AFC West mailbag

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
9:00
AM ET
Weekend mail call:

Shawn Patterson from Ames, Iowa, wants to know if the Kansas City Chiefs could pursue Alabama running back Mark Ingram in the first round to replace Thomas Jones.

Bill Williamson: Hi Shawn, I don’t see that happening for many reasons. First, the Chiefs have greater needs. If the Chiefs go for an offensive skill-position player with the No. 21 pick, I think they would draft a receiver not a running back. The Chiefs like Jones. Yes, he’ll be 33 this summer and his production dipped toward the end of the season. But the Chiefs love his leadership and he pairs well with Jamaal Charles. I think Jones sticks around for another season. I don’t see running back being an area of urgent need in Kansas City.

Stuart McNair from Montreal wants to know if there are any safeties in the draft Denver could focus on.

BW: It’s not a strong draft for safeties. But the Denver Broncos should be in position to take one of the better safeties on the board. It just depends on whether Denver thinks it’s a major need area in the draft. Denver pursued O.J. Atogwe before he signed with the Washington Redskins recently, so it’s obvious the team wants an upgrade at the position. Denver had three picks in the first 47 picks and four picks in the first 67 picks. I could see the position being addressed. The top safeties available are UCLA's Rahim Moore and Oklahoma’s Quinton Carter. They both should be taken in the early portion of the second round.

Keith Warren from Louisville wants to know if the Chiefs could go after San Francisco 49ers free-agent quarterback Troy Smith as a backup option.

BW: I think Smith will be on the list of backup quarterback options, but I don’t think he’ll be a favorite. I don’t know whether he’s a natural fit for what the Chiefs do. While it is not mandatory, often teams try to pair a starter with a backup who has a similar style of play for continuity reasons. Matt Cassel and Smith aren’t exactly the same type of player. I do think the Chiefs will consider an upgrade from Brodie Croyle, but I think they may look in the mid-rounds of the draft for a young quarterback to develop. They are reportedly going to work out TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. He'll probably be taken in the 2-3 rounds.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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