This is a quick follow up to my last article about the AFC West in which I attempted to rank the franchises from a historical perspective. Like before, I am trying to be fair with the Raiders and Broncos even though I feel dirty and unclean when doing so – Chiefs Kingdom forgive me. Here are my picks for the All Time AFC West Roster. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
Quarterbacks – 2
Patrick Mahomes as the starter and John Elway as the backup. No need to keep three but it would be between Len Dawson and Dan Fouts. Derek Carr on the practice squad? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. I might go with Matt Cassel over Carr on the practice squad.
Running Backs – 4
LDT is the starter and Marcus Allen as a Raider being the primary backup. Christian Okoye would be my third back as he is a different type of runner – edging out Jamaal Charles and Terrell Davis. Tony Richardson is the fullback.
Tight Ends – 4
Travis Kelce, Tony Gonzalez, and Kellen Winslow are no brainers. The last spot is between Shannon Sharpe and Antonio Gates in a very tough battle as both are legit picks. I am going to go with Gates as he adds more versatility to the group.
Wide Receivers – 6
Mecole Hardman – Okay, I will DROP that insane proposal. I have to start with Tyreek Hill and have to add Tim Brown. Lance “Bambi” Alworth would be my third choice. Otis Taylor and Fred Biletnikoff are the next two choices. There are many to choose from for the final spot and it is a hard choice but I am going to roll with Rod Smith from the Broncos. I know that there are many quality receivers left out, and I expect to receive plenty of feedback here.
Offensive Line – 9
I went with nine here so I could go with four tight ends. My starters from left to right – Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, Will Shields, and a right tackle. Grunhard is my back up center and my back up guard would be Steve Wisniewski in a close competition with Brian Waters. Back to the right tackle and back up tackle. My heart says Willie Roaf – move him to the right side – but he was an AFC West short termer. The starter is Russ Washington. He was a thirteen year starter at RT for the Chargers back in the seventies for those who are younger and do not know who he is. Every person is probably hollering Mitchell Schwartz right now but I am going to add Jim Tyrer as the back up tackle. That was a hard choice to make. My last lineman is Tom Nalen – an underated center from the Broncos. I know that I am thin on tackles but I can live with that choice.
Defensive Line – 8
I had no choice to pick that dirty SOB Ben Davidson and Howie Long from the Raiders. Buck Buchanon and Chris Jones were immediate thoughts as well. I will add Joey Bosa from the Chargers when he is healthy and reluctantly add another dirty SOB in Lyle Alzado for his days with the Raiders and Broncos. Neil Smith is my next choice which leaves one more spot. I need a DT especially one with bulk. Bill Maas gets the nod over Jamal Williams and Chester McGlockton.
Linebackers – 6
My two premier pass rushers are DT and Von Miller. Have to add Junior Seau. Ted Hendricks from the Raiders is a must addition as well. Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier bump out another Chiefs great – Derrick Johnson as well as some decent Broncos in Tom Jackson and Randy Gradishar. Some easy choices for me but lots of quality players left out.
Cornerbacks – 6
Willie Brown and Lester Hayes are automatic qualifiers for the Raiders. Champ Bailey has to be on the roster as well. Emmitt Thomas is the first Chief in. The contenders for the last two spots are all Chiefs. I will add Albert Lewis and the unsung hero – James Hasty. Several Chiefs corners could be realistic picks for the last spot. Charles Woodson is the only one with a legitimate argument for being excluded from the list – maybe Chris Harris as well.
Safeties – 4
Murderous competition. This is probably the hardest spot to decide. Every team in the division has several candidates for this position and will receive one selection. The Raider nominee is Jack Tatum. He was feared. For the Chargers, it was between Rodney Harrison and Eric Weddle. I move forward with Weddle – he always seemed to make the play when needed. The Broncos get Steve Atwater. I am still feeling the hit that he put on Okoye. For the Chiefs, I have to give the nod to Johnny Robinson.
One Last Defender – 1
Since I am not going to put a long snapper on the team, as we will find one no problem, I get to put one extra defender on the team. I might be accused of bias but I am going to go with Tyrann Mathieu – He makes this list with the assumption that he will stay with the team in the future. If I need a back up plan, I might go with Bill Romanowski. I hated the mofo but he always showed up to play some football.
Special Teams – 3
Punter – Ray Guy – Honorable Mention: Dustin Colquitt (who I put above Jerrel Wilson).
Place Kicker – Harrison Butker (surprise) – Honorable Mention: Anyone kicking at Mile High.
Kick Returner – Dante Hall – Honorable Mention: Tamarick Vanover since I already have Tyreek Hill on the roster.
Here is the breakdown for the 53 spots on the roster:
Chiefs – 24
Raiders – 14 1/2 (half for Alzado)
Broncos – 6 1/2 (half for Alzado)
Chargers – 8
Looking at the numbers, I question how fair I was during my analysis but who would you cut from the list for the sake of balance? I look forward to your critique.