The new faces in the AFC West for 2012 feature a lot of guys who missed all or almost all of the 2011 season, whether or not they are notably changing teams or not. Kansas City is expecting a rebound because of the sheer number of stars returning, while Denver is planning on getting the old Peyton back. Here are the top ten new faces in the AFC West.
10. CB Tracy Porter, Denver. Three years after his most famous moment coming off the hand of Peyton Manning, Porter joins him in Denver, where he will start opposite Champ Bailey.
9. RB Peyton Hillis, Kansas City. Hillis had a horrible last season in Cleveland after being a revelation the year before, and should quickly become a fan favorite in Kansas City. His presence will allow Jamaal Charles to ease back from a knee injury, and he is an instant upgrade over Thomas Jones.
8. DE Melvin Ingram, San Diego. The Chargers defense has dropped off dramatically the last two years, particularly in generating a pass rush. As a rookie, Ingram will be part of the rotation expected to improve that in 2012.
7. CB Stanford Routt, Kansas City. Routt moves over from division rival Oakland to replace Brandon Carr, who signed with Dallas. Routt looks the part speed wise but doesn’t always show well in advanced analysis. With Brandon Flowers on the opposite side, expect Routt to get tested early.
6. NT Dontari Poe, Kansas City. The most intimate moment of the draft belongs to Poe, and he now brings his talents to a team with needs at nose tackle. Kansas City hopes Poe can handle the position in year one, or it’ll be a bleak December.
5. Former Houston offensive linemen to the AFC West: No team filled need with a talent upgrade as much as the Chiefs adding Eric Winston to address their right tackle needs. Winston’s teammate last year with the Texans, Mike Brisiel, will be the starting right guard for the Oakland Raiders.
4. OLB Jarret Johnson, San Diego. In need of a major influx of pass rush, the Chargers went out and got Johnson from the Ravens and hope that the maturation of other young defensive players, as well as the addition of Ingram and Johnson can change things this year.
3. Front Office Changes for the Silver & Black. The Raid-ahs were Al Davis team since almost the beginning, and so one of the biggest shifts this season will be that Al will not be watching from the stadium. His son Mark Davis immediately brought in the autumn winds of change in the offseason, hiring Reggie McKenzie from the Packers. McKenzie fired head coach Hue Jackson in short order, despite consecutive 8 win seasons. Dennis Allen has been brought in as head coach.
2. Chiefs Stars returning from knee injuries. First round pick from 2010 Eric Berry tore up his knee in the first quarter of the season opener. Jamaal Charles did the same thing in the first quarter of the next game against Detroit. Tony Moeaki was pencilled in as the tight end starter, but tore his ACL in the preseason. All three should be back, and just how quickly they get back will determine how improved Kansas City is in 2012.
1. QB Peyton Manning, Denver. You might have heard of him. He’s now in Denver, in case you missed the news.
[photo via US Presswire]