If pass rusher is the top position in the division (it is) cornerback is just behind it. Even a decent group of cornerbacks aren’t nearly enough with this group.
1. Broncos — Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Bradley Roby
The trio of Talib, Harris, and Roby is probably the best in the NFL, let alone the AFC West. Talib didn’t allow a touchdown all last season and was named to his fourth straight Pro Bowl. He and Harris were both named All Pro last season with Harris heading to his third straignt Pro Bowl. They were 36 and 37 in the NFL Top 100 respectively, collecting 5 interceptions and 23 passes defended between them. Right behind them in Roby, who would be a star on just about any other team. He had 2 picks and 8 passes defended. They will once again make completions by the rest of the division’s quarterbacks hard to come by.
2. Chargers — Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett, Desmond King
Hayward came to the Chargers as a free agent last offseason from the Packers and exploded for seven intereptions and 20 passes defended (third in the NFL). He headed to his first Pro Bowl and was named number 64 on the NFL Top 100. And he did this despite the Chargers losing Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett after four games. Verrett is right up there among the best corners in the league. King is the team’s 7th round rookie
3. Chiefs — Marcus Peters, Steven Nelson, Terrance Mitchell/Philip Gaines
Marcus Peters carries this unit as arguably the best corner in this division, rivaling the Broncos duo. After just two seasons, Peters already had 14 interceptions and two trips to the Pro Bowl. His rookie season he led the league with 26 passes defended. Last season he was tied for third with 20 passes defended with 6 interceptions and was named All Pro. He landed at 32 in the NFL Top 100, higher than any other cornerback in the division.
It gets highly questionable after that with 2015 third round pick Steven Nelson, and Terrance Mitchell. Nelson started 14 games last season and put up a respectable 16 passes defended, but with no interceptions. Mitchell is former 7th round pick who came to the Chiefs after splitting his rookie season between the Cowboys and Bears. He appeared in 7 games last season, starting two. Philip Gaines is in the mix as well. The former third round pick started 5 games last season.
4. Raiders — Sean Smith, David Amerson, Gareon Conley/TJ Carrie
I personally think Smith and Amerson will have a bounceback season. Mostly that’s based on what they did in 2015 while Smith was with the Chiefs and Amerson earned his big contract extension from the Raiders. Even still, with the talent around the division, they land here.
Conley is the team’s first round rookie out of Ohio State. His sexual assault case was sent to grand jury today, so we will await to see how that pans out. He also has yet to take the field in training camp as he is recovering from an undisclosed injury. Carrie has played a lot in the slot as well as offered the team a spot starter and has been decent at times. They hope Conley is an upgrade immediately, but we’ll see.
Also see AFC West ranking for: Quarterbacks, Running backs, Wide receivers, Tight ends, Offensive tackles, Guards, Centers, Nose tackles, Defensive interior, Edge rushers, Inside linebackers