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Ranking the defensive linemen in the AFC West

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Our periodic AFC West rankings continue with the best defensive linemen in the division. We aren't going very deep here because Kansas City and Denver are transitioning to the 3-4 and overall it is not a super-strong division for defensive-line play:

1. Jamal Williams, San Diego: Williams may be getting older and his knees aren't doing him any favors these days, but he is still near the top of his game. He is a premier run stuffer and he sets the tone for San Diego's defense.

2. Luis Castillo, San Diego: Castillo is valued in San Diego and he is one of the few established standouts who are still in his prime in this division. He may not make a lot of spectacular plays, but Castillo is a solid piece of San Diego's defense.

3. Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City: Dorsey could be a much different spot in next year's rankings. He could reach his potential and be the top ranked defensive linemen in the AFC West. Or the No. 5 overall pick in 2008 could struggle in the Chiefs' 3-4 defense and fall down the list. I don't think that will happen. Dorsey has too much talent to not make a big impact.

4. Tyson Jackson, Kansas City: Jackson is ranked high for a couple of reasons. The Chiefs are high on him (he was a surprise pick with the No. 3 choice) and there aren't many other people to choose over him. The Chiefs hope Jackson and Dorsey, teammates at LSU, will make up for a nasty tandem. Jackson is more of a run stopper, but he has an imposing body and has good skills.

5. Tommy Kelly, Oakland: Kelly has good ability, but he needs to show it. He wasn't very good last season for Oakland after the Raiders stunned the league and gave him a $50 million contract. Kelly just didn't make enough plays to warrant that deal.

6. Robert Ayers, Denver: Ayers might be a linebacker, but the Broncos would like to him play out a hybrid defensive-end position. The Broncos are very weak on the line. They need Ayers, the No. 18 overall pick, to come in and make an impact right away.

7. Gerard Warren, Oakland: Warren may be nearing the end, but he is capable of making an impact at times. He is a solid player.

8. Trevor Scott, Oakland: This is just a hunch. I think Scott is going to emerge as a fine pass rusher for Oakland. He showed a nice burst as a third-down pass rusher as a rookie last season. If the Raiders trade Derrick Burgess, Scott will get even more opportunities to prove himself.