft.

Las Vegas Raiders

Biggest Want: Interior defensive line

Realistically, “defense at huge” is the Raiders’ most important need to have. Every single stage of the protection needs updates. There likely require to be at the very least five new starters future year. To narrow it down, while, we can pinpoint the interior defensive line as arguably the Raiders’ primary problem.

Johnathan Hankins, Las Vegas’ very best interior defensive linemen in 2020, is at present a absolutely free agent. Hankins was considerably from a celebrity, but he furnished some steadiness up front that none of his fellow inside defensive linemen could match. Maliek Collins and Kendall Vickers completed amid the worst defensive linemen in the league for each Sporting activities Facts Solutions’ whole details saved. Rotational player Maurice Hurst did not finish a lot much better. As such, holding Hankins should probably be a priority. No, he is not unique, but they have no other secure solution on the roster proper now.

If the Raiders do not intend to provide Hankins back, then they experienced better be prepared to shell out on an individual else or burn their premium draft picks on the defensive line. They probable require to do the latter anyway, but it will turn out to be imperative in the celebration that Hankins is permitted to walk.

The initial spherical will not be loaded with several stud defensive line skills this year, but Working day 2 could offer some of the answers the Raiders are seeking for. Gamers these as Jay Tufele (USC), Daviyon Dixon (Iowa), and Tommy Togiai (Ohio Point out) could be some Day 2 alternatives for the Raiders to find some starters up entrance.

Key Absolutely free Agents: Nelson Agholor, WR Denzelle Very good, OL Johnathan Hankins, DL Nicholas Morrow, LB Zay Jones, WR Nevin Lawson, CB

Couple of of the Raiders’ likely losses are important players, but there are a variety of first rate contributors who could be on their way out. Offensive lineman Denzelle Very good, for illustration, was incredibly pretty powerful as a starter final season and would be awesome to have back. The exact goes for Hankins as a strong defensive line piece. Vast receiver Nelson Agholor also arrived on powerful in his 1st time with the Raiders, reviving his job right after a turbulent stint with the Eagles. Though the Raiders do have Henry Ruggs, Agholor would be terrific to keep as a discipline-stretcher.

Los Angeles Chargers

Greatest Need: Offensive line

The additional things transform, the a lot more they remain the exact same. While it is really no more time Philip Rivers quarterbacking for the Bolts, the offensive line is continue to a substantial issue. The Chargers concluded 31st in ESPN’s move-block earn level (47%) in 2020 and have been 1 of just two groups to finish below 50%. Only the New York Giants sat underneath them. With some contracts in dilemma this offseason, an now lousy offensive line could get even worse.

Center Mike Pouncey will be a verified departure. Pouncey, alongside with twin brother Maurkice, retired this offseason. Pouncey did not play in 2020, but it truly is however noteworthy that he will be gone. Having said that, his substitute at centre in 2020, Dan Feeney, is thanks for a new agreement. Guard Forrest Lamp is also established for a new deal, as the two he and Feeney were drafted in the exact 2017 class. Deal with Sam Tevi’s deal is also up, but for the sake of Justin Herbert, they ought not bring him back.

The rest of the Chargers offensive line proper now is built up of tackle Bryan Bulaga, guard Trai Turner, and backup tackle Trey Pipkins. Pipkins was a catastrophe in his handful of commences, but possibly that is to be envisioned of a backup on an previously weak line. The other two, Bulaga and Turner, have been quality blockers in the 10 or so video games every obtained to perform when healthful.

Important Cost-free Brokers: Melvin Ingram, OLB Hunter Henry, TE Denzel Perryman, LB Michael Davis, CB Forrest Lamp, OL Dan Feeney, OL

Outdoors linebacker Melvin Ingram ought to be the top precedence as much as bringing gamers back again. However he is coming off a knee damage that kept him out for most of 2020, Ingram is an elite No. 2 pass-rusher to Joey Bosa. A defensive head coach these types of as Brandon Staley possibly wants a dude like that to stick all around. The other notable no cost agent is limited end Hunter Henry, although it can be feasible the Chargers ride with the much less expensive, probable-laden option in Donald Parham rather than re-signal Henry.

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