AFC West: Geno Smith

The Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are both in solid position in the second round, which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday. Oakland has the No. 42 pick (via a trade with Miami) and San Diego picks No. 45.

Denver, meanwhile, is slated to pick 58th, fifth-to-last in the round, while Kansas City does not have a selection, having sent its No. 34 pick to San Francisco in the the Alex Smith trade. (There is some chance the Chiefs get the No. 54 pick from Miami if the teams can yet work out a Branden Albert trade.)

There are some good players available in the top half of the second round. Let’s look at some of the players who may fit with Oakland and San Diego, respectively:


Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

San Diego


Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

What’s the ideal first-round scenario for each team?


The Broncos are in a decent position sitting at No. 28. Yes, all of the elite players will be long gone. But the Broncos can get better at this spot. Denver doesn’t have many pressing needs, but it can surely upgrade at a few positions. Among the spots Denver could use some help at are on the defensive line, running back, cornerback and middle linebacker. This is a deep class on the defensive line and at cornerback, and the better running backs and inside linebackers may be available late in the first round. Denver would love to see these players available at No. 28: Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, Florida State pass-rushers Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant and Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden. I think, at least, one of these players will be available. Thus, Denver should get a player it covets.

Kansas City

Since the Chiefs will start the draft with the No. 1 pick, they dictate the show. But we’ve long talked about this being a bad year for the Chiefs to have the top pick. After a tremendous quarterback class last year, this year’s crop is devoid of top talent. The Chiefs could still find talent at the top of the draft, but they would prefer to trade out of the top spot to collect more picks and get out of paying the highest rookie contract. For that to happen, some team will have to come out of the woodwork. Thus far, there aren’t many indications there will be a market for the top pick. But if some team falls in love with a specific player, the Chiefs would accommodate them.


The Raiders are in a similar spot as the Chiefs -- they want to trade down. In fact, Oakland likely wants to deal the No. 3 pick more than the Chiefs want to get rid of the No. 1 pick. Oakland badly needs to stock its roster. Trading the No. 3 pick may be easier than dealing the No. 1 pick. The price will be less and teams may be intrigued by the way the first two picks fall. So, I could see Oakland getting a suitable trade offer while on the clock. Oakland would love to still get a top-15 pick to get a top defensive talent and recoup its second-round pick lost in the Carson Palmer debacle. Now, if the Raiders don’t make a trade, they will be in good shape at No. 3. The Raiders badly need defensive talent. Among the top defensive prospects are Oregon pass-rusher Dion Jordan, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. At least two of those players will be available at No. 3, so Oakland will be sitting pretty.

San Diego

This is pretty simple: The Chargers want to see Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson still on the board at No. 11. But it may be iffy. The Chargers have a lot of needs, but no need is greater than at left tackle. The Chargers do not have a blindside protector for quarterback Philip Rivers. That’s scary. But there is no sure thing San Diego will find its left tackle in the draft. Top prospects Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will both be gone by the time the Chargers pick. Johnson has been a fast riser and there is a good chance he will be gone. Arizona at No. 7 is considered a strong landing spot for the super-athletic Johnson. The Chargers need quarterback Geno Smith to go in the top seven picks. If the Eagles take him at No. 4, it could push Fisher to No. 7 and Johnson to No. 11. If the Cardinals take Smith, Johnson could fall to the Chargers.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has offered another mock draft Insider in an Insider piece. This time, Kiper is going two rounds deep. Let’s take a look at his choices for the AFC West teams:

First round

1. Kansas City: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M,

My take: This looks like the most official pick at this point. Things can change, but it looks like Joeckel.

3. Oakland: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

My take: This is my choice as well. Taking Floyd would kick start a defensive revival.

11. San Diego: Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma

My take: It’s starting to look like Johnson might not be available. The key here is Kiper Jr. had Geno Smith going No. 4 to the Eagles. The Chargers would be thrilled if this happens.

28. Denver: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

My take: It fills a long-term need, and Hayden has potential. I think Denver would look for other needs first.

Second round

45. San Diego: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

My take: He is a fine player. This would be a good two-round haul for San Diego.

55. Denver: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

My take: That would be an amazing value if he fell. He was once considered a top-5 talent. There are concerns, but he produced in college.

