Today's question: Taking quarterbacks out of the equation, rank one through four the AFC West teams in terms of offensive skill players (running backs, wide receivers, tight ends) with a sentence or two of explanation on each team.
Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos reporter: 1. Broncos. It doesn’t matter who ends up being the quarterback, the Broncos have the only starting set of wide receivers -- Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas -- in the division who have each had at least one 100-catch season and been named to the Pro Bowl in the last two years. Running back C.J. Anderson also has been to a Pro Bowl and proven himself in the biggest of big-game moments. 2. Chiefs. This hinges on Jamaal Charles’ return to full speed and his ability to stay in the lineup. If Charles is at his best, the Chiefs have the potential for the division’s best "triplets" with Charles, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce. Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West give the Chiefs some quality depth in the backfield. 3. Raiders. If we were ranking potential of what might come in seasons down the road, this might look differently with quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper and tight end Clive Walford. Latavius Murray was also a 1,000-yard rusher in 2015 (1,066 yards). 4. Chargers. Philip Rivers leads the way here, coming off a 4,792-yard passing season in 2015, but take him out of this equation and wide receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Antonio Gates, even at 36 years old, are the primary targets in the passing game. Should Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead provide a little more in the running game, they’ll move the ball. But they still look thin on the depth chart.
Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: 1. Broncos: Hard to go against the champs, even if their Lombardi Trophy was claimed on the strength of their defense. But with two 1,000-yard receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, a pair of running backs with 12 combined rushing TDs and a rehabbing pass-catching tight end in Jeff Heuerman, well, there it is. Even if the two QBs who generated that offense are now gone. Still, we were told to remove QBs from the equation. 2. Raiders: Crazy, right? Alas, Amari Cooper averaged 14.9 yards per catch in going for 1,070 receiving yards as a rookie while Michael Crabtree had nine receiving TDs and 922 receiving yards. Running back Latavius Murray went to the Pro Bowl with 1,066 rushing yards and six TDs while tight end Mychal Rivera averaged 8.8 yards per catch. And fullback Marcel Reece, a converted college receiver, remains a matchup nightmare. The future is bright in Oakland. 3. Chiefs: Jeremy Maclin proved to be much more than a one-dimensional burner, as evidenced by his 1,088 receiving yards and eight TD catches, while tight end Travis Kelce caught 72 balls for 875 yards and five TDs. The Chiefs might be as high as No. 1 in the division, but the question remains as to whether RB Jamaal Charles can regain his form after tearing his ACL in Week 5 last season. 4. Chargers: The Bolts have gotten old -- paging tight end Antonio Gates -- and injured. We see you, WR Keenan Allen. And, as noted before, the next time running back Melvin Gordon scores a TD or rushes for 100 yards in a game will be his first time. The Chargers have names and promise, but last year, they had no true production. Hence their pulling up last in the division in these rankings.
Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers reporter: Even though the Broncos have a question mark at quarterback, they have the best receiving duo in the division in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, along with a true bell-cow running back in C.J. Anderson and a solid tight end in Virgil Green. Even without Philip Rivers, I would take the Chargers next. They have a talented group of playmakers that includes Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon. The Raiders are next up with explosive receiver Amari Cooper, a solid No. 2 in Michael Crabtree and a hard-running tailback in Latavius Murray. The Chiefs are not dynamic on offense. Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are above-average at their positions, but Jamaal Charles is coming off ACL surgery.