AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs


For Broncos TE Albert Okwuegbunam, it has been a rocky start to his career. He tore his ACL in his fourth career game and has spent time rehabbing on the bench behind former teammate TE Noah Fant.

Now, Albert O will have the chance to prove himself during the preseason, as he will compete to be the No.1 TE on the roster.

“I saw with Noah being traded — I think that it’s good for him. He gets a good opportunity, a fresh start in Seattle,” Okwuegbunam said, via “I love Noah. Obviously, that opens up a big opportunity for me. I’ve just been focusing on that and approaching every day with that opportunity and having that competitiveness. Overall, just trying to be the best tight end that I can be and compete for that No. 1 role.”


The Chargers declined DL Jerry Tillery‘s fifth-year option this month, but GM Tom Telesco said previously Tillery would still have a big role with the team. However, HC Brandon Staley was far less committal, citing Los Angeles’ offseason additions at the position. 

“He’s going to fit into that competition of guys that’s going to have to earn a role,” Staley said via the Athletic’s Daniel Popper. “I think that during this springtime and during training camp, all those guys are going to have to really duke it out to establish themselves. Sebastian [Joseph-Day] and Austin [Johnson] are proven NFL players. They’re proven NFL players. Khalil Mack’s a proven NFL player. Derwin James is a proven NFL player. Then there’s a bunch of guys that are trying to prove themselves, to earn their way in the league. And I would put him in that category.”


Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes said everybody will have to step up to mitigate the loss of Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill. Mahomes said that TE Travis Kelce, WR J.J. Smith-Schuster, and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling will all have significant roles in the offense.

[Valdes-Scantling], JuJu some of those guys were down there every day, pretty much,” Mahomes said. “And I think the first day [of OTAs], JuJu had a big day — he got a lot of big catches down the sideline. And then the second day Marquez got a big day. And so, I think that’s what you’re going to see from this offense this year, is it’s going to be everybody. It’s not going to be one guy. And, obviously, Travis is still going to get a lot of completions, a lot of yards. But I think the whole receiving room is going to have big days. And I think that’s something we can use to our advantage.

Mahomes believes that adding more weapons to the teams receiving core will help schematically because opposing defenses won’t be allowed to focus on one or two players.

I think you saw last year, defenses had started to formulate a good game plan — at least at the beginning of the season — of trying to kind of maintain stopping Tyreek and stopping ‘Trav.’ And we had to find ways to have success other ways so we could get those guys open,” Mahomes said. “I think this year, we’ll become different where you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the deep ball from, you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the short pass from because we have a lot of different guys that can do it all. I think having all those guys, I think it’ll help us get more of those deep throws that we’ve been accustomed to.

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