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Monday, April 11, 2011
Looking for post-draft hints

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

The April 28-30 draft will occur before free agency unless there is a major development in the lockout. This will force each team to make some decisions prior to free agency and will give us an indication of what teams are planning to do when the lockout ends.

Here’s a look at each team in the AFC West:

Denver: The biggest question in Denver is if it will draft a quarterback. This affects Tim Tebow more than Kyle Orton, who could be traded after the lockout whether or not Denver drafts a quarterback. If Denver drafts a safety and a right tackle, it could mean trouble for safeties Brian Dawkins and/or Renaldo Hill and tackle Ryan Harris.

Kansas City: The way the Chiefs draft will likely shape how they pursue players in free agency. Whatever position the Chiefs draft early, they’d likely stay away in free agency. Among the areas the Chiefs will likely address in the offseason are pass-rusher, tackle, nose tackle and receiver.

Oakland: If the Raiders pursue a cornerback and/or a safety early in the draft, it could be a sign they are not confident about re-signing pending free-agents Nnamdi Asomugha and safety Michael Huff. If Oakland bypasses those positions in the draft, it could mean it still thinks it has a chance to keep Asomugha and Huff. If Oakland drafts a tight end early it would mean it doesn’t think likely restricted free-agent Zach Miller will return. But I doubt that will be the case.

San Diego: If the Chargers draft a running/receiver who is an also a return man, it will mean they are ready to move away from free-agent Darren Sproles. There have been signs that have been pointing that way. If San Diego drafts a safety, it could be an insurance policy in case it loses possible free agent Eric Weddle.