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Ranking the AFC West: Outside linebackers

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No position group in the division is more talented among the top two starters than outside linebacker.

1. Broncos - Von Miller, Demarcus Ware

This was absolutely the toughest position to gauge in this division because arguably the three best pass rushing outside linebackers in the NFL are all in this division. Von Miller is the reigning Super Bowl MVP after his incredible performance in terrorizing Cam Newton. He sacked Newton 2.5 times which came on the heels of his 2.5 sacks on Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game. Ware will be 34 years old by the start of training camp. But even as he winds down his career, he has still made 9 Pro Bowls in the past 10 seasons along with four first team All Pros. He had 7.5 sacks last season in 11 appearances. Until he shows he isn’t a force to be reckoned with, I will not count him out.

2. Raiders - Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin

Mack is probably the most talented overall outside linebacker in this division. If we were going on an individual basis, he would be at number one. He and Von Miller are practically neck and neck for the best outside linebacker in the NFL and were recently listed 13 and 14 in the NFL Top 100. Irvin is a great addition to this team, giving the Raiders another fine linebacker on the opposite side of Mack. Irvin can rush the passer as well as excel in coverage.

3. Chiefs - Tamba Hali, Justin Houston

Hali is up there in age – he will turn 33 in November – and even though he has made five straight Pro Bowls, he is not quite the dominant player he once was. Houston is an elite player, right up there with Mack and Miller, but he will miss a good portion of the season recovering from a torn ACL. In a division with three of the most dominant pass rushers in the league, that’s enough to land the Chiefs outside linebackers third in the division, even though they would be the best pair in most any other division in football.

4. Chargers - Melvin Ingram, Jerry Attaochu

These two have no chance of competing with the All Pro talent of the outside linebackers on the other three division teams. Ingram is no slouch, though. He started 16 games last season for the first time in his four-year career and put up 10.5 sacks. Attaochu also had a career year, adding 6.0 sacks of his own.

Also see AFC West rankings for:

Running back
Wide receivers
Tight end
Offensive tackles
Offensive guards
Defensive tackles
Defensive ends