These rookies have key Week 1 roles

September, 3, 2012
9/03/12
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A look at a rookie from each AFC West team, who will be a key factor in Week 1:

Denver, defensive end Derek Wolfe: The second-round pick is going to start at left end. The versatile Wolfe can slide inside as well. Wolfe has been a terrific player this summer for Denver, and the Broncos don’t think the game will be too big for him in the regular season.

Kansas City, nose tackle Dontari Poe: Poe may not start, but he will get his snaps. The No. 11 overall pick had a solid preseason and he seemed to improve steadily.

Oakland, linebacker Miles Burris: The fourth-round pick is in line to start with Aaron Curry out at least six weeks with a knee injury. Burris has a chance to be a very good player. He will likely have his ups-and-downs early, but this fast rise to NFL playing time will only help him.

San Diego, left tackle Mike Harris: This will be one of the most closely watched players in the division in Week 1. The undrafted rookie is starting for the injured Jared Gaither. Harris’ task is to protect Philip Rivers’ blindside against the best defensive line in the AFC West. Best of luck to him.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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