Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) holds onto the ball before the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Likeliest NFL Day One Rookie Starters: AFC West

The AFC West has high expectations for the 2014 NFL season.  Will their rookie class rise to help?

Denver Broncos:  Bradley Roby – CB

Typically teams overloaded with a lot of veteran talent like the Denver Broncos are don’t have a real need to start rookies at any position.  So the chances of that happening in 2014 are 50/50 at best.  If anybody has a chance to crack the starting lineup though, it will be first round pick Bradley Roby.  Denver is looking for answers at cornerback to assist their rebuilt pass rush.  Roby has looked good in camp and already is a favorite for the nickel spot  How much further he can go depends on outside factors.

Oakland Raiders:  Khalil Mack – OLB

He was tabbed from the moment he was drafted as a starter and Khalil Mack hasn’t looked like he doesn’t belong in the NFL.  The Oakland Raiders see the young linebacker as future stalwart for their pass rush and his sack against Detroit was a good sign.  His added abilities in coverage and stopping the run only make him more valuable to defense trying to rediscover its identity.  Mack is going to play from the very first snap.

San Diego Chargers:  Chris Watt – RG

If there is one area on the San Diego Chargers roster that could see enough shuffling to let a rookie into the lineup, it would be their offensive line.  The group wasn’t very good in 2013 and needs a shot in the arm to better protect Philip Rivers and open some running lanes.  One of their more underrated acquisitions was 3rd round pick Chris Watt.  A guard out of Notre Dame, he brings an intelligence, toughness and size to the right guard position the Chargers are looking for.  His upside is minimal, but he has a chance to become a reliable starter for the next ten years.

Kansas City Chiefs:  Zach Fulton – RG

Tennessee has quietly become a smaller factory for offensive linemen of late and it seems like the Kansas City Chiefs may have found a diamond in the midst of the rubble.  Zach Fulton was hampered during the NFL draft due to lack of tape, which explains his drop into the 6th round.  However, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is notorious for his offensive line success and Fulton has all the physical ability of a true pro guard.  Considering how badly Kansas City is hurting up front, his maturation would be most welcome.

Tags: Bradley Roby Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs Khalil Mack NFL Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers

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