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Ranking the AFC West: Defensive tackle

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Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour at 2012 mini camp (photo by Levi Damien)
Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour at 2012 mini camp (photo by Levi Damien)

This is the first in my series which will run for the next couple weeks ranking each position group for each of the teams in the AFC West. I decided to buck the usual trend of starting with the sexy positions. That usually starts with quarterback or at very least on offense. But with this list I started with the big uglies on defense.

By which I refer to the defensive tackles. Teams have to win the battle in the trenches if they want to win the war, so that is where we will start.

Here are where I rank the AFC West defensive tackle units:

1. Oakland Raiders

Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly

The best and most proven interior duo in the AFC West. Seymour is a seven-time Pro Bowler, including 2010 and 2011 and Kelly has stepped up his game in recent seasons as well.

2. San Diego Chargers

NT Cam Thomas/Antonio Garay

The Chargers did well to get Garay re-signed. He is an important piece of their defensive line. Cam Thomas will take on the bulk of the load at the position. The Chargers like the potential they see in Thomas.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

NT Dontari Poe

A rookie. The kind of pick Chiefs fans, along with everyone else, would have panned had the Raiders made the pick because he is the proverbial physical freak/workout warrior. But you can bet because the Chiefs grabbed him, they think he is just loaded with potential. Oh, the dreaded "P" word that gets coaches fired. Here's another "P" word: Production. That was something Poe did not have in college. That "P" word is far more relevant in a guy who is being handed a starting job in the NFL.

4. Denver Broncos

Ty Warren, Kevin Vickerson/Derek Wolfe (R)

Warren is entering his tenth NFL season and getting up there in age (31). His health has been a major issue, causing him to miss the last two seasons with injuries. Vickerson is prepared to step in for Warren if need be but even he is not a great option. As it stands, Vickerson may lose his job to rookie Derek Wolfe. This unit is not settled and somewhat questionable.

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