While the draft signifies new beginnings in the NFL, it also means the end of the road for some veterans who will be replaced by the newly-selected player. Let’s take a look at one player from each AFC West team who could see his job in jeopardy this summer.
Denver Broncos: Willis McGahee, running back. The Broncos selected Montee Ball in the second round and would like him to become a primary back. They also want him to have a big role along with 2012 third-round pick Ronnie Hillman, who is more of a change of pace back. McGahee is coming off a knee injury and he is 31. While he may be in Denver’s short-term plans, I’d think this will be his final season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tony Moeaki, tight end. I’m a big Moeaki fan and I think he could be outstanding. He was terrific as a rookie in 2010 but had problems staying healthy. I think the Chiefs are open to having Moeaki in their plans, even though they drafted Travis Kelce in the third round. The NFL is a two tight end league now. While the Chiefs did sign Anthony Fasano, he is 29 and he won’t be around forever. There can be a place for Moeaki, but I also think the Chiefs’ new brass doesn’t think it can count on him. He must stay healthy and produce right away.
Oakland Raiders: Khalif Barnes, right tackle. The Raiders took offensive tackle Menelik Watson in the second round. He will likely push Barnes right away at right tackle. Barnes re-signed this offseason, but he is the type of player teams try to upgrade from. Watson has big potential and if he performs quickly, I can see him replacing Barnes early in his career.
San Diego Chargers: Jeromey Clary, right tackle. The Chargers drafted D.J. Fluker with the No. 11 pick and he will be the new right tackle. Clary will be moved to guard and he will be given a chance to fight for a job. I’m not sure what his chances are but Clary’s days as the Chargers’ right tackle are over.