The AFC West: Underrated Players
People often call the AFC West the worst division in football. And although that might be true, there are many talented players in this division.
The big names are easy, players like Champ Bailey, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ladainian Tominson, and, until just recently, Tony Gonzalez. But there are some lesser-known players who are much more talented then they get credit for.
In this slide show, I will go through each AFC West team and discuss the most underrated player on each team.
Please, enjoy, and let me know what you think.
Oakland Raiders— Kirk Morrison
Height/ Weight: 6'2"/ 240 lbs
Morrison could very well be one of the most underrated linebackers in the league.
Drafted in the third round out of San Diego State, Morrison has been a key cog to the Raiders 4-3 defense since the day he was drafted.
Morrison is a smart, heady player who isn't afraid to lay the wood and is always reading the offense and dissecting what is going to happen.
He has started all but one game since the day he was drafted in 2005. Morrison has at least 115 tackles in every season.
In 2007 he had arguably his best season, deflecting 10 passes while intercepting 4.
Although Nnamdi Asomugha gets most of the credit on the Raiders D, Morrison is another championship-level player on the Oakland Raiders defense.
Kansas City Chiefs—Dwayne Bowe
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/ Weight: 6'2"/ 221
Bowe was drafted by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2007 draft out of LSU.
He burst onto the scene his rookie year, nearly gaining 1,000 yards while posting five touchdowns.
Bowe has started all but one game since he was drafted.
Usually for wide receivers, it takes about three years until they can really grasp the game. But that wasn't the case for Bowe. In a somewhat inept offense, Dwayne has shined both years he has been in the league.
He is a big, strong receiver who is a threat any time he gets the ball in his hands. He seems to be only getting better.
It will be up to Bowe to show just how good he is this year because, with Tony Gonzalez gone to Atlanta, teams will be keying in on this young and talented receiver.
Denver Broncos-—Ryan Clady
Position: Left Tackle
Height/ Weight: 6'6"/ 325
With the first pick in the 2008 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Jake Long. Who would have known 11 picks later, the Denver Broncos would go on to selecting an even more talented young tackle.
Clady, drafted out of Boise St. with the 12th overall pick, became an instant sensation they day he joined the team.
The Broncos couldn't believe how NFL-ready this young tackle was.
In 16 games, Clady gave up only half a sack despite going against top-notch players such as Julius Peppers and John Abraham.
It's hard to believe how good this kid is already.
At a young 22 years of age, Clady will be a fixture on the left side for the next decade.
He is tough against top-notch sack artists and can blow up the defensive line in the run game.
San Diego Chargers-—Vincent Jackson
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/ Weight: 6'5"/ 240
Vincent Jackson was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2005 draft out of little-known North Colorado.
The Chargers always knew he had potential, but he finally put it all together last season.
Towering at 6'5" with 4.3 speed, this physical freak finally came into his own.
After never posting more than 650 yards in his first three seasons, last year, he had career highs in yards (1,059) and touchdowns (7) in only 59 receptions.
Jackson had a staggering 18.6 yards per catch.
Jackson reminds me a slightly less-talented Larry Fitzgerald.
Jackson is extremely smart, as he graduated with a 4.25 GPA.
If he can stay out of trouble, Jackson can become one of the best wide-outs in the league.