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AFC West Roundup: Arrivals, Departures on Defense

Opposing AFC West defenses will have a different look in 2018.

Talented rookies are in, marquee names have moved on, and there's a new defensive coordinator in Silver and Black. Let's take a closer look at the division's notable arrivals and departures on D:

Kansas City Chiefs: When All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters was traded to the Los Angeles Rams this offseason, it signaled an overhaul to a unit that finished 28th in total defense last season.

To replace Peters, the Chiefs acquired cornerback Kendall Fuller in the trade that sent quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins. The team also signed David Amerson, who started 21 games at corner for the Oakland Raiders the last two seasons.

In addition to Peters, Kansas City cut ties with a pair of defensive staples: four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Tamba Hali. Johnson, 35, has since joined Oakland while Hali, 34, currently remains unsigned. Cornerback Darrelle Revis was also released after a six-game stint with the team.

Though notable defensive veterans have exited, the Chiefs will welcome back a couple of All-Pros. Safety Eric Berry returns after suffering an Achilles injury in Week 1 of the 2017 season. Defensive end Justin Houston has 21 sacks combined the last three seasons after posting a 22-sack performance in 2014.

An infusion of youth is coming to Kansas City, too. Though they were without a first-round pick, the Chiefs used five of their six selections in the 2018 NFL Draft to bolster the defense. They also signed 25-year-old linebacker Anthony Hitchens away from the Dallas Cowboys in free agency.

The Chargers will get an early look at the Chiefs' new-look defense in Week 1 of the regular season. Seven of Los Angeles' 15 turnovers last year came at the hands of Kansas City.

Oakland Raiders: A new head coach typically comes with a revamped staff. One of Jon Gruden's first moves was placing former Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in charge of a Raiders defense that ranked 23rd overall in 2017.

Guenther will inherit a unit not devoid of talent, though. Defensive end Khalil Mack -- a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro -- has racked up 40.5 sacks in four seasons. Strangely, just one of those sacks has come against the Chargers.

Mack forms a pass-rushing tandem with Bruce Irvin, who's notched 15 sacks in his two seasons with the Raiders. The team also improved their depth across the defensive line by selecting Sam Houston State defensive tackle PJ. Hall (second round), LSU defensive end Arden Key (third round), and Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (fifth round) in the draft.

It will be important for Oakland to generate a pass rush with largely unproven cornerbacks on the outside. Much will be expected from 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley, whose rookie season was cut short after two games with a shin injury. Rashaan Melvin, a free-agent signing from the Indianapolis Colts, is penciled in on the other side of Conley. He has 21 career starts in five NFL seasons.

Other notable free-agent additions to Oakland's defense include linebacker Tahir Whitehead and safety Marcus Gilchrist. Whitehead, who spent six seasons with the Detroit Lions, had 110 tackles in 2017. Gilchrist was drafted by the Chargers in 2011 and spent four seasons with the team. He started 13 games last year for the Houston Texans.

Denver Broncos: Although the Broncos finished 2017 with the NFL's third-ranked total defense, it wasn't enough to overcome inconsistent special teams play and an offense that averaged 18.1 points per game.

As a result, opposing offenses were awarded the best starting field position in the league against Denver's defense, per Football Outsiders. Improved quarterback play should help the unit's cause in 2018, but one of its most decorated contributors over the last four seasons is now elsewhere.

The Broncos traded Aqib Talib to the Rams, the second All-Pro corner this offseason to be shipped out of the AFC West to the Chargers' neighbor in Los Angeles. Talib will be replaced by Denver's 2014 first-round pick Bradley Roby, leaving newly signed Tramaine Brock as the No. 3 corner. All-Pro corner Chris Harris Jr. returns for his eighth NFL season.

Perhaps the biggest addition to the AFC West is a rookie. North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb fell to the Broncos at No. 5 overall in the draft. He'll form a pass-rushing tandem with All-Pro Von Miller -- comparable to what the Chargers boast with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

Miller, Super Bowl 50's MVP, has registered double-digit sack totals in six of his first seven seasons (83.5 career sacks). Chubb was first-team All-American and the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.

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