AFC West: Stephen McGee
Tackle Khalif Barnes (groin), tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (foot) remain out for Oakland. Spencer might be ready to practice next week.
The Chargers will reportedly visit with former Chicago tackle Chris Williams. The former first-round pick was cut this week and he has visited Philadelphia and Arizona. San Diego’s interest makes sense. The Chargers could use some depth at the position. I don’t think Williams is a top priority, but giving him a chance to develop in a new environment may be worth looking into.
The Chargers worked out former Dallas quarterback Stephen McGee on Thursday.
Here’s more news of fan violence. Really, this has to stop. It’s going on way too much across the professional sports landscape.
Oakland’s game against Jacksonville will be televised locally.
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
Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee will visit the Broncos.
My take: This is a player to keep on an eye on. The odds of McGee ending up in Denver may be as strong as USC quarterback Mark Sanchez ending up in Denver. New Broncos coach Josh McDaniels likes to identify quarterbacks late in the draft and McGee could be a project-type player who intrigues McDaniels. McDaniels is high on Kyle Orton, who was acquired in the Jay Cutler trade, so he may not feel the need to find a quarterback in the draft who can play immediately.
My take: Tyler is a good choice as Kansas City begins this new era. He is a young player who has some ability and could end up having a nice career. The big question is where Glenn Dorsey, the No. 5 overall pick in last year's draft, will play. If Tyler is going to be the new nose tackle, that means Dorsey will be an end in the defense. Dorsey is a talented player whose ability to transition to a 3-4 scheme will be a huge factor in whether Kansas City succeeds.