Note: Kansas City and Oakland do not have picks in the second round.
Left tackle Branden Albert's absence from the Kansas City Chiefs' voluntary offseason program may be another sign the team is moving to trade him.

New coach Andy Reid and his staff were at the program Monday. Albert was not, even though he signed his franchise tag tender last month. These programs are voluntary, but players are encouraged to participate.

The Chiefs are shopping Albert and they have had some talks with the Miami Dolphins, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter has reported the Chiefs want a second-round pick this year and a conditional pick next year in return. The Dolphins have two second-round picks in this month’s draft and they have a need for a left tackle.

The Chiefs could use the No.1 overall pick in the draft on Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel whether Albert is kept or not.

With most key players there, Albert could be staying away because he thinks he is going to be traded. Either way, it won’t make the team happy that Albert is not participating.

In other AFC West notes:

Kevin Weidl looks at the first-round needs Insider of each AFC West team.

Matt Williamson grades the free agency of every AFC team. Insider The Broncos and Chiefs did very well, but not so much for the Raiders and Chargers, according to Williamson.

In a video, ESPN’s Adam Schefter discusses West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's visit to Kansas City Monday. I agree with Schefter in that I think the Chiefs are trying to drum up interest to deal their pick.

Giants receiver Domenik Hixon visited Carolina. He has visited the Raiders.

The Chiefs have cut backup linebacker Andy Studebaker.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers talks about the team’s offseason in a radio interview.
Flynn/PryorGetty ImagesGet to know these faces, as they are the Raiders' quarterbacks: Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor.

The Oakland Raiders’ reconstruction of their roster has hit the most important position on the field: quarterback.

The Raiders acquired Matt Flynn from Seattle for two draft picks Monday.

Like many of the changes this year, the move was fueled by finances, and it is difficult to argue whether Oakland has improved at the position. The Raiders are going to give Flynn, a quarterback who has spent five NFL seasons as a backup and started just two games, a chance to play.

Flynn -- who was in Green Bay for four years with Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie -- was Oakland’s backup plan to restructuring Carson Palmer’s contract. However, Palmer, 33, was reluctant to chop down his contract, so Oakland was forced to go elsewhere. He is reportedly in the process of being traded to Arizona for a low draft pick.

Yes, the deal does give Oakland some financial relief, although Palmer does count for more than $9 million in dead money on this year’s salary cap. But the move to acquire Flynn also cost the team some draft compensation, as Oakland will give Seattle a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 and a conditional pick in 2015. The Raiders have had a dearth of draft picks, and they didn’t want to lose any more choices. This is a franchise totally rebuilding, and it needs every pick it can get.

This move is a bitter one because Oakland gave up a first-round pick last year for Palmer, and it already owes the No. 35 overall pick in this month’s draft for him. These are all moves stemming from a desperation 2011 trade made by the previous Raiders regime.

The reality is the Raiders are now handing their quarterback position to a 27-year old player who is totally unproven. He will be learning on the job, and it also means the Raiders don’t believe in third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor yet.

Oakland is very much in the rebuilding process. If Flynn -- who didn’t get any interest elsewhere -- doesn’t pan out, Oakland will be starting all over again next year.

This trade is defining for four quarterbacks, including top prospect Geno Smith. Let’s look at how:


Let’s make this clear: Flynn isn’t a huge get. He is a backup plan. But who knows, now that he's finally getting a chance to play, he could be good.

I’ve heard people compare him to Rich Gannon, who of course became a star for the Raiders.

Flynn has skills. But what we know is that he will be a first-time starter at age 28 (his birthday is in June) by the time the season begins.

He's in Oakland only because Palmer didn’t want to be. But this is his chance. I know Flynn was terribly disappointed to see Russell Wilson come in and beat him out last year. He thought Seattle was his chance to start after sitting behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for so long. But once again, Flynn sat behind a better player.

The Seattle experience made Flynn a forgotten man around the league this year. No one else made a play for him once free agency began. Former Green Bay executive John Dorsey is now the general manager in Kansas City, and even the Chiefs ignored Flynn. Kansas City targeted Alex Smith all the way. Also, many in the league thought it was telling last year when Flynn’s offensive coordinator in Green Bay, Joe Philbin, never made a huge play for Flynn even though the Dolphins needed a quarterback.

