Ultimate Depth Chart: AFC West
SportsCenter's Ultimate Depth Chart series will break down each NFL division over the next two weeks.
It's always a long summer in anticipation of the new NFL season, but "SportsCenter" has come up with a way to keep your attention aimed between the end zones.
|ULTIMATE DEPTH CHART|
June 11 -- AFC East: Story
June 12 -- AFC West: Story
June 13 -- AFC North: Story
June 14 -- AFC South: Story
June 15 -- AFC: Story
June 18 -- NFC East: Story
June 19 -- NFC West: Story
June 20 -- NFC North: Story
June 21 -- NFC South: Story
June 22 -- NFC: Vote
Watch "SportsCenter" and check back each day to see the expert picks as well as the results from SportsNation.
Best offense in the AFC West?
Mark Schlereth: San Diego Chargers
The Chargers will maintain their ranking as the best offensive ballclub in this division. Philip Rivers played outstanding football last season and this season he should only get better as he gets used to being the No. 1 guy. Obviously the best player on this offense and possibly in the league is LaDainian Tomlinson. He made the game much easier for Rivers and that will continue this season.
Merril Hoge: Chargers
San Diego has the best running back in the league (Tomlinson) and the best tight end (Antonio Gates). When you combine that with a quarterback like Rivers whom I've compared to Dan Marino, you have an offense that can rival any in the league in terms of execution and explosiveness.
Joe Theismann: Denver Broncos
Denver has the best offense in this division. This team is consistently able to run the ball effectively and now we get to see Mike Shanahan really start to do the things he likes to do offensively because of the presence of Jay Cutler. Shanahan is still one of the best offensive minds in the league and he is salivating at the opportunity to utilize Cutler's strengths. Get ready to see the return of consistent big plays in Denver.
Best defense in the AFC West?
It all starts on the line with the Chargers. Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo are extraordinary players. They create pressure, stop the run and simply create havoc on every snap. But as great as those two players are, this defense is still led by Shawne Merriman. He's been phenomenal ever since he came into the league. He has a constant motor and can attack from anywhere. This is a defense that is incredibly talented on every level, but will only get better as these young players continue to learn.
Williams and Merriman do an amazing job of getting to the quarterback and and they may be the two best players at their position. The Chargers have made improvements in the secondary to get better, but the key there will be Quentin Jammer. He improved last season on not using his hands as much and as a result didn't draw the defensive holding and pass interference penalties that had hurt him in the past.
Even though former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips left to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the San Diego Chargers still have some of the best defensive talent in the game. This team is ferocious and I doubt a changing of the guard in the coaching staff is going to cause this team to lose that aggressiveness. Watch for this team to easily maintain its standing as the best defense in the AFC West.
Best team in the AFC West?
The Chargers are the class of the division as they have arguably the best running back (Tomlinson), tight end (Gates), linebacker (Merriman) and nose tackle (Williams) in the game on the team. This is a team that could very well contend for a Super Bowl title if it can weather losing most of the coaching staff in the offseason.
Not only are the Chargers better than anyone in the AFC West, they are the best team in the conference. The Chargers have some question marks, but none of them is personnel related. This team is stacked on offense, defense and special teams and has a great shot to get over the hump and represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The Chargers are the best team in the division, especially with Rivers coming back a year smarter and more prepared. The Broncos will be close down the stretch, but San Diego simply has too much firepower.
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