tackles these questions and many more."> tackles these questions and many more.">

Scouting the AFC West: The Secondary

A position breakdown of the AFC West. Who is the best player? Has the biggest attitude? Is the a true unsung hero? Who has the most to improve? Who will improve the most? Are any San Diego Chargers on the list? <a href=""></a> tackles these questions and many more.

Mr. Overrated: Ray Buchanan (CB) Oakland Raiders

Buchanan has had a very solid NFL career. But every time the earth rotates around the sun, Buchanan gets that much older, slower, and shorter. Buchanan is good enough to start for some teams in the NFL, but the Raiders are too young and deep for him to keep up. With the emergence of Nnamdi Asomugha and Stuart Schweigert, it is very possible for Buchanan to be out of work come August. But no one can ever tell with good ole Al, he loves those veterans.

Mr. Underrated: Greg Wesley (S) Kansas City Chiefs

Wesley is not well known amongst many fans outside of KC. Despite the defensive woes of the Chiefs last season, Wesley quietly put together another very good year. He had 102 tackles and recorded six interceptions for the second straight year. Wesley has started every game he has played with Kansas City and has an impressive career total of 334 tackles. Oh yeah, it is a good idea for the opposition to bring plenty of smelling salt with playing Wesley.

Old faces, new places: John Lynch (S) Denver Broncos

How much is still left in the tank? Denver sure hopes there is enough, for they are still trying to rectify last year's embarrassing playoff performance despite being a good defensive team, statistically. Mike Shanahan and crew are hoping that Lynch's leadership and hard-hitting ability will help put them over the top. And to make things scarier for opposing teams, everyone's eyes will be focused on Champ Bailey, which will only take more pressure off Lynch.

Is he Yoda or a waste of space: Rod Woodson (S/CB) Oakland Raiders

Considering Woodson and Vince Evans were practically born in the same year, how long before this guy retires? Woodson, though, can still lay it on you and remains a presence on the football field. Woodson is still good enough to not only start for the Raiders but many other teams as well. But like Ray Buchanan, will he be able to survive the influx of young blood making its way into the Raider backfield? Al will have a hard time letting this super veteran go.

Put up or shut up time: Quentin Jammer (CB) San Diego Chargers

Since being the top pick for the Chargers in 2002, Jammer has progressively gotten better. But, unfortunately, it has been at a pace that many Charger fans have not been satisfied with. Towards the end of last season, Jammer was beginning to live up to his billing. Jammer better make sure this progress continues, because the Chargers have a slew of top picks in the backfield. To say Jammer will be a cap casualty next year is absurd, but with another mediocre year, grumbling will begin amongst the administration. Then again, this time next year, the Chargers could be reveling in the fact they have one of the top five corners in football.

Same name, new player: Drayton Florence (CB) San Diego Chargers

Every year there is a fella, either free agent or second year player, that comes out of no where and puts himself ahead of the pack. This year, Florence has a great opportunity to be that guy. He has the attitude, size, speed, and athleticism to be big time. San Diego must find a way to keep him on the field next year, so a position change is not out of the question. Wherever Florence does end up, he should overcome the struggles that plagued him his rookie year. The Chargers are counting on him to help make the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 smoothly.

Not quit there yet: Tie - Sammy Davis (CB) San Diego Chargers and Phillip Buchanan (CB) Oakland Raiders

Both players started as rookies and it showed. Ironically, the two are far from being mirror images of each other. Davis is a finesse corner that needs to work on his toughness and endurance. Buchanan, however, is a tough corner who needs to play with more discipline. There is no reason why each player should not build on, what would be kind to say, their prospective learning experiences from last season. Both will no doubt improve, but there is a sense of urgency with each. With Florence knocking heads and with Asomugha getting better with each snap, Davis and Buchanan will be feeling heat from their nickel backs.

Newest addition with the biggest impact potential: Stuart Schweigert (S) Oakland Raiders

The AFC West did not concentrate on defensive backs in the 2004 draft. This is understandable enough considering every team in the AFC West is absolutely loaded with defensive backs. Despite how these teams match up with each other, it is important to note that each backfield could arguably be considered one of the ten best in football. Consequently, the only two players up for this very honorable distinction is Stuart Schweigert and Jeremy LaSueur. The coin ended up tails, so Schweigert gets it. All joking aside, LaSueur will probably be relegated to special team duties this year, while Schweigert could be responsible for some veteran cap casualties. Schweigert will play extensively this year, and could be starting by years end.

On the hottest seat: Champ Bailey (CB) Denver Broncos

This was an obvious choice. The Bailey trade was the biggest gamble of the off-season by any team. It could either make the organization look like geniuses or idiots. Everyone has an opinion on the trade, but no one doubts what Bailey brings to the table. Unfortunately for Bailey, the heat will come from two fronts. Obviously, if Bailey struggles the natives will become restless. But, if Denver's running game is not up to par, the writers will break out in full force debating whether or not Bailey was worth the price.

El numero uno: Champ Bailey (CB) Denver Broncos

All the scrutiny and drama surrounding Champ Bailey is there for a reason. He is the best at what he does. Now, though, it is time for Bailey to maintain his elite status. Bailey is certainly in the driver's seat, but sitting shotgun is Charles Woodson. Do not look now, but Jammer has the potential to leap frog both players. It should be an interesting season to say the least.


Best coverage skills: Champ Bailey (CB) Denver Broncos

Yes the pressure is on, but he is the best corner in football. That is why it took one of the best running backs and a ga-zillion dollars to get him.

Plays with the most attitude: Charles Woodson (CB) Oakland Raiders

Perfectly fits the Raider mold and is as tough as they come. His attitude, though, could expand to Al Davis with the recent franchise tag.

Most consistent: Jerome Woods (S) Kansas City Chiefs

In the last six years, Woods has only missed one game and is a true iron man. The crystal ball says he will get in between 79-87 tackles, 1-3 interceptions, and 1-3 sacks this year. Anyone care to wager?

Surest tackler: John Lynch (S) Denver Broncos

Yes, Lynch is getting up there in age. But it does not change the fact that if Lynch wraps his arms around you, you are going down.

Best hands: Dexter McCleon (CB) Kansas City Chiefs Always a threat to intercept the ball. McCleon has a keen eye for the big pick, and the hands to go along with it. Most physical: Quentin Jammer (CB) San Diego Chargers

Jammer will not only pop you at the line, but he has been known not to let off twenty yards down field. Consequently, Jammer knows the little orange flag quit well.


1. Oakland Raiders - Too much depth at corner. If Derrick Gibson plays to his potential, the Raiders could be scary.

2. San Diego Chargers - Uncertainty at the safety position. If either Hank Milligan or Terrence Keil develop, they could de-thrown Oakland for the top spot.

3. Denver Broncos - The Broncos still have question marks at nickel, but it is hard to look past Champ Bailey and John Lynch. Nick Ferguson is solid, but they need Kenoy Kennedy to play less recklessly.

4. Kansas City Chiefs - The team is safety heavy. While they have a very good corner in Dexter McCleon, the others are unproven.

ALL AFC West Team: Secondary
CB- Champ Bailey (Den)
CB- Charles Woodson (Oak)
CB- Quentin Jammer (SD)
S- Greg Wesley (KC)
S- John Lynch (Den)
S- Kwamie Lassiter (SD)

Next on the horizon, linebackers ...

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