Four Sophomore Breakout Players in the AFC West

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Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) against the New Orleans Saints during a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Chiefs 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC West is a division that is quietly one of the best in the NFL after some dismal seasons. The Broncos, Chiefs, and Chargers all made the playoffs in 2013 while the Raiders once again struggled. But after this offseason, it appears that all four teams are ready to compete — yes, even the Raiders — for at least a Wild Card spot in the weaker AFC.

We saw some exciting breakout seasons from players in the West last year with guys like Malik Jackson in Denver, Keenan Allen in San Diego, and Dontari Poe in Kansas City. Now it’s time for a new line of players to come out of the woodworks and make names for themselves. Here are four guys, one from each team, that can take the next step forward in 2014.

1

Travis Kelce

TE, Cincinnati

Kelce was drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Chiefs out of Cincinnati and didn’t have much of an opportunity to make an impact last season due to injury. The Chiefs, however, remain high on Kelce’s potential and have high expectations for the second year pro who stands at 6’5″ and 260 pounds. He’s a big, athletic playmaker who can add an element to the Chiefs’ passing game that was missin in 2013. Alex Smith flourished in San Francisco with players like Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker providing an outlet and safety valve, so to speak. Despite the Chiefs’ woes at receiver, Kelce is a guy who can provide a boost and should carve out a role in KC’s offense this season. And it could be a big one.
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