AFC West: Graham Harrell
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill WilliamsonJared from Portland wants to know if the Chiefs could go after veterans Marvin Harrison or Derrick Brooks now that Jason Taylor is off the market.
BW: Taylor would have been a good fit in Kansas City and I think Harrison would be a nice fit as well. But I'm not sure if he would want to go to a team where they need to rebuild. Brooks may not fit because the Chiefs are set at linebacker.
Big J from Sacramento wants to know if the Chiefs will spend some of that 30 million in salary-cap room.
BW: There may be a guy or two coming, but the free-agent market is thin. There is not a ton of high-impact players out there.
Raphael from Paris, France, wants to know if the Chargers could look at Mike Brown, who was recently cut by Chicago.
BW: I wouldn't be shocked if there is a marriage sometime before camp. I'm not expecting it, but there are some connections here. Brown played for San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera in Chicago and I know his name has been discussed in San Diego. But the Chargers may give sixth-round pick Kevin Ellison a chance to compete for a key role.
Joe from Los Angeles wants the Broncos to sign Graham Harrell, the former Texas Tech star.
BW: Harrell tried out at Cleveland's minicamp. He is still unsigned. I know the Broncos liked him before the draft, but Denver picked Fresno State's Tom Brandstater. So, it may be a little crowded in Denver's quarterbacks meeting room.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
On the eve of the NFL draft, here is an AFC West primer as we prepare for a busy weekend:
Will Kansas City trade down? The Chiefs have the No. 3 overall pick. The team would likely be interested in trading down for cost reasons. Many teams would probably want to move down but not many want to move up into the top five. If the Chiefs don't move down, they will likely take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. But that's the safe pick. New Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli likes to make splashes. So, his first draft move in Kansas City may not be by the book.
|Jody Gomez/US Presswire|
|Will former USC QB Mark Sanchez fall to Denver at No. 12?|
When will Denver take its quarterback? Denver will surely take a quarterback to begin the post-Jay Cutler era, but the question is when. The Broncos' workout with USC's Mark Sanchez this week was intriguing. If Sanchez is available at No. 12, Denver may be tempted to jump on him. Still, it is new Denver coach Josh McDaniels' tendency to take a quarterback in the late rounds because that's the way New England does it. McDaniels had success with late-round quarterbacks Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. McDaniels was enamored with quarterback Kevin O'Connell last year and New England took him in the third round. If Sanchez is not the guy in Denver, perhaps lower-round prospects such as Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Texas A&M's Stephen McGee, Louisville's Hunter Cantwell or Michigan State's Brian Hoyer will be McDaniels' next project.
With Tony Gonzalez traded to Atlanta, will the Chiefs continue to trade veterans? If Kansas City is going to part with Brian Waters, Larry Johnson or Glenn Dorsey, it will likely be this weekend. I think Waters may be the most likely to go. Here's a deal I think would work: Waters to Buffalo for receiver/returner Roscoe Parrish. Buffalo has shopped Parrish. He'd fit in with the Chiefs, as would Waters in Buffalo.
Will the Chargers pick up a second-round choice? It will not be a surprise if the Chargers move down from the No. 16 pick. The idea would be to choose lower in the first round and pick up a second-rounder in the process. The Chargers don't currently have a second-round pick. If the Chargers manage to get a second-rounder, I could see them getting a defensive player in the first round and hoping a running back such as Connecticut's Donald Brown is available in the second round. He could be a bargain pickup and a future successor to LaDainian Tomlinson.
Will these names end up in the AFC West? Look for these names in the first round: Michael Crabtree, B.J. Raji, Rey Maualuga and Tyson Jackson. I'm predicting at least one of these four players will end up in the AFC West. All four players are being looked at by multiple teams in the division. Crabtree, a receiver from Texas Tech, could end up in Kansas City or Oakland. Raji, a defensive tackle from Boston College, could end up in any of the four AFC West cities (although it would be a shock if he fell to San Diego). Maualuga could be drafted by Denver or San Diego. Jackson could be taken by Kansas City (he'd be a huge reach at No. 3, though), Denver or San Diego.
