Top AFC West newcomers

August, 23, 2012
8/23/12
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With training camps in the books and half of the preseason complete, let’s look at top newcomers (both rookies and veterans) to watch for each AFC West team. These players aren’t necessarily the players I’m saying are the best newcomers, just ones I think will make an impact and who are worth watching closely:

Denver

Rookie, defensive lineman Derek Wolfe: The second-round pick has been terrific so far, and I expect him to be a major part of the rotation in Week 1.

Veteran, cornerback Tracy Porter: He is an underrated addition and he solidifies an improved secondary. He was a quality pickup.

Kansas City

Rookie, receiver/returner Devon Wylie: I think we see the fourth rounder’s biggest impact come in the return game as a rookie. But he will make some early plays out of the slot as well.

Veteran, running back Peyton Hillis: The Chiefs love what they have in the Jamaal Charles-Hillis combination. Hillis has been working at a high level and he seems like a perfect fit for this offense.

Oakland

Rookie, linebacker Miles Burris: Free-agent receiver Rod Streater is making noise, but so has Burris, a fourth-round pick. With Aaron Curry’s knee issues, Burris may have to play early.

Veteran, linebacker Philip Wheeler: Wheeler is a quiet player, but he is solid, especially against the run. He will help improve this unit’s toughness.

San Diego

Rookie, pass-rusher Melvin Ingram: I expect the No. 18 overall pick to be a top candidate for defensive rookie of the year. He is a beast. He will instantly change this unit.

Veteran, running back Le'Ron McClain: The former Chief will help, especially early in the season with Ryan Mathews potentially out, as a runner and as a blocker. He is a leader and he will make the Chargers better.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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