AFC West mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Mid-week mail call:

Jordan from Austin: Hey Bill I was wondering what you thought about the idea of playing antonio cromartie(Chargers) at free safety. He really got exposed last year after having a breakout season the year prior. He has immense physical talent and I think that if he were given the chance to roam the backfield at the safety position, he would be the dangerous threat at safety the chargers are looking for. Plus if he doesn't step up this year it looks as though antoine cason is going to supplant him.

BW: I agree that Cason could take over for Cromartie if he continues to struggle. But Cromartie will get the chance to bounce back from a disappointing 2008. If anyone is moved to safety, I think it will be Cason.

Brenden from Denver: Do you think the Broncos have any interest in trading for Darnell Dockett? Does he fit in their new defensive scheme?

BW: I'm sure Denver would be interested in Dockett. He'd fit in the 3-4 defense Denver is transitioning to. He'd be Denver's best defensive lineman. But the problem is Arizona is reluctant to trade him. So, this is likely only a pipedream for Denver fans.

Moreno Valley: do you think the raider chief rivalry will heat up this year, with both teams looking to regain ther winning ways?

BW: The Oakland-Kansas City rivalry will always be heated no matter how good or bad the two teams are faring. Of course, the rivalry will be more interesting if each team improves. But this is a good rivalry, no matter the two teams' records.

Jesse from Chula Vista: Hey Bill. You're the man, love the blog! I wanted to ask a question regarding SD's sixth round pick, Kevin Ellison (SS from USC). He dropped to the sixth round because of his injury history and his slow forty time at the combine (4.87), but do you think he really plays that slow? I'm wondering if he wasn't 100% at the combine and that caused him to have a bad time. Bottom line, is this kid quick enough to play in the NFL and if so, what type of player do you see him becoming?

BW: That's nice of you, Jesse. I like the Ellison pick. He has a chance to help fairly soon. There is a need at safety and if Ellison can perform well in the preseason, I think he will work himself into the playing rotation. He is a smart, big hitter.

Ryan from Hagerstown: Just got done reading the article on Merriman, where he says he wants to be in SD. What are the chances of him getting a big contract from the Chargers. Especially since Rivers, Gates and Jackson all need big contracts

BW: I think the Chargers realize how important Merriman is to the defense. If he has a big year, I think the Chargers will have to address a long-term contract for their best defensive player.