How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch

March, 18, 2010
3/18/10
1:00
PM ET
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Falling

Kyle Orton, Denver quarterback: The Broncos’ trade for Brady Quinn doesn’t mean Orton’s run as the team’s quarterback is over. But it isn’t a vote of confidence for Orton, either. The Broncos obviously would like to see Quinn, who struggled in three seasons in Cleveland, figure it out and become a solid quarterback. There is no timeline for Quinn to take over, but Denver clearly sees something in the 25-year-old slinger. Again, Orton is not in immediate trouble, but teams who are completely sold on their 27-year-old quarterbacks usually don’t trade for younger ones.

Rising

Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland quarterback: Gradkowski is going to battle JaMarcus Russell to be the Raiders’ starting quarterback. Gradkowski signed his restricted free-agent tender Monday (during a time in which many restricted free agents are staying away from their teams) and was in attendance for the first day of the team’s offseason workout program. Russell was not there Monday, but he showed up Tuesday in better shape than he was last year. Still, Russell has a lot of work to do to catch up to Gradkowski. He was preferred by Oakland offensive players last year when he replaced Russell and the fact that he signed his tender and will be with the team all offseason shows he ready to pick up where he left off last season. While other restricted free agents are staying away around the league, Gradkowski is determined to beat out Russell.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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