The AFC West is not what on might call stacked at the defensive end position. There isn't a clear cut favorite with most of them having one good defensive end but one suspect end on the other side. The strongest combination wins. Here's how the AFC West stacks up based on the defensive end play.
1. San Diego Chargers -- Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes
This is an up and coming duo for the Chargers. Reyes is poised to become the full time starter after playing in all 16 games last season with four starts and getting a respectable 5.5 sacks as a rookie. Luiget is entering his third season after putting up 7.0 sacks while starting all 16 games last season. He also had an impressive 9 passes defended with 50 tackles. These two could be the newest dominant defensive ends in the division.
2. Oakland Raiders -- Lamarr Houston, Jason Hunter/Andre Carter
It may be a surprise to see the Raiders' defensive ends in the two spot in this division with the overall lack of pass rush last season. But this group should be judged more on their final four games than the previous 12. Mainly because the situation at defensive tackle was a mess and it affected the entire line. Lamarr Houston is already one of the better defensive ends in the league and is only getting better. He is an all-around great player with rare athletic abilities for a man his size. Jason Hunter is currently the starter on the other side of the line. Andre Carter was cut to get down to the final 53-man roster but I fully expect him to be back after week one. His being cut is not a product of his talent level, it's to bring him back on a non-guaranteed contract. His being healthy near the end of last season was also a big reason the Raiders had a top five defense in the final four games.
3. Kansas City Chiefs -- Tyson Jackson, Mike DeVito
One of the best free agent signings this off-season was the Chiefs reeling in Mike DeVito. He will be a fantastic player for them and is an ideal fit for what they look for in a defensive end. He won't get the team a lot of sacks but he is a run stopper and disrupter and is also versatile enough to play along the entire defensive line. Tyson Jackson on the other hand, is not so good. The former third overall pick has been just short of a bust in Kansas City based on his draft status. Between he and DeVito, they might do well against the run but I wouldn't expect a whole lot of pressure on the quarterback this season.
4. Denver Broncos -- Robert Ayers, Derek Wolfe
Wolfe was quite good as a rookie for the Broncos. He racked up 6.0 sacks while starting every game last season. He is already a pretty formidable talent and the expectation is that he will continue to get better. Ayers has been a disappointment. The former first round pick was benched last season and is only getting his job back because the team lost Elvis Dumervil as a free agent. He has just 6.5 sacks in his entire four-year career and his tackle numbers have not been very good either.