The AFC West has seen the steady emergence of its new age of quarterbacks in the past few years. With former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning retiring a year ago, and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers approaching the latter stages of his career, the future of the division lies in the hands of the next wave of players.
From Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, to Kansas City Chiefs first round pick Patrick Mahomes, the Broncos tandem of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, and Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, the AFC West appears to be in good hands for the foreseeable future.
As these players continue to develop, and teams around the division progress through the Offseason Workout Program, let's take a closer look at what's going on around the division.
Between Siemian and Lynch, the duo combined for 3,685 passing yards and averaged 230.3 yards per game, ranking 21st in the league. There were notable struggles from both players in their 2016 seasons, but the Broncos brass have expressed the utmost confidence in them going forward.
It's understandable that getting a feel for the NFL isn't accomplished overnight, and in most cases younger players experience a learning curve. Per DenverBroncos.com, Siemian and Lynch are focused on absorbing "different concepts" and expanding their game.
New Head Coach Vance Joseph has vocalized his desire for them to do more on the field, not to force anything, but if a play breaks down, to make the right decision. That can be a lot to ask from an inexperienced player, but if the team wants to succeed this season, they'll need quality play from the position.
Kansas City Chiefs
Similar to Siemian and Lynch, No. 10 overall pick Patrick Mahomes will enter his rookie season with the Chiefs looking to learn, and get up to speed. The signal-caller out of Texas Tech made a name for himself with his gunslinger mentality and ability to heave the pigskin downfield.
Granted, at the professional level, heaving the ball downfield isn't always the best decision, but with Head Coach Andy Reid grooming him into an NFL quarterback, Mahomes has the tangibles to be a starter. Let's not forget though that quarterback Alex Smith has led the Chiefs to back-to-back playoff berths the past two years.
For the time being, Smith is the team's go-to guy under center, but it'll be interesting to watch the maturation of Mahomes as the season progresses.
Los Angeles Chargers
The quarterback situation in Southern California is undisputed, as Philip Rivers has retained the keys to the Bolts offense for over a decade now. At age 35 though, his reign at the helm could be coming to an end in the not-so-distant future.
The team clearly needs to maximize whatever Rivers has left in the tank, and on the defensive side of the ball he's been receiving some help. Defensive end Joey Bosa had a quality rookie year, in which he earned Rookie of the Year honors, and totaled 10.5 sacks. Bosa has recently benefitted from the team's addition of right tackle Russell Okung, who's pushed the former Ohio State Buckeye's game to new heights.
"You are not really going to face a better tackle than Russell," Bosa said via Chargers.com. "Having a guy like that to go against (makes you better)… I think I've improved a lot going against him. Having him here on our side is definitely an (upgrade)."
While the rest of the AFC West will be focused on the development of their future quarterbacks, Bosa's goal will to be make their jobs difficult.