AFC West: Jonathan Wilhite

Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly told the Oakland Tribune he is “assuming” the team will stick with a 4-3 defense based on meetings in the first week of the offseason program.

The Raiders’ scheme had had a mystery about it because new coach Dennis Allen said the team hadn't decided on what defensive front to use. He said a decision would be made after the draft. But Allen has said the team would use multiple fronts and that is possible because Oakland has a lot of versatile defensive players.

I believe him, but a team has to have a base defense and there have been indications it will remain a 4-3. The truth is, few (if any) players taken with the No. 95 pick in the draft would have any bearing on an entire defensive scheme this far along in the offseason.

The Raiders gave a strong hint they would stay a 4-3 defense when they signed strongside linebacker Philip Wheeler. He is considered a pure 4-3 player.

In other AFC West news:
  • Denver is reportedly showing interest in Chicago free agent defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. The Broncos just visited with defensive tackle Justin Bannan, who previously played in Denver.
  • Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer is excited about the Raiders’ playbook. It is Palmer’s first foray into the West Coast offense.
  • Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe likes what he sees from the Chiefs’ free-agent additions.
  • Former Denver cornerback Jonathan Wilhite signed with Chicago.
  • John Elway is among the Broncos looking at Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler on Friday. I could see Denver jumping on Osweiler as a project in the third round.
  • Dennis Allen talks about the challenges of being a head coach in a radio interview.
This one will get the blood boiled in the Raider Nation.

ESPN’s panel of experts all pick Denver to beat Oakland on Monday night. That’s stunning to me. I had to recheck it four times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I think Oakland has to be considered the better team going into the season.

I’m not saying Denver doesn’t have a chance, but I would have thought most of the panel would have picked Oakland. Again, I’m not on the list, so save the venom for others this time. But check out the link. Good things are expected from San Diego and Kansas City in Week 1.

In other AFC West nuggets Thursday afternoon:
  • Gene Wojciechowski’s annual NFL prediction column on is in. There are some AFC West thoughts here in this fun, snappy read.
  • Oakland receiver Chaz Schilens feels healthy and expects to be able to help Oakland at Denver on Monday.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Denver put a waiver claim on former New England cornerback Darius Butler. He was claimed by Carolina, the only other team with a higher waiver priority than the Broncos. The Broncos clearly feel like they need to improve their cornerback depth. They signed former New England cornerback Jonathan Wilhite earlier in the week.
  • The Chiefs added tight end Kyle Lewis to the practice squad. He spent some time with the Saints last season. Offensive lineman Butch Lewis was cut from the practice squad to make room for Lewis.
Say good-bye to the final piece of the Denver Broncos' three-player second round class of 2009.

Denver waived safety Darcel McBath on Sunday. To replace him Denver signed cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. Wilhite is a fourth-year player who had nine starts for the New England Patriots before being cut. He was a fourth-round pick from Auburn in 2008.

McBath was taken along with cornerback Alphonso Smith and tight end Richard Quinn in 2009, during Josh McDaniels’ first year in Denver. Denver traded its 2010 first-round pick in order to pick Smith.

Smith was traded to the Detroit Lions last season and Quinn was waived/injured this summer.

Denver also announced its eight-man practice squad. Here it is:

Player Pos. College Exp.

Jeremy Beal DE Oklahoma R

D'Andre Goodwin WR Washington R

Adam Grant T Arizona R

Jeremiah Johnson RB Oregon 2

Kyle McCarthy S Notre Dame 2

Eron Riley WR Duke 1

Austin Sylvester FB Washington R

Adam Weber QB Minnesota R