Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Lamarr Houston at 2012 mini camp (photo by Levi Damien)
I started with the interior defensive lineman in my serious ranking the AFC West. Now we move to the outside lineman. These are the guys who are responsible for holding the edge and rushing the passer. And with the AFC West having some strong quarterback play, rushing the passer is of utmost importance.
Here is how I rank the defensive end units in the AFC West:
Between the two of them, they got things covered for the Broncos. Ayers is good against the run and Dumervil is a great pass rusher.
Shaughnessy has shown he can be a fantastic pass rusher for the Raiders. Houston really started to come on at the end of his rookie season but didn't appear to continue that progression last season. He has shown the ability to be stout against the run as well as rush the passer. And while he had just one sack last season, he was second in the NFL among defensive ends held by opposing linemen.
Two high draft picks who have underachieved. They are good against the run, not so much against the pass. Dorsey had zero sacks last season and Jackson had just one. As a comparison, Matt Shaughnessy had one more sack (7.0) in the 2010 season alone than Jackson (2.0) and Dorsey (4.0) have had their entire careers... combined ( 7 combined years, 6.0 total sacks).
A young group. The Chargers like what they see in Liuget. Reyes was expected to go in the first round of this year's draft and the Chargers were ecstatic to get him in round two. If he can show some skills early on, he could take the starting job from Martin. There is some potential here but nothing is certain.
Also See: Ranking the AFC West: Defensive Tackle