AFC West: Akin Ayodele

The Denver Broncos are finally getting their health back.

Denver, which has been ravaged by injuries this summer, saw the return of running back Correll Buckhalter, cornerback Champ Bailey, receiver Demaryius Thomas, linebacker D.J. Williams and guard Chris Kuper. They are all on pace to be ready for the season opener Sept. 12 at Jacksonville.

The most significant news may come Wednesday when he team expects left tackle Ryan Clady to return to practice. Clady has been out since April with a torn patella tendon while playing basketball in April. The team is hopeful he can play by the start of the regular season. If an All-Pro player can be ready for the Jaguars, it will be a huge boost for Denver's offfense.

Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow is still not practicing with a rib injury that has kept him out of action since last Wednesday. It is unclear if Tebow will be ready to play Sunday against Pittsburgh.

McDaniels said linebacker Akin Ayodele was cut Tuesday because Mario Haggan is being moved back from outside to inside linebacker. Because Ayodele is going to be backup, the team thought it was better to keep a backup who can help more on special teams. Ayodele did start Denver’s two preseason games.

Meanwhile, Denver claimed tight end Kory Sperry off waivers from Miami. The Colorado State product was previously with San Diego. Denver also cut tackle Tyler Polumbus, who has struggled often this summer.
The Denver Broncos made a curious cut Tuesday by releasing linebacker Akin Ayodele.

Ayodele started the Broncos’ first two preseason games at inside linebacker and had eight tackles in those games, including six Saturday night against Detroit. Ayodele was signed to compete for a starting job during the draft weekend when Denver didn’t draft an inside linebacker early.

There has been no explanation why Ayodele was cut. Unless there was an off-field issue the team had with Ayodele, the Broncos probably cut him early to give him a chance to catch on elsewhere because they knew he wouldn’t make the final roster. Still, it's unusual for a player to start two games and then be whacked.

The Broncos have been high on Joe Mays since he was acquired in a trade for J.J. Arrington right before camp started and third-year player Wesley Woodyard has long been considered a potential standout by the team. It will be interesting to see what Denver does at the spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos keep their eyes open for a 3-4 inside linebacker on the waiver wire in the next couple of weeks.

AFC West mailbag

April, 28, 2010
Mid-week mail call:

Tom from Kansas City wants to know what I think of Scott Pioli’s draft in Kansas City.

Bill Williamson: I think Pioli did a solid job in his second year as the Chiefs’ general manager and top draft decision-maker. He played the board pretty straight and didn’t make too many wild decisions. He took four players from the SEC, which has been his history. I think the Chiefs got faster at key spots, and they continued to improve this offseason during the draft.

Ben from Columbia wants to know what I think of the Broncos signing Akin Ayodele, a veteran from Miami.

BW: I think it was a decent pickup, Denver jumped on him late during the final rounds of the draft Saturday. The Broncos didn’t draft an inside linebacker. Ayodele was the team’s top remaining veteran choice. He will compete with Mario Haggan for a starting inside linebacker job. Haggan has moved from the outside. At the very least, Ayodele will be a solid situational player.

AFC West draft odds and ends

April, 24, 2010
Assuming new quarterback Jason Campbell will start in Oakland, it will mean the team will have a new opening day starting quarterback for the sixth time in seven years. Oakland offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will be Campbell’s eighth coordinator in 10 years dating back to his college days.

Oakland coach Tom Cable is not ready to make Jason Campbell the starting quarterback yet. He does expect JaMarcus Russell to be at the team’s minicamp next week.

The Broncos are bringing in former Miami linebacker Akin Ayodele for a physical Sunday and will sign him barring any issues. He will provide depth at inside linebacker. Denver did not draft a front-seven defender. Coach Josh McDaniels said Denver has moved Mario Haggan from outside to inside linebacker.

McDaniels said the team will not add any veteran receivers. The team drafted receivers Demaryius Thomas in the first round and Eric Decker in the third round.

The only team in the division I see making a run at guard Alan Faneca is Oakland, but I’d say that is a long shot at best.

Defensive tackle Gerard Warren, cut by Oakland this offseason, has signed with New England.

Denver sent a fifth-round pick next year to Tampa Bay for two seventh-round picks this year.