To his credit, Flynn put up good numbers in a limited role with the Packers. Perhaps he will flourish in Oakland. ESPN's Matt Williamson thinks Flynn is a worthwhile endeavor for Oakland, but with limitations.

“I certainly understand the move,” Williamson said. “McKenzie & Co. are obviously very familiar with Flynn from their time together in Green Bay, but I hope they don’t think of him as the answer at quarterback.”


This trade is not a good sign for Pryor. This is a team that is in total rebuild mode. If the Raiders felt it was necessary to trade for an unproven quarterback instead of giving the ball to the third-year player who was already on the roster, it means the Raiders don’t think Pryor is ready for the job in any way.

That is a bit scary. When the Raiders thought Palmer would be in Oakland, McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen said Palmer was the starter, but Pryor would compete for the job.

I’m sure they'll say the same thing with Flynn in place. But this trade means the Raiders don’t believe in Pryor yet. He started the season finale last year, and though he was green, he showed some promise.

But the 2011 supplemental pick is still very much a work in progress. With Flynn coming in, the Raiders’ coaching staff will spend its time getting Flynn up to speed and Pryor will take a back seat.

If I were running the show in Oakland, I’d give the ball to Pryor and let him play. If he played well, the Raiders should have their answer at quarterback for the long term. If he played poorly, Oakland would know where it stands with Pryor in a season that likely didn’t have much promise anyway. Then Oakland could perhaps be in position to take a quarterback from what is expected to be a strong NFL draft crop next year.

Instead, the Raiders are rolling the dice on the veteran Flynn.


Let’s face it; Palmer doesn’t look very good as he leaves Oakland.

He reportedly refused to take his contract from $13 million down to $10 million because he didn’t believe in the Raiders’ chances. Oakland wanted him, but he didn’t want Oakland. Now it is being reported Palmer is slated to make $8 million from the Cardinals.

So he is OK with making less money with another team whose playoff hopes are small?

This is the second time Palmer has deserted a team. He basically retired from the Bengals in 2011. The only reason the Bengals relented and traded Palmer is because the Raiders offered so much for him in a desperation move when Jason Campbell was hurt.

At the time, Oakland head coach Hue Jackson, who triggered the trade and who is now an assistant in Cincinnati, called it the best trade in NFL history.

He might have been right. The Bengals got a steal.

This is an all-time bad trade by Oakland, and it has to go down as one of the worst in league history. For Oakland to be forced to get rid of Palmer weeks before the Bengals get to use a second-round pick for him is crippling.

Palmer put up some nice numbers in Oakland, but he never helped the team become a winner. He was 8-16 as the Raiders’ starter. Consider this: All-time draft bust JaMarcus Russell was 7-18 as the Raiders’ starter.

In the end, the Palmer experience was almost as disastrous as the Russell era.


One thing I like about this turn of events is that Oakland very likely will not be taking Smith, the quarterback prospect out of West Virginia, with the No. 3 pick in this month's draft. With so many other needs, the Raiders can’t afford to bring both Flynn and Smith onto the roster this season.

The Raiders have major needs on defense. That is where the pick should be spent, not on Smith, who is no sure thing.

There is a negative to this reality, though. The Raiders would like to trade down to get more picks. With the threat of Smith no longer being there, it could be more difficult trading the pick.

In the end, getting Flynn is a move Oakland didn’t want to make that has major repercussions. The team can only hope it works out.

Raiders' QB wait marches on

March, 31, 2013
As the Raiders wait for the Matt Flynn-Carson Palmer saga to unfold, a backup plan is now off the table.

Former Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb agreed to terms with Buffalo. He was reportedly being considered by Oakland if the Flynn trade doesn’t go through and Palmer doesn’t take a pay cut. The options are very few now if that scenario doesn't unfold.

Likely options would be bypassing massive defensive needs and taking West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the No. 3 pick. The Raiders could perhaps pursue Cleveland’s Colt McCoy, although he's not considered a starter. Oakland could also commit to third-year player Terrelle Pryor as the starter, but it doesn’t seem like the team is quite ready to go that route.