Will the Raiders break their unlucky 7 streak? The Raiders have the No. 7 pick for the third time since 2005. The number hasn't been kind to Oakland. In 2005, Oakland traded the pick for Randy Moss, who was sent to New England two years later for a fourth-rounder. The next year, Oakland bypassed Cutler (despite a need for a quarterback) and took Michael Huff. Huff has moved from cornerback to safety in the NFL and has yet to make an impact.
Will the 3-4 defense rule the draft? With Denver and Kansas City transitioning to the scheme and San Diego already using it, expect this to be a trend this weekend. Players who fit the 3-4 scheme aren't easy to find, but it will be a goal of both Denver and Kansas City to try to find the correct pieces this weekend. Denver could benefit from Aaron Maybin and Brian Orakpo falling down the draft board if Raji and Jackson rise up it. All four players will fit the 3-4.
Does Oakland like Crabtree or Maclin? I believe the Raiders want to take a receiver with their top pick. If Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin are both on the board, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Some people think Crabtree will be the choice, while others think Maclin will be the guy. Crabtree is considered to be a more complete player, but Maclin is a speedster. Crabtree has been compared to Larry Fitzgerald, whom the Raiders bypassed five years ago in favor of offensive lineman Robert Gallery with the No. 2 pick. Maclin has been compared to Cliff Branch, who was a star for the Raiders in the 1970s and 1980s.
Will San Diego take a standout defender? While the Chargers could use a running back and an offensive lineman, their greatest needs are on defense. Here are some names to keep an eye on: Maualuga, Jackson, Ohio State cornerback (he'd be a safety in San Diego) Malcolm Jenkins and Maybin. If Maybin, who could be a top-10 pick, is available, he would be a great fit in San Diego. With linebacker Shawne Merriman returning from a knee injury and Ron Rivera in control of the defense from the start of the season, the Chargers may be a top defender away from fielding an elite defense.
Could Chris "Beanie" Wells be headed to the AFC West? While it may be a mild surprise, it wouldn't be a shock if either San Diego or Denver (at No. 18) takes the Ohio State running back. It would be a luxury addition in both cities, but adding Wells could shake up the division offensively.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
My take: I agree, but I don't think the Broncos are going to use a first-round pick on Sanchez. I believe new Denver coach Josh McDaniels feels good about playing the 2009 season with Kyle Orton as his quarterback. I expect McDaniels to take a quarterback, perhaps Texas Tech's Graham Harrell or Texas A&M's Stephen McGee, in the late rounds.
My take: It could get crazier for Albert. If the Chiefs take a tackle with the No. 3 pick, Albert could be moved to right tackle. Albert is versatile and should be able to handle the move if it happens.
Tom Cable is talking up the tackles available in the draft.
My take: This is another reason why I think the Raiders are going to take a receiver, likely Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree if he is available. I do believe Oakland will draft a tackle early but it may not be with the No. 7 overall pick.
The Chargers need to take care of business early.
My take: The schedule quirk gives San Diego another reason to buckle down early. That should give San Diego a sense of urgency that it has been missing the past two seasons. San Diego has saved itself with late-season rallies in both of Norv Turner's two seasons as coach. This year, it needs to focus and it needs to win early.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Mid-week mail call:
Khaled Azimi from Fremont,Ca: Hey Bill, I was wondering do you think there is a chance that Aaron Curry can slip past the 6th pick? If he does, both Crabtree and Maclin available, what is the chance the Raiders will take him?
BW: I don't see it. Kansas City likely takes him at No. 3. If not Seattle (No. 4) or Cleveland (No. 5) would likely take Curry, who many scouts believe is the best defensive player available.
Anthony L. from San Diego: still nothing new about the chargers is osgood still on the trading block, new stadium in the works?
BW: The Chargers have been quiet. Osgood is still on the market but there hasn't been much movement.
Aaron from Syracuse: BW, we've heard about the new faces in the KC LB Corps, but what about our front 3? Is Hali really an effective enough end? How does Dorsey fit in? Are either of these guys on the trade block? What are the chances KC looks at Orakpo, Maybin or Ayers at #3 or in a trade down situation?
BW: Some scouts I've talked to don't think Hali or Dorsey fits the 3-4 very well. If the Chiefs wanted to trade Dorsey I think they could get a lot for him. He was very highly rated last year. Hali may be tougher to move.
