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Around the AFC West: Roster tweaking continues as OTAs begin

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Things are starting to heat up around the NFL. It’s still a slower news time around the league, but with more teams in rookie minicamp and OTAs, there are interesting storylines emerging from several different teams.

The AFC West news was a little bit slower this week, but there are some storylines Broncos fans need to know about. Good and bad news littered the news wire this week in the division.

Let’s take a spin around the AFC West to see what the competition is up to.


Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have made a lot of moves (Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu, Emmanuel Ogbah) this offseason to upgrade their defense for the 2019 season. On Wednesday, they traded the Jets for linebacker Darron Lee. There were able to add the 2016 first-round pick for a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The writing was on the wall with Lee and the Jets ever since they went out and broke the bank for free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley. The Jets did not pick up the fifth-year option for Lee earlier this offseason and the same day head coach Adam Gase took over as their interim general manager, Lee found himself traded to the Chiefs.

Lee has been a disappointment as a pro. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season in the pros and has looked average at best and not like the elite-level player a first-round pick should be.

We’ll see if a fresh start in a contract year helps Lee finally play up to his potential.


Los Angeles Chargers

The biggest news for the Chargers this week has to do with a rookie quarterback. Last weekend, Los Angeles signed 2019 fifth-round pick Easton Stick to a four-year contract.

Stick was a standout player in college for North Dakota State, following up Carson Wentz as the Bison’s starter. He’s an athletic player who can run an option-based offense (41 rushing touchdowns in college) or make plays from the pocket as a passer.

That being said, I have never seen a quarterback in person disappoint as much as Stick did at the East-West Shrine Game earlier this year. I was excited to see Stick in person after watching him on film, having appreciated his athleticism and leadership displayed in college.

Stick did not look like the player I saw on film. Maybe he had a bad week, or maybe I was wrong with what I saw from him on film, but Stick did not look like a draftable player in my opinion. In fact, Brett Rypien (now with the Broncos as a UDFA) looked much better during that week of practice than Stick did.

The Chargers must not have cared about those practice performances and they took him off the board in the fifth round. Stick will compete with Tyrod Taylor to be the backup to Philip Rivers. We’ll see if Stick can win that spot on the depth chart and perhaps develop into a future starter


Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are looking for talent everywhere. About 10 days ago, they signed former Alliance of American Football receiver Jalin Marshall to a contract. Before he was in the AAF, Marshall was added by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He got some work for the Jets, mostly as a special teams player.

Marshall wanted to revive his playing career with the now-defunct AAF, but only lasted about a week with the Raiders.

Oakland has turned over their wide receiver corps this year, mainly at the top of the depth chart with guys like Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Marshall was just trying to latch on at the end of the bench and will now look for work elsewhere.

In the meantime, the Raiders will continue to search for more wide receiver help this offseason.