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Around the NFC West: Rams' top four

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are focusing on four players -- Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen -- as candidates to be selected with the first pick of the 2010 NFL draft. General manager Billy Devaney: "I have a feeling at the end of the day, the quarterbacks are going to be (graded) extremely high to where we have to think about (drafting one of them)." Some NFL people I've spoken with have questioned whether Clausen should even be a first-round choice, let alone the first overall pick. If the Rams choose a quarterback that early, they need to find an elite one that wins games, not just a decent one. Otherwise the pick is wasted.

Also from Thomas: Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson would have been limited partners in a Dave Checketts' ownership group. Also, the Rams are renewing their efforts to sign safety Oshiomogho Atogwe to a long-term deal.

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says the Rams have no plans to trade running back Steven Jackson.

Scott Kegley of 49ers.com checks in with Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who has nice things to say about 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan. Thompson: "Scot’s a grinder. I think he’s done a marvelous job if you look at his drafts. They’ve been solid every year. He’s gotten some outstanding Pro Bowl players through the draft, which isn’t as easy as some people might think it is. He’s accumulated draft picks and he has two [first-round picks] this year. I think we both have a strong belief that you build your team through the draft."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers should make a play for Chargers running back Darren Sproles in free agency. The idea has some appeal, but I'd be surprised if the 49ers made a strong play for Sproles.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers coaches Mike Solari, Tom Rathman, Vance Joseph and Jason Tarver are helping to run drills at the NFL combine.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals need to restock the quarterback position now that Kurt Warner retired and Brian St. Pierre can become an unrestricted free agent. Somers: "The Cardinals job should be attractive to free agents, too, because of the team's offensive talent and Leinart's lack of experience. The Cardinals must find out whether Leinart can play this season. His salary increases from $2.5 million this year to $7.4 million in 2011, and he is due a $5.5 million roster bonus next spring. If Leinart struggles, the backup could be the starter before the end of October."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com also looks at the Cardinals' need to acquire quarterbacks. Urban: "taking a quarterback in the mid-to-late rounds can provide a gem once in a while. That’s how the Patriots ended up with Tom Brady, a sixth-round selection. Unlike other positions, however, teams don’t draft quarterbacks just to have a role player. A quarterback, because he does nothing if he doesn’t play, is drafted to hopefully evolve into a starter."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Nate Burleson wants to remain with the Seahawks and nothing has changed just because Seattle, as expected, did not use the franchise tag on him. Johns: "So now Burleson is headed into free agency and will be able to negotiate with the Seahawks and any other NFL team starting March 5, exactly as both sides have known for months. Nothing new here. Surely Burleson isn't going to turn down a huge offer from another team and the Seahawks run the risk of losing him. But if the Seahawks want Burleson -- and why wouldn't they, given the team's desperate need for playmakers? -- it seems like something can be worked out in this case."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, getting thoughts on Walter Jones. Holmgren: "That will be a huge hole to fill when he stops playing, and I hope he can play some more. I believe if I was still there I would be coaxing him into something. Trying anyway. But he has played a long time, and I think he has really been a warrior the last couple years because he's played on some bad wheels, a bad shoulder and things. He's played a lot of football."

Also from O'Neil: The Seahawks need to find playmakers in the draft. O'Neil: "General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll inherit an offense that has withered. The Seahawks haven't chosen an offensive player in the first round of the draft since picking center Chris Spencer in 2005. The Seahawks also went three years without picking a quarterback and drafted more fullbacks (three) than tailbacks (one) in Tim Ruskell's five years as president."