AFC West

Ranking the Starting QB’s in the AFC West

The AFC West is one of the most competitive divisions in all of football heading into the 2020 regular season. Each team in the West has impact players at different positions that will create a battle royale for supremacy within the division.

Over the next few weeks here at the Ramble, we will examine each starting position amongst all four teams.

The first position to be examined are the starting quarterbacks.

The Most Important Position

In 2019, the quarterback position saw incredibles feats from a multitude of players around the NFL. Despite what some may say, the man under center is the most important player on the field and possesses the largest tangible impact on a team’s win/loss record. Last season, the league witnessed a rise in signal-callers extending plays by any means necessary.

The NFL’s 2019 Most Valuable Player, Lamar Jackson, displayed that a quarterback’s legs can be just as effective as their throwing arm.

Not surprisingly, the Ravens franchise player wasn’t the only one that was to be dynamic at the position. The eight-year Seahawks starting quarterback, Russell Wilson, also displayed that he still possesses the same championship winning mentality he had in 2014 when he led Seattle to a Super Bowl victory.

Within the AFC West, the division has their own fair share of talent at the position. Except, the difference between the top quarterback and the rest is vast compared to other divisions in the league.

1. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes returns as the undisputed top quarterback in the division and the NFL. The 2019 Super Bowl MVP proved the Chiefs made the right investment in the 2017 NFL Draft. They offered the Bills two first round picks and a third round selection to acquire the Texas Tech standout in 2017. In retrospect, the organization successfully took the leap from mediocrity to what they believed was an elite quarterback that would end their playoff woes.

Entering the 2020 regular season, Mahomes returns to a Kansas City offense that retains all but one of their starters from their Super Bowl victory in February. Self admittedly, Mahomes has also stated that he didn’t fully understand how to read NFL defenses until the middle of his second NFL season.

Moving forward, Mahomes is just scraping the ceiling of what he can become as a quarterback and it will be a never ending race to close the wide gap in talent within the division and the entire league at the position.

2. Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders

Arriving in second place in the division is the six-year Raiders starting signal-caller. 2019 proved to be a middle of the road season for Carr and Las Vegas. However, an influx of rookie wide receivers look to solve the one dimensional tendencies in the team’s passing offense. The Silver and Black’s first selection of the 2020 NFL draft, Henry Ruggs III, looks to change the conservative narrative for Carr.

In addition, the Raiders also added a physical outside receiver in former Bryan Edwards with one of their third round selections.

Last but not least, Las Vegas added yet another offensive threat in former Kentucky all purpose player, Lynn Bowden Jr.

As Carr enters his seventh NFL season, there is no reason for conservative or middling play in 2020. The Raiders possess an offense that most quarterbacks would salivate over. For that reason, it is time that Carr produces consistently at a high level as the offense around him is more than serviceable.

Related: Derek Carr Will Get a Chance to Win at Arrowhead

3. Drew Lock – Denver Broncos

Third on the list of AFC West signal callers is Lock. He made the most of his opportunity as a starter in 2019 with the team by leading the Broncos to a 4-1 record to finish his rookie campaign after returning from a preseason injury.

Lock has shown in a short time period that he is likely the right choice for the organization moving forward. With time and more quality play, Drew has the ability to move up to the second spot on this list in time. For those doubting his ability to play, his confidence and arm talent are second to none.

The drafting of Jay Cutler in 2006 was the last success (somewhat) for the organization in drafting a franchise quarterback, the Missouri native is quickly shaping up to end the 13 year drought.

4. Tyrod Taylor – Los Angeles Chargers

Fourth on the list is a journeyman quarterback who finds himself in an intriguing situation after the departure of 14-year starter Philip Rivers. Even though Taylor provides a stable veteran presence, he is not more than a stop gap solution for the franchise. With Rivers’ departure, the Chargers are preparing for the future now.

Justin Herbert will undoubtedly become the eventual starter, but the Chargers can afford to ease him into a starting role if they elect to do so.

In Review

Overall, the AFC West signal callers are embracing a youth movement between Justin Herbert, Drew Lock, and Patrick Mahomes. The elder statesman, Derek Carr, is looking to become more of a difference maker as he enters his seventh season. One could say that the rankings based on future potential would be different. Nevertheless, the division is currently Mahomes’ while everyone else tries to close the gap.

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