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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
AFC West mailbag

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Dan from Watertown, SD: Bill, I have been impressed with the passion that our defense is playing with, but as always, I feel compelled to think about "next year." People have talked about Haynesworth ending up in Denver, but what do you think the chances are of Julius Peppers getting there? I have no problem with the play of our D-tackles, but our pass rush is usually non-existent. With Peppers playing right DE, and Dumervil and Moss changing it up on the left side, this would take a lot of pressure off of the secondary. Also, Taylor Mays from USC could be that game-changing FS that Denver needs. I would like to know what you think? PS...keep up the good work!

BW: Thanks for the kind words, Dan. I think Denver could use help at both positions on the defensive line. Sure, Peppers would help but so would Haynesworth. The Broncos have long been looking for an anchor to the defensive front. Gerard Warren wasn't the answer. Dewayne Robertson may not be the answer so they are still looking. I'd say Haynesworth would be more valuable, but Peppers is no slouch.


Conrad from Parker: When DJ Williams comes back, what are the Broncos going to do with Woodyard who has looked fantastic?

BW: I'm not sure the Broncos even know the answer. They are in love with Woodyard and they will try to figure something out. I could see the Broncos trying to move him to the strongside next season.


Andrew from Kansas City: The Chiefs have shown promise. They often seem to miss just a key piece or two from the puzzle from being a much different team. Who do the Chiefs draft, and what sort of off-season moves do they make if any.

BW: I think they go heavy on defense in the offseason. I could see them signing a veteran or two, but the draft will be where the Chiefs continue to build. Expect defense and more defense, starting with the front seven. Kansas City's top priority will likely be a defensive end to give a spark an anemic pass rush.


Mark from Colorado Springs: If the 2006 draft was held over again, do you think Tennessee or Arizona would have taken Cutler over Young and Leinart this time around? With the Lions, Raiders, Bills, Texans, and San Francisco all having QB problems, should they have taken a harder look at him? I appreciate your thoughts.

BW: It's all hindsight, but there is no question Cutler is currently the best of the three quarterbacks taken in the top 11 picks in 2006. Young and Leinart are buried on the bench. Cutler will likely make the Pro Bowl. It's a slam dunk at this point.


Rick from Springfield: Bill, I am curious about your thoughts about what the Chargers will look for in the draft. They are in the same position that Denver has been in for several years. When you look at the roster there aren't any real holes but at the same time the results aren't good. It is hard to pinpoint the source of the problem.

BW: Here are some positions I could see San Diego looking at: Linebacker, safety, right tackle, guard. It could be a busy offseason in San Diego.


Scott from Boise: Bill, I have to say that as a Raiders fan I am extremely frustrated that Darren McFadden has not been more active in the Raiders' offense this season. I understand that he battled turf toe for several weeks, but even at full strength he has been limited. When Fargas went down he showed that he could be an every down back, yet they still won't give him the rock! With the amount of talen that is in the Raiders backfield it baffles me that they haven't used more pro sets, or putting him in the slot. This guy has the talent to build the entire offensive scheme around. What's the deal?

BW: I've written about it often. I'm with you, Scott. Oakland needs to use McFadden more. He was the No. 4 overall pick. He had three touches last week against San Diego. It's silly. This kid could be the future of the offense. The team needs to give him a chance to flourish as the season winds down so it knows how to use him going forward.


Josh from Denver: Bill, I noticed that Darren Sproles will be available after this season. Any chance that the Broncos would pick him up and drop some of the other backs we have?

BW: I could see San Diego trying to keep him. He is a valuable backup running back and he is an explosive returner. As far as Denver and Sproles go, I don't think he fits Denver's needs any more than he fits any other team.