Denver's chief foe appears to be K.C.


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Jan 22, 2006
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Denver's chief foe appears to be K.C.
By Bill Williamson
Denver Post NFL, Broncos Beat Reporter

Sure, it's five months from the start of the season, but one thing is becoming evident for the Broncos: Beware of Kansas City.

The Broncos' primary obstacle in defending their first AFC West Division championship in seven years is Kansas City. Many league observers expect the Chiefs to make a run at the West and the Super Bowl.

Under new coach Herman Edwards, the Chiefs have worked to improve their defense to complement an offense that was the most dangerous in the NFL by the end of the 2005 season.

The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders have not helped themselves thus far. Both teams might have taken a step back since the end of the season.

San Diego raised eyebrows by letting quarterback Drew Brees walk, thus putting its future in the hands of an inexperienced Philip Rivers. San Diego's overall roster is as impressive and talented as any in the NFL, but it comes down to the quarterback. Rivers essentially will be a rookie, and barring a Ben Roethlisberger-like anomaly, the Chargers will be facing some growing pains.

Oakland, coming off 13 wins combined the past three seasons, arguably has gotten weaker this offseason. The Raiders should be able to find an instant contributor with the No. 7 pick in the draft, but they are not a threat to win the West.

Receiver sweepstakes

Miami will be a team to watch on draft day. The Dolphins have the No. 16 pick, following the Broncos' first of two first-rounders.

There is word the Dolphins are interested in receivers Chad Jackson of Florida and Ohio State's Santonio Holmes. Because Denver is expected to seriously consider drafting a receiver early, Miami might feel the need to trade up - likely during the draft.

Denver and Miami also might have to contend with Philadelphia, which picks No. 14, and St. Louis, at No. 11, in the receiver sweepstakes.

Jackson and Holmes - both scheduled to visit Denver this week - are the highest-rated receivers in the draft, but neither is considered a top-10 pick.

Walker Denver-bound?

There is speculation in Green Bay the Packers will grant Javon Walker his wish and deal him. If Walker is traded, is it likely to happen draft week or during the draft.

Denver has talked to Green Bay about the disgruntled receiver. The Broncos, along with the Eagles and the 49ers, are expected to make a strong push for Walker.

Green Bay has maintained it expects Walker to stay. But if a good enough offer comes along, including a draft pick, it might be tempting for the Packers to rid themselves of the distraction Walker is sure to create. If Denver is the trading partner with Green Bay, the deal likely would happen on draft day.

Giving receivers

Two other veteran receivers might be available. Detroit might listen to offers for Charles Rogers, and New Orleans would entertain offers for Donte' Stallworth.

It's a weak draft for receivers, so these two could command interest. But neither team would get much in return. Both players have been disappointments on the field and have had off-field issues. But each has the talent to be worth a flier.
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