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NFL Preview 2019: Ranking top five AFC West wide receivers ahead of 2019 season

NFL Preview 2019: Ranking top five AFC West wide receivers ahead of 2019 season

The AFC West has the potential to be lit in 2019, the Joe Flacco-led Denver Broncos notwithstanding.

Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers will bring back high-powered passing attacks, and the Raiders -- who added Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Ryan Grant -- should have an electric passing attack as well. 

With a glut of star pass-catchers and talented quarterbacks, there should be no shortage of points out west this coming season.

The 2019 NFL season is a mere two months away, so let's take at the top five wide receivers in the AFC West. 

Antonio Brown, Raiders

Duh.

The Raiders hit a home run when they acquired arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown, who has had at least nine touchdowns and 1,200 yards receiving in each of the past five seasons, has been working diligently to develop chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr this offseason. His presence in the Raiders' offense should allow Carr to throw the ball down the field more often -- something he wants to do -- and should make the Silver and Black's passing attack something for opposing defenses to fear. 

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

This is a hill I'm willing to die on.

Yes, I am aware of Tyreek Hill's existence and his explosive ability in the Kansas City Chiefs' offense. Yes, I still would rather have Allen on my team. While the Cal product isn't as explosive as Hill, he has accounted for 1,393 and 1,196 yards, respectively, in each of the last two seasons and scored six touchdowns in each of those campaigns. He's a bigger target, more effective in the red zone and has been incredibly productive when healthy for the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Let's start with the obvious. Tyreek Hill should not be allowed to play in the NFL if the allegations of child abuse prove true.

Should Hill take the field come September, and I suspect he will (there's no justice in the NFL), he's one of the most electric weapons in the game.

After tallying 87 catches for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, Hill could have an equally explosive 2019 with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes tossing him the rock.

Hill is a special player who can impact the game with the ball in his hands and as a decoy, and the Chiefs utilize him to perfection. 

Tyrell Williams, Raiders

The Raiders' wide receiver spree didn't stop with Brown, as the Silver and Black snaked one of their rivals' best weapons when they added Williams.

The 6-foot-4 receiver was productive in his four seasons with the Chargers, totaling nine touchdowns and 1,371 yards over the past two seasons.

He's a big vertical threat who is a crisp route runner with impressive speed. There's no reason for him not to put up big numbers opposite Brown.

[RELATED: Ranking AFC West rushing attacks ahead of 2019 season]

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

The Clemson product had a rocky first season with the Chargers but was solid in his sophomore campaign.

The young receiver caught 43 passes for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. His role only should grow this season with Tyrell Williams departing for Oakland.

NFL rumors: Antonio Brown's quest to wear preferred helmet hits a snag

NFL rumors: Antonio Brown's quest to wear preferred helmet hits a snag

Antonio Brown’s camp thought the superstar receiver’s quest to wear his preferred helmet was nearing its end.

Not so fast, apparently.

Brown wants to wear a Schutt Air Advantage helmet, a version of headgear he has worn, in one model or another, since high school. It has been discontinued and is more than 10 years old, making it ineligible for certification.

Brown was told he could use the Schutt Air Advantage if he could find one made less than 10 years ago. He would then have to get it re-conditioned and re-certified.

The star Raiders receiver crowd sourced his helmet search, and found some that were made more recently.

The NFL tested a helmet made in 2010 that Brown’s camp submitted and, according to Pro Football Talk, the helmet failed the test. Brown was reportedly told of the failure on Saturday. Brown also has one from 2014 that was certified by an independent body, but it has not yet been recently tested by the NFL.

PFT also reports that Brown will continue his quest to wear the helmet he prefers.

The receiver, who squashed all talk of retirement over this helmet issue, said Thursday night that he would work within the system to get a helmet that works for him.

[RELATED: Brown shows great retention during practice]

“I’m still trying helmets right now,” Brown said after the Raiders beat Arizona in their preseason game. “As long as the league certifies them, those are the ones I’m trying out. I’m trying out every one I have. There have been a lot of great fans sending helmets. I’m just following protocol, man. I’m just excited to be back. You’ll be seeing a lot of me here shortly. I’m just excited to be around my teammates in the building and reached the shared goals we’re here to achieve.”

Derek Carr, Raiders' frontline starters might be done playing in preseason

Derek Carr, Raiders' frontline starters might be done playing in preseason

NAPA – Derek Carr has said he doesn’t need much preseason work to prepare for games that actually count.

That’s a plus for the Raiders quarterback. One drive might be all he gets.

Head coach Jon Gruden said his surefire starters might be done playing in the preseason, even with two exhibitions left.

The preseason finale’s never played by major contributors. The third preseason game often represents the most extensive action starters see, but that might not be the case Thursday against the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg at IF Field. The venue has artificial turf, and houses a CFL team and a professional soccer club, with both franchises currently in season.

“We’re looking into the surface that we’re playing on, and we’re not sure how much we’re going to play our starters,” Gruden said on Saturday. “We don’t have 22 starters in ink yet, either. There are going to be guys vying to become starters, but some of the frontline guys will be very limited in the next two weeks.”

That includes Carr, running back Josh Jacobs and receiver Antonio Brown, just returning after suffering frostbite on his feet. The starting Raiders offense was efficient in Thursday’s win over Arizona, quickly scoring a touchdown on its only drive. The top defense played four series and shut the Cardinals down, getting in quality work as a unit.

If the playing surface in Winnipeg is a cause for concern, expect Gruden to play it safe with his roster’s best.

Preserving health in the preseason was underscored by Friday news that the Chargers lost Derwin James for at least three months. The Raiders already are without right guard Gabe Jackson for the season’s first quarter at least. They don’t want to put any other big names at unnecessary risk.

There’s logic behind shutting Richie Incognito down in games, and backing him off some in first-team work. He has to serve a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and the Raiders will start preparing his replacements for early-season action.

“We’ve seen him enough,” Gruden said. “He’s played enough football. I don’t think we need to see him pull on power anymore. I think he’s good.”

[RELATED: What has impressed Carr most about Raiders rookie Jaocbs]

Jonathan Cooper’s the front runner to play left guard at this stage, though Denzelle Good (back) came off the physically unable to perform list Saturday and will challenge Cooper if he can get ramped up over the preseason’s final few weeks.

“We’re going to ease him back in,” Gruden said. “That’s huge for us. With Gabe injury and Richie’s situation, it’s good to have Denzelle close to returning.”