After a sketchy group of tackles in the AFC West, we move on to a pretty solid group of guards in the AFC West from top to bottom. There is one duo that stands out above the others, but after that it gets far more hazy. They all have things going for them with some question marks as well.
1. Raiders -- Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson
The top guard tandem in the NFL. No question. They didn’t give up a sack last season and paved the way for the league’s 6th ranked run defense. Osemele in particular, according to PFF stats, didn’t even give up even a hit on Derek Carr last season. That is insane. He was deservedly named an All Pro and Jackson was a Pro Bowl alternate. Osemele also landed at number 95 in the NFL Top 100. And it should have been higher.
2. Broncos — Ronald Leary, Max Garcia
Leary comes over from Dallas. He was a full time starter until La’El Collins emerged. Then when Collins went down with injury, Leary reminded everyone how good he is, giving up zero sacks as well as being one of the better run blocking guards in the league. He slid right back into place on that dominant Cowboys offensive line. He earned a nice long term deal in Denver to upgrade their struggling offensive line.
Garcia was decent at guard. The former 4th round pick started every game last season at left guard, allowing three sacks along with three penalties. With the addition of Leary, Garcia is expected to switch sides to play right guard.
3. Chargers — Matt Slauson, Forrest Lamp
After a season playing center, Slauson moves back to guard where he had been a full time starter his entire career with the Jets and Bears. He is joined by rookie second round pick Forrest Lamp who takes over at right guard with DJ Fluker’s days over in San Diego. Lamp was considered arguably the best guard in this draft and if he lives up to that billing, the Chargers could have the second best guard tandem in the division.
4. Chiefs — Parker Ehinger, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
Duvernay-Tardif was a better pass blocker than a run blocker but overall he is a fine guard.
Ehinger was a 2016 4th round pick, who started four games as a rookie before being long for the season due to injury. With such a small sample size it’s hard to say what kind of player he can be, but the overall unit will be better off with the guy who won the starting job last year back this season.