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Ranking the AFC West: Defensive tackle

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Heading over now to the defensive side of the ball, we see how the big fellas in the middle of the line stack up against each other.

There is a lot of talent in the middle of the defensive lines in the AFC West this season. And not a lot separates any of them. Then again, that’s what I am tasked with doing. So, here it is.

1. Chiefs - Dontari Poe

A two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle, he offers tremendous pass rush ability from the inside. The Chiefs moved him around a bit last season, even playing him at defensive end, which caused his stats to suffer some. But make no mistake, this 6-3, 346-pounder belongs inside where he can shuck centers, disrupt the run game, and bulrush the quarterback.

2. Raiders - Dan Williams

Signing with the Raiders last offseason, no one really knew what to expect. He was coming over from the Cardinals as part of one of the best defenses in the NFL and quickly showed that he was a big part of that success. He was an outstanding run stopper in the middle of the line, playing both 3-tech and 0-tech defensive tackle. He vaulted himself to the top defensive tackle in the division very quickly.

3. Broncos - Sylvester Williams

Williams moved over from defensive tackle under Jack Del Rio in 2014 to play nose tackle last season for the Broncos. He was a key part of one of the best defensive lines in football.

4. Chargers - Brandon Mebane

It’s an embarrassment of riches when a talented defensive tackle like Mebane sits at the bottom of the division at his position. He spent the first nine years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks. Now 31, he joins the Chargers as what should be a big upgrade at the position.

Also see AFC West rankings for:

Running back
Wide receivers
Tight end
Offensive tackles
Offensive guards