Last week, we started to unveil our preseason All-Division teams. They were compiled largely by a panel of one, though there was significant input from the writing and editorial staff at after I took an initial run at the rosters on my own. 

We began last week with the NFC, going through each of the NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, and NFC West. This week, it’s on to the AFC. We’ve already gone through the AFC East, AFC North, and AFC South. We complete the exercise today with the AFC West.  

Offensive skill positions

QB: Patrick Mahomes (KC)

RB: Josh Jacobs (LV), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC)

WR: Tyreek Hill (KC), Keenan Allen (LAC), Courtland Sutton (DEN)

TE: Travis Kelce (KC), Darren Waller (LV)

Mahomes is the best player in the league, and probably the most talented quarterback I have ever seen. Yes, already. There is no limit to what he can do, and he has an excellent infrastructure around him to ensure continued success moving forward. This spot is his unless and until somebody rises up to take it from him — which isn’t happening anytime soon. 

The Raiders don’t seem like they’re all that thrilled about giving Jacobs more work in the passing game — they’ve brought in Lynn Bowden and Theo Riddick to join Jalen Richard among their pass-catching back stable — but he had such a strong rookie season as a runner that we’re comfortable giving him a spot on this roster. Pass-game contributions are more important than those in the run game so Austin Ekeler was a candidate here, but considering he has never been a high-volume touch guy, it felt safer to go with Jacobs. Maybe those two guys will prove us wrong. Anyway, Edwards-Helaire is the only rookie to make any of the all-division teams. Is it ridiculous? Maybe, but the lead running back on Andy Reid-coached teams is always always always insanely productive, and Edwards-Helaire is a perfect fit for this Chiefs offense given his skill in open space. 

Hill is the league’s most explosive receiver, and he is attached to the best quarterback in football. He is going to put up outrageous numbers, health permitting. Allen is arguably the most consistent wide receiver in football, and even with the transition from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor, we expect him to remain so. Taylor is a very conservative passer, and should target Allen on short, quick-breaking routes from the slot quite often. Sutton had a breakout second-year campaign, and should remain Drew Lock’s No. 1 target this season. It’s possible Jerry Jeudy eventually overtakes him, but that seems unlikely in a year where there simply has not been much practice time for them to get on the same page. 

George Kittle might be the best overall tight end in the NFL due to his two-way skill as a blocker, but Kelce is damn close to him just based on the value he brings as a receiver. He is remarkably consistent, and explosive on passes over the middle. Also, he has Mahomes throwing to him. The Raiders added some new targets for Derek Carr on the outside, but Waller should remain heavily involved due to his QB’s tendency to throw shorter, more conservative passes. He also seems more likely to stay healthy than does Hunter Henry, which helps his case here. 

Offensive line

OT: Mitchell Schwartz (KC), Bryan Bulaga (LAC)

G: Graham Glasgow (DEN), Richie Incognito (LV)

C: Rodney Hudson (LV)

Like his teammate, Mahomes, Schwartz is the best in the league at his position. He’s a fantastic pass protector working on the pass-happiest team in the league, and he keeps getting better in the run game. He’s a no-doubter for a spot on this squad. Bulaga was an excellent signing for the Chargers. Their offensive line has been an issue the past couple years, and he should help solidify the right side of the line along with Trai Turner. 

Glasgow is one of several new pieces of Denver’s offensive line, which seems sure to be a work in progress throughout the season. He has taken a step forward through each of his first four seasons, though, and should continue to establish himself as an above-average starter. Incognito, for all his various issues off the field, has remained an excellent player on it. He’s fantastic in pass protection, helping give Carr a ton of time to work through his progressions before he eventually and predictably checks down. The same is true of Hudson, though he is not quite as strong a run blocker as is Incognito. 

Defensive front

EDGE: Joey Bosa (LAC), Von Miller (DEN)

IDL: Chris Jones (KC), Linval Joseph (LAC)

LB: Cory Littleton (LV), Nick Kwiatkoski (LV), Alexander Johnson (DEN)

Bosa’s brother, Nick, already gets more hype as the better player, but Joey has been fantastic through his first four years in the league and just scored himself a monster contract extension. Working across from Melvin Ingram on the Chargers’ defensive front, he has double-digit sacks in three of his four seasons, with the lone exception being the one year he played only seven games. He is also still just 25 years old. He should only get better, following a career path similar to the one Miller has been on. Miller reached double-digit quarterback takedowns in eight of the first nine seasons of his career, with the lone exception being the one year he played only nine games. He only got to eight sacks last season, but his quarterback hits and pressure numbers remained in the same range as usual. With Bradley Chubb coming back to rush across from him, Miller should remain a top-notch producer. 

Jones deservingly got a monster deal from the Chiefs, and he is heading into his prime as one of the most productive interior linemen in the league. He is an absolute handful for offensive linemen to deal with, and creates space for edge rushers like Frank Clark and Alex Okafor to take advantage of. Joseph is getting into his mid-30s now but he remains one of the league’s premier run-stopping defensive tackles. Replacing Brandon Mebane in the middle of the Chargers defense, he should help guys like Nick Vigil, Denzel Perryman (if healthy), and rookie Kenneth Murray get clean lanes to ball-carriers. 

The Raiders made two of the best linebacker signings of the 2020 offseason by bringing in Littleton and Kwiatkoski. Littleton blossomed into one of the most important pieces of the Rams’ defense over the past few years, and his coverage abilities should help mitigate one of the Raiders’ biggest weaknesses over the past two seasons. Kwiatkoski has been a solid rotational player for the Bears, and should move into a bigger role with Las Vegas after getting paid. Johnson had a breakout second season with the Broncos, becoming a starter in Week 5 and excelling for the rest of the year. He should be in that role from the jump this season. 

Defensive backfield

CB: Chris Harris Jr. (LAC), Casey Hayward (LAC), Desmond King (LAC)

SAF: Derwin James (LAC), Tyrann Mathieu (KC)

There’s a reason we had the Chargers at No. 2 on our list of the top five cornerback trios for the 2020 season. Harris moving back inside to the slot should allow him to return to his status as one of the best corners in the league. Hayward has been at or near that level since joining the team, and King reached it in 2018 before taking a step backward last year. Still, these three guys should be incredibly tough to beat in 2020. 

James missed some time last year, and the Chargers defense missed him badly. He is one of the most versatile defensive backs in the league, though, and helps unlock everything else about their defense. If he is on the field, he will be a star. Mathieu, meanwhile, shone brightly in Kansas City last year, and should again team with Juan Thornhill (assuming he is back healthy from his ACL tear at some point) to form a strong back end of a Chiefs pass defense that will surely be busy all year as teams try to play catch-up to Mahomes and company. 


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