AFC West 2023 Positional Rankings: Where do the Chiefs offensive tackles stand?

In our latest installment of the AFC West positional rankings, we take a look at the bookends of the offensive line. Which tandem is the best? We discuss the ins and outs of the tackle position.
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

One of the most important positions to fill when building out an NFL roster is that of offensive tackle, the very bookends responsible for keeping their quarterback clean. In the AFC West, there are some very talented tackles on each team. Which duo is the best? We discuss the ins and outs.

The Kansas City Chiefs have their own pair of new guys, while the Chargers are getting healthy. The Broncos bolstered the tackle position, and the Raiders have added talent there as well. Tackles are all different and have different distinct skills.

We will do our best to objectively determine which groups are the most talented.

1. Rashawn Slater and Trey Pipkins III, Los Angeles Chargers

Other tackles: Foster Sarell, Zack Bailey, Austen Pleasants, Andrew Trainer, Matt Kaskey

Let's not make this about Trey Pipkins (who is a solid tackle). This first-place ranking in the AFC West has everything to do with the talent level and overall potential of the Chargers' left tackle, Rashawn Slater. After his All-Pro outing two years ago, Slater only appeared in three games before being lost for the season due to torn biceps last year. When Slater returns, the Chargers will have one of the best tackles in all of football.

Pipkins allowed just two sacks last season and is seemingly getting better all of the time. Entering year five, Pipkins is entering his prime and is entering a contract year. With the combination of the two, they should be prepared to keep Justin Herbert clean all year long.

2. Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

Other tackles: Lucas Niang, Wanya Morris, Prince Tega Wanogho, Jason Godrick

As much as readers would love to see it, it is impossible to objectively elevate the combination of Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith above the number two spot on this list. Kansas City's lone bold move this offseason was to allow Orlando Brown Jr. to walk. Brett Veach then signed a new duo at the position. With Jawaan Taylor being brought in first, fans theorized that he may switch to the left side before they signed veteran left tackle Donovan Smith.

Now, the Chiefs are in a state of transition. Before last season, Smith was considered a premier tackle. He now looks to bounce back in a big way. Taylor is an ascending player with tremendous athleticism and pass-blocking ability. We look for the Chiefs to get the most out of these guys in 2023.

3. Garrett Bolles and Mike McGlinchey, Denver Broncos

Other Tackles: Cam Fleming, Isaiah Prince, Demontrey Jacobs, Alex Palczewski

The Broncos are looking to get right on offense after an embarrassing first season of the Russell Wilson experience. One way that they attempted to address this was by adding former San Francisco 49ers right tackle, Mike McGlinchey, who had a great season in 2022-2023. Along with Garrett Bolles, they are looking to provide protection and power for the revamped Bronco offense.

The truth of the matter is that this combination is solid. While the ceiling is not as high as the duo of Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor, it can be argued that the floor is higher. If they can both have a great season, it could make a world of difference in making their offense functional. "Functional" would be a tremendous upgrade from what we saw a season ago.

4. Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor, Las Vegas Raiders

Other tackles: Brandon Parker, Thayer Munford Jr., Dalton Wagner, Justin Herron

The Raiders once again look to be bringing up the rear. In this case, Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor, believe it or not, are actually a bright spot on their offensive line. Miller is a functional and reliable player and Eluemunor is relatively unknown. Either way, when it comes to the various tackle groups in the AFC West, there is virtually no case for the Raiders to be anywhere near the top.

We look for the Raiders to have yet another disappointing year, but there are plenty of positions of concern outside of the tackle position.

Check out other entries in our 2023 AFC West rankings:

  1. Quarterbacks
  2. Running backs
  3. Wide receivers
  4. Tight ends