Ranking the AFC West by offensive tackle duos

Protection. It can mean a lot in today’s game where quarterbacks are increasingly asked to stand in the pocket and scan the field while the receivers routes develop.

Some quarterbacks can get away with less than ideal protection if they are elusive. But even the best are at their best when they don’t have to improvise or deliver the ball before their preferred target breaks open.

And, remember, tackles must be able to run block as well. That means leading their man outside on an inside run, sealing the edge for and outside run, or getting to the second level on pitches and screens.

Let’s take a look at who is best set up for success at the tackle spots.

Nov 1, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Garett Bolles, Mike McGlinchey

The former first round pick has been a steady presence at left tackle for several years now. None more so than the 2020 season when he didn’t give up a single sack all season and was named second team All Pro. He is joined this season by former 9th overall pick Mike McGlinchey. The two figure to be the top duo in the division. Whether Russell Wilson can take advantage of it is another question entirely.

Dec 30, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller (77) gets ready to block Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford (55) at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kolton Miller, Jermaine Eluemunor

Miller may be the best single tackle in this division. Pro Football Focus recently rated him as such — naming him the ninth overall tackle in the NFL. He and Eluemunor were pretty solid bookends over the latter part of last season, combing to give up seven sacks all season.

Sep 15, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws as offensive tackle Rashawn Slater (70) provides coverage against Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (55) during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Rashawn Slater, Trey Pipkins

Justin Herbert enjoys some of the best protection the league with Slater on his left. The 2021 13th overall pick made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He was injured in his third game last season, so he’ll be a welcome sight this season. Pipkins took over the full time starting right tackle job last time and played well, giving up just two sacks in 14 starts.

Jan 14, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (75) reacts against the Los Angeles Chargers during a wild card playoff game at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Smith, Jawaan Taylor

The Chiefs will have an entirely new pair of tackles this season. Smith is a downgrade from Orlando Brown Jr while Taylor is an upgrade from Andrew Wylie and Co. at right tackle. Both Smith and Taylor have their issues which is probably why they were available. Smith had 12 penalties last season which is more than any other tackle in the AFC West. While Taylor is a solid pass protector, his run blocking leaves much to be desired.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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