National Football Post takes a weekly look at how one of the NFL's eight divisions did in the offseason. Here's the AFC West.
Most improved team: Kansas City Chiefs
They added some quality players every way you can add them: by trade (quarterback Alex Smith), free agency (guard Geoff Schwartz, wide receiver Donnie Avery, tight end Anthony Fasano, quarterback Chase Daniel, defensive end Mike DeVito, linebacker Akeem Jordan, and cornerbacks Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith) and the NFL draft (offensive tackle Eric Fisher, tight end Travis Kelce). Given the influx of talent and coaching ability with Andy Reid and his staff, the Chiefs could make a major leap in the standings in 2013. They were considered by many to be one of the biggest underachieving teams in the league one year ago. And the new additions could help bring out the best in some holdovers who are capable of more, including wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, tight end Tony Moeaki, nose tackle Dontari Poe and linebacker Justin Houston.
Biggest veteran move: Alex Smith, Chiefs
There are some mixed opinions on Smith, but it is difficult to argue that he is a solid professional veteran who takes good care of the football. He isn't going to be the reason the Chiefs are losing many games. Smith's skill set is well above average. And there is a chance he could play his best football under Reid in Kansas City as he comes into the sweet spot of his career. Remember this: he just turned 29.
Sorry to go so Chiefs-heavy on you, but the facts are the facts. There is a reason Fisher was the first overall pick. He should be a long-term starter who excels in Kansas City. It will be interesting to see if he sticks on the right side or if the Chiefs move him to left at some point before the season begins. Right now, their motive is to get the best five on the field. Offensive tackle D.J. Fluker also should be an excellent draft addition by the Chargers.
Best under the radar move: Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Broncos
There were a number of nice under-the-radar moves in the West. In fact, every team had one. I liked the Raiders' signing of Nick Roach, a solid, steady linebacker who can play the run and pass. The Chargers did well to land Derek Cox, a big, physical cornerback who can match up with some of the tall wide receivers. DeVito should pick up the intensity on the K.C. defensive line. And Louis Vasquez will upgrade the Broncos' offensive line after coming over from the Chargers. But the Broncos' signing of Knighton may have been the best move of all of these. Knighton was drafted in Jacksonville by current Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, so he is a perfect fit in the Broncos' front. His ability to absorb blockers should help the other Broncos' linemen.
Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com.Follow @footballpost on Twitter for the latest news
This story originally appeared on Nationalfootballpost.com
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