Mid-week mail call:
Mike Butler from Benton, Maine, wants to know my thoughts on the recovery process facing cornerback D.J. Hayden, Oakland's first-round draft pick.
Bill Williamson: By all expectations, Hayden should be OK after he recovers from surgery to remove scar tissue from his stomach, stemming from a life-threatening heart surgery he underwent in November. I’ve talked to a few medical experts and they think, in the end, that this is a minor part of Hayden’s recovery and he should be fine. Hayden has yet to face any contact since that major November procedure, however, so there is some concern that the No. 12 overall pick could yet face complications.
Tom from Temecula, Calif., wants to know what rookie pass-rusher Tourek Williams’ role will be in San Diego.
BW: First, the sixth-round pick from Florida International must make the team. If he does, I think he can get some reps behind Dwight Freeney. Williams has natural ability, but has to first show he can adjust to the NFL.
BW: Branch is getting some help -- I’m sure he will be thrilled. The two will be on the field together. While Woodson is likely more of a situational player these days, this tandem has a chance to be pretty effective. It will improve Oakland’s defense, no question.