All Eyes On: NFC West and AFC West​

NFC West-

Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen- There were many rumors that the Cardinals would trade up to try and snag one of the top quarterbacks. Instead, they opted not to and before they knew it Josh Rosen, probably the most polished up quarterback in the entire draft class, fell into their hands. The Cardinals instantly took this opportunity and drafted Rosen. Rosen perfectly fits into the multi-sided offense that the Cardinals have been building. Also a good reader of the field and good at placing the ball Rosen seems pro ready. However, seeming pro ready and doing well in training doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll thrive in the pros. Only time will tell and that’s why Rosen will have all eyes on him this season.

Los Angeles Rams: Todd Gurley- In one of my previous articles I addressed the Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell debate. In my mind, Gurley came out on top, but this year both running backs have a chance to settle the debate given the two of them remain healthy. Not only that, but Gurley has had somewhat of an up and down career so far. In his rookie year he was a star showcasing amazing star, but in his second season he seemingly went downhill putting up much lower numbers. Then came last season, and with it, Todd Gurley once again showed what he was capable of time and time again putting up more insane numbers. This season eyes will be on Gurley to not only settle the “best running back” debate, but to see if can once again put up the high numbers we all expect. 

San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo- In between weeks 8 and 9, on November 1st, 2017 the New England Patriots traded backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. In exchange, the Patriots received the 49ers 2nd round pick for the 2018 draft. So far Jimmy Garoppolo has done more than thrive in San Francisco, as the 49ers went undefeated in the final 7 games of the season. All of which were games Garoppolo started in. After spending so much time in the shadow of Tom Brady, Garoppolo has stepped into the spotlight himself and displayed he had what it takes to be more than a starter. However, one good half season doesn’t automatically make Garoppolo a fantastic quarterback. We need more time to see how Garoppolo handles himself and how he does in his first official season as a starting quarterback. This season NFL fans alike will be keeping watch of Garoppolo, I recommend you do the same.

Seattle Seahawks: Rasheem Green- Once upon a time, the Seattle Seahawks had a defense that made team shake in their boots. However, this one all-star defense has gone downhill and Seattle looks to be making attempts toward rebuilding it. The pick of the Defensive End Rasheem Green looks to be a good first step, considering Michael Bennett was recently traded and the retirement of Cliff Avril leaves Seattle with little pass rushing options. Green seems to the first step of sorts to begin to rebuild the powerhouse of a defense Seattle once had. With few options left in the pass rush, Green will have to carry quite a bit of weight during his rookie season and people from all over will look to his if he’s able to hold his own or if he’ll crumble and fall.

AFC West-

Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb- The Broncos have been looking for some new pass rushing talent and it seems that they found what they were looking for in Chubb. Though Chubb won’t be able to completely replace Demarcus Wade’s spot alongside Von Miller he definitely can hold his one. Chubb has an impressive start and is relentless. His athleticism also provides him the benefit of being able to adapt to different roles depending on the type of formation Denver is running. Coming into his rookie season Chubb looks primed to fill in a linebacker slot and allow the Broncos to have a little more flexibility with their formations. I’d definitely take a good look at Chubb this upcoming season.

Kansas City Chiefs: Kareem Hunt- Hunt showed himself a breakout star for the Chiefs last year, putting up numbers that could compare to some of the league’s top running backs. Hunt was explosive consistently leaving defenders in his dust and bolstering the Chiefs’ run game. However, with the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator and quarterback leave this past off-season Hunt’s run game could be greatly impacted. With a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback comes a new play style from both, which could definitely influence the effectiveness of Hunt this upcoming season. This year I’d definitely keep your eyes on Hunt to see how he adapts and performs under the new OC and alongside the new quarterback.

Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams: The 7th overall pick in last year’s draft who missed a good part of the season last year due to an injury. Now, he’s back on the field and has looked great in training camps. His skill set is multifaceted and this year, hopefully, he’ll be able to put that to use injury-free. Williams has shown tremendous prowess in the redone proving himself very dangerous to his opponents and beneficial to the Chargers. He’s also shown quite a few other skills, including catching contested balls down the field. If Williams can stay healthy this year I think he’ll be a force to be reckoned with, definitely keep all eyes on him.

Oakland Raiders: Marshawn Lynch: While many believe that Lynch’s career is coming to an end, again, I have a different set of beliefs. I think that Lynch still has a good amount left in the tank and that he can still put on a good show. As he showed in Friday night’s preseason game against the Lions Beast Mode is back. Early in the game, the ball was handed off the Lynch, who rocketed through a gap and ran 60 yards, untouched, for a touchdown. Unfortunately, that play was called back due to a holding penalty, but it still gave fans a glimpse at what Lynch is still capable of. Lynch is still going strong and, from the looks of it, we’re all in for a good season from him. This year I would keep Lynch on your radar as I think Beast Mode will pop up on it.