The AFC West has boasted some truly great tight ends in the past few years. Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Zach Miller were all in this division not so long ago, leading their teams in receiving and making Pro Bowls.
Some teams, like the Raiders, made the tight end position their number one option in the receiving game last season. The importance of the position can't be overstated. And a really good tight end can prove to be a tremendous asset.
Let's see how each AFC West team stacks up this season at the tight end position:
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki, Travis Kelce
The rich just get richer. The Chiefs already had a pretty good tight end in Tony Moeaki. Then they sign one of the better free agents in Anthony Fasano and draft Travis Kelce. Yeah, they're gonna be just fine at the tight end position in Kansas City - a place that was home to Tony Gonzalez for most of this Hall of Fame career.
2. San Diego Chargers - Antonio Gates, John Phillips, Ladarius Green
Antonio Gates is getting a little long in the tooth but he is still one of the better tight ends in the game. Can't say much about the other options there but rarely are complementary tight ends going to be stars so it isn't a deal breaker. It's really all about Gates.
3. Denver Broncos - Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Julius Thomas
Dreessen is recovering from a recent surgery and there is a chance he will miss at least some of the regular season. Tamme isn't a world-beater as a replacement but he has spent his entire career catching passes from Peyton Manning and the two work very well together. Former round four pick, Julius Thomas, and his one career reception in nine games over two seasons will also try working into the mix.
4. Oakland Raiders - David Ausberry, Nick Kasa, Mychal Rivera
Forgive me for not including Richard Gordon here but having a blocking tight end as your number one only brings down this group's ranking. The best hope this team has to be any good is if David Ausberry can finally put together his immense talent and become an NFL starting tight end. His ball skills and abilities after the catch make you salivate at his potential. But thus far, he has never been able to break out. Behind him are two sixth round rookies. This unit does not inspire great confidence.