Mike from Modesto: If the Raiders draft Crabtree and when there second pick is up and Darrius Heyward-Bey is still there do you think they would draft him too
BW: I could see it. The Raiders would likely jump on him but he'll likely be taken in the tail end of the first round where a lot of teams will be looking for receivers.
Fred from Anaheim: What are the chances of the Chargers trading up and selecting a Running back like Shonn Greene or LeSean McCoy in the second round.
BW: If the Chargers acquire a second-round pick, but may be through a trade back from No. 16 to compile picks. If that happens, I say San Diego could get a running back in the second round.
Mark from Denver: Hey Bill I was wondering where you would rank Texas A&M's Stephen McGee on the Broncos later round draft prospects? He is a smart guy (got his masters in business while playing at A&M) and a good arm. He just happened to be in a bad offense for his first three years and got hurt last year. Anyway he seems like the kind of guy that McDaniels would want to develop as an early second day pick. Your thoughts?
BW: I think he is a guy to look at. Josh McDaniels loved indentifying quarterbacks late in the draft. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell could also be a quarterback Denver examines on the second day of the draft. Denver will take a quarterback but the question is when? Given McDaniels' history in New England, it very well could be late in the draft.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Weekend mail call:
Ryan from Lincoln, NE: BW, What is your take on the Chiefs' defensive philosophy this season? I'm personally not a fan of the 3-4 but as your article about the Patriot Way moving to the West said this is the defensive scheme New England loves. If the Chiefs do take Aaron Curry where we he fit in a 3-4 scheme?
BW: It's what the brass is comfortable with. But it could take a while to establish the 3-4 defense. Some scouts don't think Curry, the best defensive player on the board, is a good fit for the 3-4. But, then, there are scouts who think he is a good enough athlete and is bright enough to adjust well to the move should Kansas City take him at No. 3.
Gabe from Las Vegas, NV: Hey Bill, I appreciate what you do for us fans in the information department. Let's say that Crabtree is available at the 7th pick. Would you be surprised to see the Raiders trade that pick for both their first round picks and attempt to pick up Darrius Heyward-Bey with one of them.
BW: Thanks, Gabe. No, I could see Oakland trading down for a couple of first rounders. But if Crabtree is there at No. 7, the Raiders will be very tempted to take him.
Nick from Denver: Hey, Do you think the broncos could draft Nate Davis in the later rounds. McDaniels likes to develope late rounders like Tom Brady and Matt Cassel. Do you think they would do that?
BW: I expect new Denver coach Josh McDaniels to indentify a quarterback in the late rounds to draft. That is the way Patriots do things and McDaniels (New England's former offensive coordinator) does things the way the Patriots do them. Perhaps Davis or Texas Tech's Graham Harrell could be a fit.
San Diego: BW I have read most of your blogs, as a charger fan I know they have some serious needs but who do you think they will really pick at #16, if all there options are there (Jenkins/Jackson/Rey M./ OHER)?
BW: If all four of those guys where there? I still say Rey Maualuga of USC, but the Chargers might be tempted to go after Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins if he was on the board.
Hass from Piscatway NJ: The more I think about the Jeff Garcia signing the more I wonder. It seems to be that the most logical explanation is to give Russel some incentive to practice harder. With Kerry Collins and Kurt Warner replacing two franchise quarterbacks last year Russell has to be aware that the same could happen to him. Maybe this is what will push him to finally develop into the quarterback the Raiders expected him to be when they drafter him. If this is holds to be true, taking this and the rest of the off season into account it seems like the Al Davis that built championship teams is back. P.S-being a Rutgers student I have to wonder, could you see the Raiders drafting either WR Kenny Britt or WR Tiquan Underwood or Saftey Courtney Greene?
BW: I think you are on the right track on Garcia. He is an insurance policy for JaMarcus Russell if he gets hurt or if he regresses. I think it was a smart move for Oakland. If Russell does well, Garcia will sit the on the bench with no issues. As for the Rutgers guys, I'd say Oakland could show interest in Britt in the second round if it doesn't draft a receiver in the first round.