Right now, the main possibilities are Flynn and Palmer. The Flynn trade could go through in the next couple of days if he and the Raiders come to a contractual accord.

The Arizona Republic is reporting the Cardinals are not willing to give up much in a trade for Palmer. He is expected to be cut if he doesn’t take a pay cut.

Meanwhile, Cleveland reportedly has small interest in Giants receiver/returner Domenik Hixon. The former Denver draft choice visited the Raiders a few days ago.

Oakland Raiders draft options

March, 30, 2013
We have discussed extensively what the Kansas City Chiefs might do with the No. 1 pick. Now, leading up to the NFL draft (April 25-27), we will take deeper looks at possibilities for the three other teams in the AFC West. We start with the Oakland Raiders, who have the No. 3 overall selection:


Why is he a top prospect? He has a great combination of size, speed and athleticism and is a hard worker.

How would he help? The Raiders have a need at defensive end and he could be an immediate contributor.

What are the risks? Ansah will turn 24 in May and is still pretty raw. There are worries that the NFL game would be too big for him.

How he could be the choice: He’d probably be considered a surprise. He is looked at more as a top-10 selection, not a top-three choice. But if the Raiders think he is the best defensive end, he could be the pick.


Why is he a top prospect? He is a huge, athletic tackle who appears to be NFL-ready.

How would he help? He could be moved to right tackle and, along with left tackle Jared Veldheer, give Oakland a monstrous pair of bookend tackles.

What are the risks? Fisher comes from a small school and there is concern that NFL defensive ends could be too strong for him.

How he could be the choice: If the Raiders are bent on working on the offensive line, he could be the pick.


Why is he a top prospect? Great athlete. He has all the tools. Scouts think he can be a dominant player.

How would he help? He would slide right into the middle of Oakland’s defensive line and become an anchor on a unit that is being rebuilt.

What are the risks? His game film didn’t always live up to the billing. He might look better than he plays.

How he could be the choice: If the Raiders believe his ability is too much to pass up, and if he gets past the first two picks, I think Floyd can easily be the choice.


Why is he a top prospect? Ideal NFL left tackle. Hard worker, wants to be great.

How would he help? See Fisher.

What are the risks? Some worry that he might not be stout or mean enough to be a great NFL player.

How he could be the choice: Many think Joeckel is the best player available. If the Raiders agree and think he is too good to pass up at No. 3, he could be the choice.


Why is he a top prospect? Many people think he is the most productive and dynamic pass-rusher available.

How would he help? The Raiders are begging for a pass-rusher. They badly need one.

What are the risks? There are medical concerns (Jones has suffered from a narrowing of the spine), and he doesn’t have ideal speed.

How he could be the choice: He will probably drop, so he could be an ideal choice if Oakland trades down.


Why is he a top prospect? Great size and work ethic. Teams think he has a huge ceiling.

How would he help? Oakland needs great defensive players. Jordan could be one of the best players on this defense when he steps onto the field.

What are the risks? He might never reach his ceiling.

How he could be the choice: He is like Ansah -- a draft riser. But will he go as high as the third pick?


Why is he a top prospect? Great numbers across the board and he produces on the field. Very disruptive.

How would he help? Like Floyd, he’d fill a huge void on a rebuilding defense.

What are the risks? Medical evaluations at the combine discovered a heart issue, but Lotulelei has since been cleared. Still, teams will worry about his long-term health.

How he could be the choice: If Oakland feels good about his health and thinks Lotulelei is a better fit than Floyd, he could be the pick.


Why is he a top prospect? Many scouts think he is the best cornerback available. He has great speed.

How would he help? The Raiders are desperate for help at cornerback and Milliner could be a long-term solution.

What are the risks? Some scouts think that Milliner is not worth the No. 3 pick and that he might never become a great player.

How he could be the choice: If the Raiders believe they must get a young player at this pivotal spot, they could look to Milliner.


Why is he a top prospect? Classic pass-rusher. Long body, great athlete.

How would he help? Again, this team needs an impact pass-rusher.

What are the risks? He is raw and there is concern his great ability won’t translate to the NFL game.

