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Denver Broncos offensive line has gotten a whole lot lighter and younger

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There are two distinct approaches to the kind of offensive line that will be fielded in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos went with younger and lighter linemen.

NFL: AFC Championship-New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't too long ago that the Denver Broncos shifted drastically from the zone blocking scheme to the power run. The shift brought in offensive lineman who tipped the scales well over 300 pounds. Well, not anymore.

The Broncos offensive line is projected to be the 21st heaviest in the NFL this year. The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers top the list with an average weight of 327 pounds, which would not appear to bode well in a division filled with speed rushers. The Kansas City Chiefs have taken the same approach as the Broncos as both teams came in between 313-315 in average weight.

Not only that, the average age along the offensive line is just 26.4 years. This puts the Broncos in the top 12 for youngest offensive lines in football. The Raiders and Chargers, again, are focused on veteran lineman with an average age approaching 30 years. The Chiefs, like the Broncos, are much younger up front.

Additionally, John Elway has committed just $13.6M in cap space to the offensive line, putting the Broncos 30th in the NFL in that category. The Chiefs came in 28th, while the Raiders have spent the second most in the NFL on those positions.

What does this all mean? It means there are two philosophies at play in the AFC West. The Broncos and Chiefs want young, athletic lineman, while the Raiders and Chargers are looking for experience and strength.

In a division with reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller who is paired with three other elite outside pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray, and Shaquil Barrett, Chiefs Justin Houston, Raiders Khalil Mack, and Chargers Melvin Ingram, offensive line play could determine the outcome of several of these inter-divisional games. The opposing offensive line philosophies here could decide the AFC West.