Roster vs. Roster: Raiders are light years ahead of the Chiefs in one important area of offense
We finally move into the last team in our Roster vs. Roster series where we compare the Oakland Raiders roster with the rosters of the rest of the AFC West. We’ve already hit the Chargers offense and defense as well as the Broncos offense and defense. Now, it’s time to move on to the most important team in the AFC West for the purpose of this exercise: The Kansas City Chiefs. Seen as the primary obstacle to winning an AFC West, the Chiefs are a serious threat to the Raiders and have owned them the past few years. But is the Raiders roster finally strong enough to win out? Let’s take a look:
The conversation about who has the better offensive roster begins and ends here in reality. On the one hand, you have Alex Smith who is the reason the Chiefs have become one and done choke artists in the playoffs. Smith is an above average game manager who cannot be trusted to put the team on his shoulders when need be. On the other hand, you have Derek Carr, possibly the single reason the Raiders won 12 games last year. Carr dragged the entire defense on his back while also carrying the offensive players at times as well. The Chiefs will always be limited with Alex Smith while the Raiders will be able to defy limitations thanks to Derek Carr.
Running Back: Raiders
Spencer Ware has shown to be a pretty good running back for the Chiefs. In fact, he had more rushing yards than anyone on the Raiders last season. But that was more due to the sharing of carries in Oakland than due to Ware being that much better than Oakland backs. Behind Ware, the Chiefs really didn’t have a whole lot to offer. Charcandrick West was the second leading rusher but was a big drop off from Ware. And after West you get to two non running backs (Tyreek Hill and Alex Smith) before seeing the next back in terms of the most rushing yards on the team. Meanwhile, the Raiders have two players who did much better than West in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington and whose yards per carry were much better than Spencer Ware. Both teams have a question mark when it comes to added talent, the Raiders with Marshawn Lynch and the Chiefs with draft pick Kareem Hunt. But before you get to those guys, the Raiders are already in a better position at running back.
Wide Receivers: Raiders
The Chiefs are VERY talented at the top of their wide receivers group with the terrible human being known as Tyreek Hill. Despite his poor character, Hill is a very talented football player and brings the Chiefs’ wide receiver corps up a level. But after Hill, there’s a big time drop off. Especially now that Jeremy Maclin is no longer on the team. Meanwhile, Hill might be the best wide receiver on both teams when you consider all he brings to the table in addition to being a pass catcher but the Raiders are far deeper at wide receiver. The one two punch of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree is probably one of the best duos in the league. Seth Roberts may be frustrating but he remains a solid number three and Cordarrelle Patterson just adds to the depth with an additional playmaker. After Hill, there really isn’t a whole lot to talk about with the Chiefs’ WR corps.
Tight Ends: Chiefs
This is where the Chiefs offense is better than the Raiders offense: Tight ends. Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the entire league. He is a beast that gave the Raiders and many other teams fits. He led the Chiefs in receptions and yards and doesn’t look like he is going to slow down in 2017. No one on the Raiders roster compares and while the combination of Jared Cook, Clive Walford and Lee Smith is a nice grouping, it’s not on the level of Kelce by himself.
Offensive Line: Raiders
Unlike with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, the Chiefs offensive line is actually fairly good. It’s young and promising but definitely not on the level of the Raiders. Given a few years, they might compete if their young players continue to grow and develop and if the Raiders struggle to find Donald Penn‘s replacement. But for now, the Chiefs offensive line might be the second best in the AFC West, but the distance between first and second in this category is HUGE.