How he could be the choice: If the Raiders believe Mingo has greater upside than most of the players on this board, I can see the fit. But right now, taking him with the No. 3 pick might be high.


Why is he a top prospect? He is the best quarterback available in a weak class. He has a good skill set.

How would he help? If Carson Palmer is cut and if the Raiders don’t trade for Matt Flynn and if they don't believe Terrelle Pryor is a long-term answer.

What are the risks? Scouts worry he will never be exceptional. There are a lot of question marks.

How he could be the choice: If the Raiders fall in love, Smith will be a Raider. There is no more important position on the field -- even if it means Oakland takes Smith instead of filling other needs.
Geno Smith may dictate whether or not the San Diego Chargers select a left tackle – it is their biggest need position – in the first round.

Geno Smith?

Take a look at Todd McShay’s latest mock draft Insider, and you can see how the future of the West Virginia quarterback could affect the Chargers’ draft board.

To make it simple, the Chargers may need to hope Smith gets past the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 1) and Oakland Raiders (No. 3). Both teams have been connected to Smith, although it is far from a sure thing Smith will end up in the AFC West.

However, in McShay’s latest mock, he has the Raiders taking Smith. Then, he has Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson going to Arizona at No. 7. If Smith is available, the Cardinals very well could take him. If not, perhaps Johnson will be in play.

That would sting San Diego. There is little chance left tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will be available when the Chargers pick. Johnson is considered the third-best left tackle prospect. But he is moving up boards because of his athleticism and because of his performances this draft season.

If he is available when San Diego picks, he very likely may be the selection. If not, the Chargers will be forced in Plan B mode. Taking another left tackle at No. 11 would be a stretch. Thus if Johnson is off the board, the Chargers may have to take the best available player or trade down. But left tackle would still be a glaring hole.

It could all hinge on if Smith goes to an AFC West team.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has offered another mock draftInsider in an Insider piece. This time, McShay is going two rounds deep. Let’s take a look at his choices for the AFC West teams:

First round

1. Kansas City: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M,

My take: This looks like the most official pick at this point. Things can change, but it looks like Joeckel.

3. Oakland: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

My take: This is very interesting. But with the Carson Palmer situation percolating, Smith may be the choice. Still, Oakland has great needs on defense.

11. San Diego: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

My take: This would be awesome value and the Chargers would have a nasty front three. But where is the left tackle? It’s the Chargers’ greatest need. But Lane Johnson is off the board, so I like the Star choice.

28. Denver: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame

My take: It could happen, but the Broncos also need a running back and a pass-rusher. But if Te’o is the best player on the board, he should be the choice.

Second round

45. San Diego: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

My take: There’s the tackle for San Diego. Is he ready to start? We’ll see, but he was a combine star. Great athlete.

55. Denver: Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut

My take: He’s an athletic weakside linebacker.

Note: Kansas City and Oakland do not have picks in the second round.
The Carson Palmer situation in Oakland is taking another turn.

Apparently, the Oakland Raiders are still willing to pay Palmer a load of money. But he may not be interested in making a lot of money with the Raiders.

Thus, it seems if the Raiders don’t pay Palmer $13 million, he may be willing to take a lot less and even become a backup elsewhere rather than play on a team that may be among the NFL’s worst in 2013.

Yahoo! Sports reported that the Raiders simply want Palmer to take a pay cut from $13 million to $10 million. That seems fair for a 33-year-old quarterback who is on the decline.

There is little chance Palmer will be paid $10 million. There are some teams, perhaps Arizona and Buffalo, that would pay Palmer a solid rate to start, but it's likely not as much as Oakland is willing to pay. Teams would be interested in him as a backup, but at a much reduced rate.

If it is true that Palmer is reluctant to be paid well to play for a team that may not compete, Oakland should cut him right away. The Raiders need a quarterback who believes in them, no matter the challenge.

Again, we don’t know what is actually on Palmer’s mind. But I do think it may be getting clear that Oakland will have a new starting quarterback, whether it’s Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor or Geno Smith.

In other AFC West notes:

The Denver Post thinks Robert Ayers or a draft choice may be the Broncos’ choices to replace Elvis Dumervil instead of Dwight Freeney and John Abraham.

