Why Sports Illustrated is Wrong About the AFC West

3 of 4

May 26, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: caption correction) San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) hands the ball off to running back Melvin Gordon (28) during organized team activities at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Melvin Gordon’s Potential

Gordon is a great prospect at running back. Last season at Wisconsin he ran for 2,587 yards, which is second in a single season only to Barry Sanders. That is a very impressive feat. But it was also in college.

In four or five years, Gordon could be the unanimous pick for best running back in the NFL. As of now, he has not even gone through day one of training camp. Much less had to deal with NFL defenses in a game situation (and he will have two games against a Chiefs defense featuring Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Dontari Poe, and Derrick Johnson).

Even if Gordon is great in his first year in the league, he is not going to match those 2,587 yards. Not by a long shot. He might make the Chargers better, but you would be hard-pressed to convince me that a rookie is going to make San Diego’s ground game better than Kansas City’s.

While Gordon might become elite someday, the Chiefs have a running back in Jamaal Charles who is unarguably elite right now.

Even being injured for two games, Charles ended 2014 with over 1,000 yards rushing, and ranked in the top 10 of the league in touchdowns. This while also being effectively held out of other games due to play-calling.

And when Charles is not on the field, he is replaced by capable backup Knile Davis. As a backup, Davis managed to gain 463 yards and six touchdowns rushing. In his sole start of the year, he ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on the Miami Dolphins.

Whenever Gordon is off of the field, he will replaced by Oliver. Last season, as the Chargers’ primary running back, Oliver put up a total of 582 yards and three touchdowns.

Barring injury, I do not see any way that Chiefs do not come out on top in this calculation.

Next: Summing it all up...