Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
The question was a play off our Ultimate Building Blocks feature from last week, which I ranked the 10 players in the AFC West I'd try to draft to win a Super Bowl in the next three seasons. I wanted you to give me your list.
I can't argue with those picks at all. Rivers was my No. 1 pick and Clady was No. 3.
I was blown away how NFL-ready Clady was as a rookie last season, but I still maintain Rivers is the top player to build around in the division. It all revolves around quarterbacks and Rivers, who is 27, is a standout. He is getting better. He is all the intangibles. He certainly has Super Bowl-winning potential.
And that's why he was the top pick on my list. Below are some of your responses. Thanks to all of those who participated:
Matthew Donovan: Asomugha (or Champ Bailey if healthy). There are only a handful of shutdown corners in the NFL, not nearly enough for every team to have one. I think other positions can be filled with role players. Rivers is very good, but the only QBs that are true building blocks are Brady and Manning. I think you can find a veteran free agent to do as well as Rivers (see Arizona and Tennessee)
Raphael from Paris, France: Any time you build a franchise from scratch, the first move has to be the QB. Philip Rivers is way above the others in the division, and would have been the choice even if Jay Cutler was still in Denver.Here's my list with a few explanations :1. Rivers, QB2. Ryan Clady, OTYou need to protect the QB for him to make plays, and Clady looks like a future star. I just have one reservation : is he looking good because the pass-rush in the AFC West was terrible in 08?3. Nnamdi Asomugha, CBHow about the best player in the entire division?4. Shawne Merriman, LBWith those two feared defensive leaders, this defense looks already scary.5. Dwayne Bowe, WRBowe is better than Jackson and he's a team player, unlike the more talented Marshall.6. Michael Bush, RBSurprise ? Bush is amazingly underrated and could be the next Michael Turner. LT's too old, Moreno's unproven, McFadden is a new version of Reggie Bush. I go with a burner.7. Kirk Morrison, LBSolid presence in the middle, and only 27 years old.8. Luis Castillo, DLWhen healthy, Castillo can make big plays.9. Antonio Gates, TEGates can flat out dominate when healthy and will go straight to Canton once his career is over.10. Branden Albert, OTI could go with McNeill being a charger fan, but he's got back problems. Albert looks safer.
Dennis Hassell from Toronto, OH: Champion Players from AFC West:Charger Candidates with years left in the battery: Darren Sproles SDShawne Merriman SDAntonio Gates SDJamal Williams SDAntonio Cromartie SD
Thomas from Alpine, CA: I'll take Philip Rivers. Since he got the starting job he has done nothing but win. Despite the fact that the other two big Qb's from the '04 draft have rings, I think Rivers may be the best. Rivers could have taken the Chargers to the Super Bowl any of the last 3 years and he's going to get over the hump eventually. A young, elite quarterback, who has never missed the playoffs is a great building block for a Super Bowl team. Keep up the good work, Bill. Thanks.
Chris from San Diego: I would have to go with the two guys from the chargers. I dont see how you build your team around a CB in Nnamdi. Merriman is one of the best LB's in all of football and he is one of the youngest. Two guys that are young and are complete leaders cannot be questioned.
Ken Katz from Pittsburgh, PA: Undoubtedly Philip Rivers. There is NO one in the division quite like him. He is the heart and soul of the SD Chargers and will ultimately take his team to SB victory (this year I believe). A close second is Shawne Merriman; but he has to prove his return this year.
Nate from New Orleans/LA: My Building Block pick has got to be Ryan Clady. If your starting a team from scratch start with the line. It'll help your young/new QB new RB's and is a foundation that should stand for a decade.
Kevin from San Diego, CA: Hi Bill- I'll start off saying that I am indeed a Charger fan. But all biased aside, there is no one in the AFC West that you would choose over Phillip Rivers if you were building a team from scratch. I would place him in the top 5 players to start a team from scratch. (Brady, P. Manning, Rothlisberger)He is only 27 years old with 2 of his NFL years spent on the bench. He has showed that he can play hurt. He has brought the team back on numerous occasions, and I think it is safe to say that the defense has let the team down in a couple of vital playoff games. Phillip Rivers' will, heart and desire to win are all attributes of a top notch quarterback in the NFL.
