Monday, June 4, 2012
Ranking the AFC West O-linemen
By Bill Williamson
We are continuing our divisional position ranking with the offensive linemen. Overall, it is a young group with many players who have potential to move up in future years.
1. Eric Winston, T, Kansas City: Arguably the best right tackle in the NFL. The Chiefs scored major with this free-agent signing.
2. Ryan Clady, T, Denver: Clady’s sack and penalty numbers are up, but he is still an above-average player who should benefit from playing with Peyton Manning.
3. Nick Hardwick, C, San Diego: A strong, reliable player whom the Chargers absolutely had to re-sign.
4. Chris Kuper, G, Denver: Ask any scout about underrated players and Kuper is probably on every list.
5. Jared Veldheer, T, Oakland: The list is getting difficult here. I’m going with Veldheer as the second-best left tackle based on potential. It’s sky-high.
6. Jared Gaither, T, San Diego: If healthy, he can be dominant -- as he showed with the Chargers late last season.
7. Branden Albert, T, Kansas City: Solid, not spectacular, but you can do a lot worse and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chiefs gave him an extension this season..
8. Stefen Wisniewski, C, Oakland: I like this second-year guard-turned-center a lot. A future star.
9. Mike Brisiel, G, Oakland: Tough, gritty player who is perfect for the zone-blocking offense.
10. Louis Vasquez, G, San Diego: A quiet, solid contributor.
11. Jeromey Clary, T, San Diego: A lot of Chargers fans don’t like him, but he gets the job done.
12. Jon Asamoah, G, Kansas City: This second-year starter looks solid.
13. Ryan Lilja, G, Kansas City: A tough vet who is probably entering his final season as a starter in Kansas City.
14. J.D. Walton, C, Denver: A tough, young starter who still needs to find consistency.
15. Zane Beadles, G, Denver: He has potential, but still needs to grow.
16. Orlando Franklin, T, Denver: He struggled some as a rookie, but there is big potential there.
17. Cooper Carlisle, G, Oakland: He keeps hanging around. The end may be near, but he can zone-block.
18. Rodney Hudson, C, Kansas City: He is poised to start for the first time, taking over for Casey Wiegmann. He could be very good.
19. Tyronne Green, G, San Diego: He is taking over for the great Kris Dielman, who retired. Green has been good as an injury replacement in the past.
20. Khalif Barnes, T, Oakland: He could lose his job to Joe Barksdale if he slips.