The Eagles are reportedly interested in former Kansas City right tackle Eric Winston. The Chargers are interested as well.

The NFL Network is reporting defensive tackle Tommy Kelly is getting a “ton” of interest. The Raiders cut him Wednesday.
Andy Reid said he will do his due diligence before deciding on the No. 1 pick in the draft and he is doing it.

NFL Network reports the team will bring West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner in for visits. They went to the campuses of several other top prospects. None of this is a surprise. Reid said he would look at right to 10 prospects and Smith would be one of them.

The Smith visit will spark speculation that he is a favorite to be the No. 1 pick. The NFL Network report states Kansas City scouts are fascinated by him and think he can be a bigger Donovan McNabb. He, of course, was the No. 2 overall draft choice in Philadelphia in 1999. It was Reid’s first season there.

I don’t think the Chiefs are close to figuring out what they want to do. If Smith blows them away, he could be the pick. But right now I wouldn’t say he is the favorite. I still think it is Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel.

If Geno Smith was the choice, I wouldn’t have a big problem with it because the Chiefs don’t have huge pressing needs. So if they think they can get a great player, they should take it. Alex Smith was traded for to be the immediate starter and I think he will still be even if Geno Smith is taken. But Geno Smith could be stashed away. Remember, Kansas City general manager John Dorsey comes from Green Bay where that approach worked with Aaron Rodgers behind Brett Favre.

Still, I think Geno Smith would have to completely blow away the Chiefs for him to be the choice. Also, the team is interested in trading the pick. Talking up Geno Smith could be a way of drumming up interest.

In other AFC West news:

Former Oakland defensive back Michael Huff has agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. He replaces star safety Ed Reed. Huff is the second AFC West player the Ravens signed to rebuild their defense. Elvis Dumervil was signed earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post explains that Dumervil took less guaranteed money from the Ravens than what the Broncos were offering.

The Carson Palmer issue in Oakland may finally see some resolution, as it appears the Raiders' quarterback could be on his way out.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that it is "highly unlikely" Palmer will restructure his contract. Thus, the Raiders will have to decide on Palmer's future.

It would be difficult for the Raiders to keep Palmer at his current salary because he is set to make more than $13 million this season, and his salary cap number is more than $15 million.

With Palmer playing hard ball, he clearly thinks he can get more on the open market if Oakland does release him. Arizona is a potential suitor, and perhaps the Raiders could try to get something in return in a trade. But if the Cardinals know the Raiders are in a tough spot, Oakland will likely lose any trade leverage.

Cutting Palmer would be difficult for Oakland to swallow considering it gave up its first-round pick in the 2012 draft and its second-round pick this year in a trade the previous regime made in October 2011.

If Palmer is moved, the third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor could step into the starter’s role. Oakland likes Pryor, but coach Dennis Allen has been on the record saying Palmer is the starter for now.

If Palmer is cut, the Raiders could also consider taking West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, whom Oakland haas been reported to take interest in. The Raiders have the No. 3 overall pick in April's draft. That speculation will obviously only intensify if Palmer is out of the picture. Taking Smith would be risky because the Raiders have great needs on defense and there are some strong defensive prospects available.

But if Palmer gets cut, everything would be on the table.

Oakland could also bring in a veteran quarterback such as Jason Campbell even if it’s in as a backup role. Of course, that would be ironic. The Palmer trade was spurred when Campbell was lost for the season with a broken collarbone. The current Oakland brass didn’t make an effort to re-sign Campbell last year in free agency and he went to Chicago. There just aren’t many more backup quarterback options available.
As he gets to know his new team, Kansas City coach Andy Reid has looked back at old film to get a feel for his players.

To help get a feel for star running back Jamaal Charles, Reid studied film of the 2010 AFC West champion Chiefs, whose offensive coordinator was Charlie Weis. Reid said Weis’ offense is similar to his and he liked what he saw of Charles.