Scott from NYC: 1. Philip Rivers (SD) - Have to agree that he is the top QB and will likely only get better.2. Shawne Merriman (SD) - Assuming I would be running a 3-4, nobody comes close to his skill level and game changing ability in the AFC West.3. Nnamdi Asomugha (OAK) - With Merriman rushing the passer and Nnamdi shutting down the opponents top wide out, this would already be a tough defense.4. Ryan Clady (DEN) - Could solidify the left side of your o-line for the next ten years.5. Dwayne Bowe (KC) - Besides Marshall, Bowe is probably the best wideout in the division and onlygetting better - With all of Marshall's off the field issues, I would take Bowe.6. Darren McFadden (OAK) - Although some say he may never be a three-down back, I think he will suprise a lot of people and put up ridiculous numbers this year. 7. Vincent Jackson (SD) - Big target and already developing great chemistry with Rivers - With Bowe and Jackson at wideout the passing offense will be set.8. Glenn Dorsey (KC) - Every good 3-4 needs a dominant NT and if Dorsey can develop he can be be just that.9. Michael Bush (OAK) - Moreno might be a better player after this year but right now Bush has proven more and is a perfect fit with Darren McFadden.10. Antonio Cromartie (SD) - If he return to his best form then this defense will feature two shutdown corners, a run stopping NT and a pass rushing OLB.
Philip from Stockton, CA: Eliminate Knowshon because the best running
back can't win you a championship alone(Barry Sanders). I wouldn't build around a receiver just because they usually never lead a team and I don't really believe in these receivers as solid building blocks, so eliminate them. Philip Rivers is good, but he takes no risks, which is why I believe he'll never win a championship. Cassel benefited greatly from the Patriot's system, which I don't see him replicating. Shawne Merriman is damaged and will probably never be 100%, so that leaves Asomugha and Clady(Gates I include with receivers). Asomugha is great but can, at best, cover only half of the field; whoever they other corner will be thrown to more. Clady is an amazing talent at such an important position. With him, the QB never has to worry about his blindside. A great LT is a perfect foundation to build your team around.
Jorry: Im a Cheifs fan here, and if i had to choose one player from the AFC West to build around it would be Denver LT Ryan Clady. The kid is a great player. He is everything you want in an offensive lineman and especially in a LT. Your QB and passing offense cant be successful unless your LT can protect your QB.
Adam from Des Moines, IA: My team would look a little like this...QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego ChargersRB - Darren McFadden, Oakland RaidersWR - Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City ChiefsOT - Branden Albert, Kansas City ChiefsOT - Ryan Clady, Denver BroncosDT - Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City ChiefsDE - Tyson Jackson, Kansas City ChiefsOLB - Shawn Merriman, San Diego ChargersOLB - Larry English, San Diego ChargersCB - Brandon Flowers, Kansas City ChiefsMind you this is what it would look like 2010, 2011, 2012.
Ryan from Hagerstown, MD: Here is the ten i would pickQB: Philip RiversLB: Shawne MerrimanDT: Jamal WilliamsWR: Brandon MarshallTE: Antonio GatesRB: Darren SprolesRB: Justin FargasCB: Nnamdi AsomughaCB: Quentin JammerWR: Vincent JacksonCB: Champ BaileyMy choices are pretty much self explanatory but I picked Sproles and Fargas for a nice one two punch in the backfield. I took 3 outstanding corners because the NFL is becoming a pass first league and with these 3 corners it would make it difficult to pass on this D.
Alex from Sioux City, IA: Ryan Clady deserves to be #1. He is the most dominate player in the division, and going forward is going to be the elite left tackle in the NFL. The guy they call "Sweet Feet" should be ranked ahead of Rivers and Nmamdi because he is much younger and much more upside going forward
Rev.Ned from Phx, AZ: One would think a QB would be the first position
taken when building a team, but if a QB is getting hit and hurried all game it could make for a LONG day. Thats why I would start my franchise with a beast named Clady. He will make any QB Denver starts just a little bit better with his protection and is a RB's dream!