INDIANAPOLIS — When Mike Mayock took over as the new general manager of the Oakland Raiders, the first thing he did involved a transformation, and it had nothing to do with his own roster.
"I had them take all the blinds down and everything else, and I’ve got an entire wall of just the AFC West," Mayock said. "Their rosters, their
practice squad, everything, depth charts, all up on one wall. Magnetic names, just to reinforce to me every day the challenges we have."
The names of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce came immediately to Mayock's mind when he rattled off the names on his wall that worry him the most.
"The entire division when you look at depth charts of both sides of the ball with their rosters, we got a huge challenge ahead of us," Mayock said.
Vic Fangio, the defensive mastermind tasked with stopping the Chiefs as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos, sees Kansas City as the biggest test in the division.
"I see talent," Fangio said of the Chiefs' offense. "That’s the first thing I see when I look at them. Mahomes is obviously a great, great talent. He can make plays from the pocket and, obviously, outside the pocket with a great arm, and he’s got good creativity."
Fangio said Mahomes possess a "good athletic arrogance" that allows him to maximize his talent.
"Then, the speed they have out at receiver and tight end, running backs, they’re the team to beat in our division," Fangio said.
For Mayock, the challenges of playing in the AFC West also includes facing tough defenses too. He argues the division includes the best collection of edge rushers around.
"You start talking about what Kansas City has had, you talk about what the Chargers have, you talk about that monster (Von Miller) in Denver, so we are very aware of the challenges in our division. We think they might be the most significant in the league.”