Denver’s trade of 2009 second-round pick Alphonso Smith is our AFC West storyline of the week.
The other candidates were San Diego trading for receiver Patrick Crayton and Oakland starting rookie Jared Veldheer at center despite him having limited experience at the position and him coming from a small school.
Each story received support, but it was clear the Smith story was the biggest … and most embarrassing.
Denver gave up on Smith a year after it traded is No. 1 pick in 2010 (No. 14) to take him at No. 37. Smith never showed anything in Denver. The fact that Denver gave up on Smith so early was stunning.
Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated:
Josh from Washington, D.C: Even though I may be biased as a Broncos fan, I'm going to have to say that Denver trading Alphonso Smith is the big story here. He was one of Josh McDaniels' first picks, and he flopped. In fact, every pick he made in 2009, except for Knowshon Moreno, looks like a bust. This is the big story because it is just another example of poor draft choices and trades over the last couple years. As for the other stories, the Patrick Crayton trade is far more important than Oakland's center. He adds the skill set an leadership that the Chargers need in their receiving corps. Anyway, when was the last time that Oakland had any personnel continuity? Coaches and players just don't survive there unless they are one of Al Davis' chosen ones, at which point they will be vastly overpaid and given too many extra chances to not play poorly.
Erik from Chicago: I am a sucker for a Cinderella Story. Veldheer played tackle last year at Division II Hillsdale. Now he is starting at center in the NFL.
Jeremy from Greeley, Colo.: By far the story has to be trading alphonso smith for a third string/previous seventh round TE. Smith and for that matter the broncos drafting ability has been a major disappointment. It really brings to mind how much of a crapshoot the draft really is and what the sacrifice Mcd is making by drafting the upper echelon of high character individuals. Along the same lines, it makes the draft fan extremely frustrated because it also calls into question the entire drafts overall performance. I don't like to think that anyone can do it, but at the time I, like most people would had already penciled in orakpo, malaluga and ron brace up until the pick was announced. Instead we end up with a injury prone RB, a LB that is struggling to contribute and a third string TE. Please don't rip me for saying I would have taken two pro bowlers in hindsight, I can send you my 2 round mock if you really want.
Marc King from Richmond, Va.: Hi Bill,While I think that the humiliating Denver move with Smith is a big story, it's not the best one. For me it comes down to the 2 positive stories out of San Diego and Oakland. I'm glad that San Diego is taking a firm position on Jackson's holdout. I hope more organizations will follow that example. The biggest story coming out of the AFC West is rookie Jared Veldheer starting at center for the Raiders. This young man, coming out of a division II school, was unheralded and looked over by much of the league. But in each opportunity he's been given (each a greater challenge), Jared has stepped up and performed well. He may end up being the steal of the draft. If Jared Veldheer and Lamar Houston both play well this year, it will make Oakland's drafters look like geniuses and signal the turning point for this struggling team.
Steve from Edmonton, Alberta: My vote for the you pick it story of the week is Denver giving up on Alphonso Smith.The way this thing played out is an embarrassment to the Broncos organization. In all my years of following the NFL, I can't remember a team trading a 1st round draft pick for a guy, then trading him a year later for Grownkowski who was a 7th round pick.That alone should put McDaniels on the hot seat this season. Turning a 1st round pick into a 7th round pick is simply astounding.
Brady from Phoenix: Hey Bill, the story of the week has to be Denver dumping Smith, which overall centers more on how well McDaniels is doing as a head coach. This is very frustrating to see as we could have used this draft pick in this years draft, which has been on of the deepest in years. I think this shows McDaniels lack of experience as a head coach, making moves on an impulse instead of sticking to a plan. However, I would rather be in this situation than keeping Cutler! No thanks to weak leadership and league leading interceptions. I think McDaniels has a lot to learn and its mistakes like these that test how well a head coach can adapt to failure. Thanks.
Daniel from Los Angeles: With all the coverage of Jackson's holdout over the summer, I think the Crayton deal is the story this week. Crayton receives a lot of flak from Dallas fans for his number of dropped passes. I suppose it's well-deserved for Cowboys fans to complain considering the two he had vs the Giants in the 2008 postseason. However, this is two years later and Crayton is a good player. He looked better than Roy Williams last year and with a QB like Rivers, Crayton really has a chance to have a great year. Vincent Jackson is certainly a top-flight receiver, but the Chargers are stacked and ready to win without him.
Enrique Alvarado from San Diego: Crayton joins Chargers. He's know Vincent Jackson but at least the Chargers brought in a receiver people have heard about. Im a true believer that Rivers can make any receiver look better with his accuracy and because of this Crayton should fit in nicely. I think at the end of the day its just going to take time for Rivers to get comfortable with Crayton. Honestly it really doesnt matter the Chargers and especially Rivers will miss V.Jackson. This team has only took two steps back with McNeil and Jackson still not on this team.
Kevin from Lebanon, Or.: The story should be Veldheer starting in Oakland, what a great story about a small school kid showing some versatility and landing a starting spot. Congrats Jared and good luck. However, the big story is Alphonso Smith getting booted out of Denver. Proof enough for me McDaniels doesn't know what he is doing, 1st rounder for a 7th rounder in one years time. Ouch!! If he had been a Raider, Al Davis would be crucified in the media.
Christopher Merrill from Tulsa: Chargers trade for Crayton:This is a fascinating pick and one that could possibly have VJ wondering what his advisors are doing. I do consider that VJ believed that he was not replaceable. The Chargers are doing everything to counter that perspective. Many years ago John Jefferson (JJ) also considered himself irreplaceable and looked what happened and I am not convinced that Jackson was as good as JJ. VJ really needs to be careful or he will end up as JJ did. Receivers are only as good as their quarterbacks ? be careful what you wish for!
Brian from Chicago: The trading of Alphonso Smith is the easily the story of the week. As a die-hard Broncos fan, I am absolutely annoyed that Denver wasted a first round pick on Alphonso Smith. It was a poor decision by a first year coach. It is crystal clear that Smith was not worthy of any first round pick (let alone the 14th overall pick) and, beyond that, that he wasn't the worthy of making the Broncos squad even at the bottom of the depth chart. That said, I, without question, support McDaniel's decision to quickly rid the organization of a mediocre draft pick. Too many NFL organizations hold onto poor draft picks for too long and to the detriment of the team. The Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals are examples of organizations that took years to come to these decisions when, in the end, little changed from when those players entered the organization to when they were eventually acknowledged as busts.While the poor drafting needs to be acknowledged, the decision to quickly accept it and move on needs more attention. Josh McDaniel's may not be perfect as a coach thus far but he's willing to drink the accountability kool-aid he peddles to his players and that should be applauded.
Will from Harrisburg, Pa.: Denver cutting Smith shows nothing more than a big draft mistake; but in truth, it's not huge news. Smith didn't do much, and got benched for an undrafted guy.The big news in the AFC West this week is the Chargers signing of Crayton. It was only a matter of time before the Cowboys put him up. I think he should have been the #2 guy in Dallas, behind Austin, but I'm not paying these guys, Jerry Jones is, and he MUST hold on to Bryant, obviously, and letting go of Roy Williams would be a blow to his own pride. So Crayton is out, and unfortunately, he went to the Chargers. Veldheer as a center is a cool concept; looking forward to seeing how well he and Campbell work together.