[+] EnlargeJamaal Charles
AP Photo/Jonathan BachmanOne can hardly blame new Chiefs coach Andy Reid for being eager to work with RB Jamaal Charles.
“Charlie kind of moved him around like we did with our guys [in Philadelphia],” Reid said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I did that just to see how [Charles] handled the quick passing game or the deep passing game from the wide receiver position. He handled it well. So that gives you another dimension that you know is in there that he wasn’t utilized … they just didn’t use it in him the last couple years.”

In 2010, Charles had 1,467 yards rushing and 45 catches for 468 yards receiving. It was his second- highest rushing season total and a career high in catches and receiving yards.

There have been questions whether Charles will fit with Reid because Reid is a pass-first coach. But he is also a smart coach. He knows Charles, who had 1,509 rushing yards last season, is special on the ground and Reid will use him. But he also will give defenses multiple looks at Charles.

Tiny receiver Dexter McCluster is another player who excited Reid. He said McCluster can line up all over the field. It will be interesting to see if McCluster can flourish in Reid’s offense.

“You know what, I kind of like him,” Reid said. “He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he’s got a heart of a lion. He’s got that MO, tremendous quickness and can catch. He’s pretty good at running the football, so there is a place for him. You line him up everywhere. You can move him around and kind of do some unique things with him.”

Reid was less expansive on his answers when the subject of 2011 first-round pick, receiver Jon Baldwin, came up.

“Baldwin is kind of a tweener,” Reid said. “He does have good, long speed, not great long speed. He’s somebody that needs to continue to develop. That’s a position that you need time to develop in. We’ll see how he does.”

Baldwin has talent, but reading Reid’s comments, I get the idea he isn’t exactly counting on Baldwin.

Reid reiterated that he will call the offensive plays.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated reports Jacksonville may consider taking West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the No. 2 pick. That could be good news for the Kansas City Chiefs who have the No. 1 pick. If the Jaguars are getting interested in Smith, it could create a trade market for the Chiefs.

Also, long snapper Thomas Gafford has reportedly re-signed with the Chiefs.

In other AFC West news:

Oakland safety Mike Mitchell is reportedly visiting Carolina.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid raised some eyebrows Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings when he said that West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is in still in the mix to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

That’s exactly what Reid wanted to do.

Did you expect Reid to tell the rest of the league that Smith is no longer an option? What good would that do?

If there is a team that loves Smith and wants to trade for him, the Chiefs might as well want that team to think it has to go all the way up to the No. 1 pick to get Smith.

The reality is the Chiefs are paying Alex Smith well to be the starter and they are paying Chase Daniel well to be the backup. I guess Geno Smith can join the mix. But I think the Chiefs would rather get a player who can help right away or they’d trade the pick.

But why say Geno Smith is out of the mix? That wouldn’t make sense.

Reid said he is studying eight to 10 players for the top pick and he will work out those players. Smith will likely be included. Again, why not? Do your due diligence. Maybe Reid will fall in love with Smith. Who knows what is going to happen in the next five weeks?

Reid also said there has been some conversations with other teams about the No.1 pick. I think we will hear more about that possibility in the coming weeks. The question is will the Chiefs get enough to deem a trade beneficial?
Here are some highlights from our AFC West chat, which was held earlier Thursday:


Ben from Boston: With all the moves Denver's made in FA, what do you think their top priorities are early in the draft? Seems like they need RB depth, an ILB, and some help in the pass rush.

Bill Williamson: I'm starting to think RB.

Kansas City

Drew from Iowa: Bill, any new thoughts on what the Chiefs will do with the #1 pick in the draft? Is it a possibility Arizona or Buffalo may trade up to draft a QB?

BW: Maybe the Geno Smith market picks up and the Chiefs could get some interest in the top pick. He had a good pro day today. That would be great for the Chiefs. (and Oakland at No. 3)


Dan from Rochester, NY: We all know that the Raiders don't have much money to spend. Why are they bringing in older players when they should be adding young players with at least some potential?

BW: Yeah, I'm a bit surprised by that too. Need younger guys who can develop. But they have a lot of holes so maybe the more the merrier at this point.

San Diego

Todd from San Diego: Did losing Vasquez really hurt the Chargers much? He never stood out and graded poorly at run blocking. I think they can get the same or better for less money.

BW: He's solid. Durable, smart. Plus, they need bodies. They didn't need losing one, especially to a rival.