There varying schemes in the division, but every team has a big man in the middle of the defensive line. There is some decent talent at the position here, but not a lot of separation from top to bottom with no Pro Bowls among them.
1. Broncos -- Domata Peko
Peko has been performing at a high level for a long time. He was a full time starting defensive tackle for the Bengals for 10 years before joining the Broncos last season. He didn’t miss a game from 2010 to 2016 and has missed a total of 7 games in his entire 11-year career. Even at the age of 33, he is still a force in the middle. He put up 38 combined tackles and one sack in 14 games last season and the Broncos had the league’s best run defense, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry.
2. Raiders - Justin Ellis
Jelly put up career numbers last season in a contract year and he got the new contract out of it too. His 48 tackles put him 16th among defensive tackles in the NFL last season. But it kind of came out of nowhere considering his previous career high was 22. Much of his outstanding play occurred early in the season and he faded down the stretch. He looked much slimmer last season and if he keeps it off, we could see continued strong play from him.
3. Chargers -- Brandon Mebane
Last season Mebane appeared in all 16 games of the season for the first time since 2013 and therefore had his highest tackle numbers in four years (30). Overall, he wasn’t great last season and at 33 years of age you figure there is unlikely to be much improvement in his future. The Chargers gave up a league leading 4.9 yards per carry on the season and Mebane is the man in the middle most responsible for stopping the run. He also offers next to nothing as a pass rusher, having no sacks and two QB hits. The team drafted Justin Jones in the third round who they are hoping will be able to take over the job soon. He could at least take some pressure off of Mebane to carry the load.
4. Chiefs -- Derrick Nnadi
Rookie third round pick the Chiefs are hoping can replace Bennie Logan who is now with the Titans. Nnadi was selected nine spots ahead of the aforementioned Justin Jones. But Nnadi was still the 7th DT chosen in what was seen as a deep class at the position. We just don’t know how Nnadi will perform. While the Chiefs allowed a poor 4.3 yards per carry, Logan was a fairly good run stopper and put up 52 combined tackles last season. Tough call to expect Nnadi to be an instant upgrade.