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Ranking the AFC West: Tight end

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The last of the offensive skill positions in this series is the tight ends.

1. Chiefs - Travis Kelce

Alex Smith likes to use his tight end, and he’s got a good one in Kelce. The former third round pick has had averaged over 69 catches, 869 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Those numbers earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl last year. He has taken over as the division’s top tight end from the long reign of Antonio Gates.

2. Chargers - Antonio Gates

Gates is still a very productive tight end and a threat on the field even at 36 years old. But he isn’t the All Pro he once was and hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since 2011. The Chargers spent a second round draft pick on Hunter Henry in the hopes Gates can pass him the baton as the heir apparent this season.

3. Raiders - Clive Walford

Late last season, Walford showed the makings of the next big thing at tight end. An injury kept him out of camp, resulting in a slow start to the season. He finished with 28 catches for 329 yards, but more than half of his catches (15) and yards (178) occurred over the final five games of the season. I expect this season he will prove himself worthy and become the dual threat tight end the Raiders need him to be.

4. Broncos - Virgil Green

After losing Julius Thomas in free agency, the Broncos were hoping last year’s rookie third round pick Jeff Heuerman would replace him. That lasted exactly a week before he tore his ACL in rookie minicamp and was lost for the season. They would get most of their tight end production from Owen Daniels (517 yards) and Vernon Davis (201) who they picked up midway through the season. Owen Daniels retired and Vernon Davis is now in Washington. Leaving the job to Virgil Green, who had a career high 12 catches for 173 yards last season. The Broncos are really hoping Heuerman can take that job.

Also see AFC West rankings for:

Running back
Wide receivers