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Around the AFC West: New faces in new places

Let’s take a look at all the new players in Kansas City’s division.

Denver Broncos Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

With the first full week of July coming to a close, teams report for training camp in just two and a half weeks. Let’s take a spin around the Kansas City Chiefs’ opponents in the AFC West, looking at potential storylines for the upcoming season.

Denver Broncos

Do the Broncos finally have a quarterback in Russell Wilson?

We all knew Wilson was going to be traded this past offseason. We just didn’t know where he would land. When it finally happened, Broncos Country was excited because they haven’t had an elite quarterback since Peyton Manning retired.

Since then, Denver quarterbacks have included Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, Brandon Allen, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien, wide receiver Kendall Hinton and Teddy Bridgewater.

Russell Wilson is better than all of those quarterbacks combined. I believe the Broncos finally have a gunslinger who will keep games close, making the upcoming division race an exciting one.

Las Vegas Raiders

Will best friends Derek Carr and Devante Adams shine in Las Vegas?

This is interesting because we know Carr’s ceiling and Adams’ talent. The last time Carr was excited about having a dynamic wide receiver, it was Antonio Brown — and we all know how that ended. They have a connection, too: they know each other well, having been friends since their college days at Fresno State University.

If we see early signs of what they looked like in college, this should be a fun season to watch. At Fresno State in 2013, Carr threw 50 touchdown passes, with Adams bringing in 24 of them. Picking either Adams or Carr early in your fantasy football drafts could be a no-brainer.

But even though the Raiders have now secured Carr and Adams for at least four more seasons, we’re just going to have to see how well Carr holds up in the pocket behind the Raiders’ lackluster offensive line.

Los Angeles Chargers

Can the Chargers stay healthy for an entire season?

With some questionable play-calling that kept a relatively healthy team out of the playoffs last year, I am curious to see if the Chargers can stay healthy enough to make the postseason in 2022.

Pairing the newly-acquired Khalil Mack with Joey Bosa will create a lethal edge-rushing duo in Los Angeles. But will they play together for a full season? Bosa has tended to miss significant time in alternating seasons. Even in his rookie year (when he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year), he only played 12 games. Bosa did play a full season in 2021, so he could be due to miss time this year. Meanwhile, Mack’s numbers have declined; it did not help that he only played seven games last year.

Defensive backs Derwin James and Nasir Adderley were also a few games short of a full season in 2021, which means they are going in the right direction. The addition of J.C. Jackson and Kyle Van Noy have also helped the Chargers’ defense.

If the unit can stay fully healthy, it will be the division’s best defense.

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