AFC West preseason player grades, Week 3


Preseason football is here -- and while wins and losses mean nothing, individual performances can mean everything. As the preseason slate progresses, Bucky Brooks will be assessing the performances of notable players, handing out grades to provide context for the prior week's on-field action.

Below, find report cards for one key player from each AFC West team following Week 3's preseason action.


DENVER BRONCOS: Trevor Siemian, quarterback. Poised to claim the Broncos' QB1 role, the Northwestern product delivered a solid performance against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, completing 10 of 17 passes for 122 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and he was subsequently named the starter on Monday. Although the second-year pro was far from perfect with his ball placement and decision making, Siemian effectively steered the offense while looking like a competent game manager for the Broncos. Considering the strength of the defending champs (defense and running game), it's little wonder he'll be under center when the regular season kicks off Sept. 8. GRADE: B-

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver. The rookie speedster is beginning to make his mark on the offense with his big-play ability on the perimeter. Against the Bears on Saturday, Hill snagged a 58-yard reception on an underthrown post pattern that showcased his acceleration, burst and ball skills. In addition, the fifth-round pick added an 11-yard run and capably handled return duties (an 18-yard kick return and a pair of punt returns totaling 16 yards). If the Chiefs are looking for more juice on offense and in the return game, Hill has to get more chances to touch the ball when the regular season opens in a few weeks. GRADE: B

OAKLAND RAIDERS: DeAndre Washington, running back. The undersized dynamo is making a strong push for playing time following a strong effort that should cement his status as the team's RB2. Washington shows explosive speed, quickness and burst as a change-of-pace back, as evidenced by his 31-yard run in the second quarter against the Titans on Saturday. The fifth-round pick out of Texas Tech also showed solid receiving skills on a 6-yard touchdown reception on an angle route against man coverage. (Yes, Washington coughed up a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, but quarterback Matt McGloin's decision making was mostly to blame for that.) As the Raiders put more on the shoulders of Derek Carr in his third season, the presence of a multi-purpose back with hands and speed could add another dimension to an already-explosive attack. GRADE: B+

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Melvin Gordon, running back. After enduring an onslaught of criticism following a disappointing rookie season in which he failed to score a touchdown, Gordon has hushed his critics with a solid preseason that's featured a couple of splash plays on the perimeter. Against the Vikings on Sunday, Gordon rushed for 51 yards on four carries, including a 39-yard score that showcased his speed and quickness. For a running back looking to regain his confidence after dismal debut season, the solid effort against a stingy defense could help him get a jump-start on his sophomore year. GRADE: A-



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