LA Chargers: Ranking the defenses in the AFC West by position

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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Defensive Tackle

  1. Chiefs: Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders
  2. Broncos: Jurrell Casey, Mike Purcell, Shelby Harris
  3. Chargers: Linval Joseph, Justin Jones, Jerry Tillery
  4. Raiders: Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins, Maurice Hurst

Jones is what really propels the Chiefs to having the best interior line. He wreaks havoc for opposing offensive lines and is able to make some incredible plays at the line of scrimmage. During the Super Bowl, it was like the commentators were calling his name every play for batting the ball at the line or sacking the quarterback.

Once he’s signed to a long term extension, he’s going to be a problem in the AFC West for years to come. Nnadi is a solid push tackle, and Saunders has improved as a depth piece.

Casey was a really underrated acquisition by Denver in the offseason. While NFL trades don’t hold a lot of value, it still shocks me that they only had to give up a seventh-round pick. Perhaps it was Tennessee attempting to clear cap by any means necessary, but putting him and Harris together will be great for Denver.

The Chargers rank third with their interior line. Joseph is certainly an improvement over what Brandon Mebane was bringing to the team over the last few years. He’s younger with more  quality run stuffing potential. The two real variables are Jones and Tillery. Jones was better in 2019, but is he ready to show that he’s an every-down tackle?

Tillery’s development is key here. He showed some flashes towards the end of 2019, but he needs to show he can be trusted with a higher snap count.

Despite the Raiders being ranked fourth in both parts of the defensive line, there’s still reason for excitement. Collins and Hurst are still very young, much like Ferrell and Crosby on the outside. Playing and learning under Hankins has the chance to shoot the Raiders up the rankings if they develop properly.