As we reach training camp and get closer to preseason, it’s time to take a look at the best players in each division by position. Here we will be looking at the AFC West All-Division Team. This is quite arguably the most stacked division in the entire NFL and possibly even one of the most stacked divisions of all time. As such, there will be some tough choices to be made and some players that would probably make the list in other divisions will not make it here. This article will focus on the 2022 AFC West offense.
2022 AFC West Offense: The All-Division Team
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
It says a lot about how stacked your division is when Derek Carr is the “worst” quarterback in the division. Despite the arrival of Russell Wilson and the continued rise of Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes remains the top dog in this division at quarterback. He got off to a bit of a slow start last year, but then went on a tear again and reminded us why he is among the very most talented quarterbacks in the NFL. He can still do things that no other quarterback can do.
This year on paper may bring some new challenges for him as he will have to play without Tyreek Hill now, and while Travis Kelce is still there, there isn’t a clear-cut proven WR1 besides maybe JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, he has shown he can still play at an elite level even without Hill before. If Herbert continues to improve he may possibly surpass Mahomes one day, but for now, Mahomes remains the most dangerous quarterback – not only in this division but quite possibly the most dangerous in general with not a lot of competition.
Running Back: Austin Ekeler (Los Angeles Chargers)
No running back currently in the AFC West crossed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last year. While Melvin Gordon narrowly beat out Austin Ekeler by seven yards (918 to 911 yards), he will likely be losing more carries to Javonte Williams this year – and even setting aside that, Ekeler had the most scrimmage yards out of the lot by a mile, finishing with over 1,550 yards in total from scrimmage – and finished with 20 total touchdowns.
After primarily being more of a threat at receiving back than as a runner, Ekeler has finally established himself as an all-purpose halfback – even with him still not being a bellcow. Ekeler is still in the prime of his career and should continue to be a dangerous weapon in 2022.
Wide Receiver: Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders)
Davante Adams was a huge acquisition for the Raiders, as he has been an absolute monster at wide receiver lately with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. In the last two years combined, he finished with 238 receptions, 2,900+ receiving yards, and 29 touchdowns – numbers that very few receivers can match in that time period.
While he may not get the ball essentially spammed his way by Derek Carr the way Aaron Rodgers was doing, he is still going to arguably be the toughest receiver in this division for defenders to deal with.
Wide Receiver: Mike Williams (Chargers)
While Keenan Allen may still arguably be the more talented of the two star Chargers wide receivers, in a hypothetical three-wideout lineup where Davante Adams would be the clear WR1, it makes sense to have Williams as the other outside receiver. Due to his height (6’4) and jumping ability, he is very difficult to defend when it comes to jump balls as well as in the red zone, where he caught nine touchdowns last year.
After not being used to his full potential during the Anthony Lynn era, we have seen what Williams is capable of – and he would almost certainly be WR1 on some other teams in the league. But even in a WR2 role, Williams is as good as anybody in the league at bringing down 50/50 passes and at catching contested red zone passes.
Slot Receiver: Keenan Allen (Chargers)
While Allen is more than able to play on the outside – as he has shown over the years – on a hypothetical lineup with Adams and Williams, he fits best in the slot. Over the years Allen has established himself as one of the better route runners in the league, and he also has a way of being unexpectedly good after the catch even without having elite speed or strength. He has also over the last few years become one of the best at moving the chains on third down.
Allen has finished with 100+ receptions in four of the last five years. While he may not be quite as flashy or elite as others, he has remained as dependable as anybody in the league as a WR1. On the Chargers, Allen and Williams complement each other quite well with their different abilities; that remains the case here as well.
Tight End: Travis Kelce (Chiefs)
It’s tough to leave Darren Waller off this list, but Travis Kelce remains the top tight end in the AFC West – and the AFC in general. He’s been dominant with the Chiefs for years, even before Patrick Mahomes arrived – which has only helped his stats get even better. Now he could be set for even more of a workhorse season, given that Tyreek Hill is now gone – making Kelce pretty easily the top target for Mahomes now. With 20 touchdown catches over the last two seasons, he remains among the elite tight ends in this league.
Left Tackle: Rashawn Slater (Chargers)
Very few rookie offensive linemen can do as well in their rookie season as Rashawn Slater did. He finished with going Second-Team All-Pro, started all 17 games, and managed to become one of the better left tackles in the league in just one year as he held his own against the likes of Chase Young, Maxx Crosby, and Micah Parsons (just to name a few). After years of searching the Chargers finally got the blindside protector they needed – and just in time for Herbert’s second year. He should continue to be a force to be reckoned with going forward.
Left Guard: Joe Thuney (Chiefs)
Thuney signed a big five-year deal with the Chiefs in 2021, and he lived up to it in his first season with them, finishing with an 80.5 grade with PFF. Thuney has been one of the more reliable linemen of the last several years, having never missed a game since coming into the league in 2016; he has an All-Pro nod to his name as well from 2019.
Center: Corey Linsley (Chargers)
Linsley has been a great center for years, but he hit his stride the last two years and went All-Pro in both of them. Despite that, the Green Bay Packers let him walk in 2020 and he signed with the Chargers, and now the Chargers have one of the best centers in the league. With a five-year deal under his belt as well, this is another All-Pro lineman that will not be leaving the West any time soon.
Right Guard: Graham Glasgow (Denver Broncos)
Unlike some of the other offensive line positions, there is little proven talent at right guard in the West. Trey Smith had a solid rookie season for the Chiefs but still has some progression to make. Graham Glasgow had an injury-shortened season but has varied from serviceable to solid in the past. This may sound like relatively low praise, but that’s about the highest praise we can give for anyone in the West right now at right guard.
Right Tackle: Billy Turner (Broncos)
The same could be said for the right tackle position – the right side of the line simply does not have many high-end end players in the West. Billy Turner is a serviceable and average starter at right tackle but is still easily the most proven option here. Everyone else is either in a competition or had a non-remarkable rookie season. Hopefully, in the next year or two, we will have some more proven high-end talent on the right side of the line in the AFC West.
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