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Monday, July 20, 2009
Around the NFC West: Sizing up 49ers' receivers

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers have at least "seven legitimate NFL receivers" and that Michael Crabtree should be on the field when the team opens training camp. I count six legitimate wideouts on the 49ers, the idea being that Dominique Zeigler hasn't quite established himself as one yet. But the depth certainly appears better based on what the team can reasonably expect at the position, and Zeigler has shown promise.

Also from Maiocco: He predicted Crabtree would finish the 2008 season with 47 receptions for 530 yards and three touchdowns. Jerry Rice finished his rookie season with 49, 927 and three. He then caught 37 touchdown passes over the next two seasons, one more than the 49ers scored collectively over the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli says the Cardinals have again shown interest in free-agent offensive tackle Levi Jones, perhaps as a lower-cost alternative to Mike Gandy at tackle. Pasquarelli: "In fact, the Cardinals have already spoken to Jones about his possible interest in the team. Jones missed just one game because of injury his first four seasons, but chronic knee problems have cost him 28 starts the past three years. Another possibility: Arizona could move starting right tackle Levi Brown, a former first-round pick, to his more natural left side, and allow youngster Brandon Keith to compete for the right tackle job."

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic spent the weekend with Ken Whisenhunt at the celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. He files a notebook and says Whisenhunt failed to beat playing partner and former pupil Ben Roethlisberger. The tournament's online leaderboard shows Whisenhunt beating Roethlisberger by a point. I'll update at some point.

Scott Eklund of Scout.com transcribes chunks of Walter Jones' interview with John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle. I'll break out another part of the interview in a separate post.

John Morgan of Field Gulls revisits C.J. Wallace's 2008 season with the Seahawks. Wallace is one of the team's better players on special teams. Morgan: "That steadiness is at expense of athleticism and almost any playmaking ability. Wallace averaged 13.4 yards allowed on his punt return tackles. Seattle as a whole averaged 10.1 yards per opponent punt return -- 20th in the NFL." The average length of opponent punt returns wouldn't necessarily reflect how well a tackler performed his duties on the play, of course.

Also from Morgan: a look at the Seahawks' injury situation at receiver.

Vinnie Iyer of sportingnews.com lists the Seahawks and 49ers among six teams that might be wise, in his view, to consider Michael Vick. I do not see it.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates negotiations for the Rams' draft choices. Fifth-rounder Brooks Foster expects to sign Monday. Seventh-rounder Chris Ogbonnaya is also expected to sign in the near future. That would leave Jason Smith, James Laurinaitis, Darell Scott and Keith Null without deals. The team has ample time to get those deals in place before the Rams open training camp.

KFFL.com says Rams tight end Randy McMichael could be a viable option in fantasy leagues as a No. 2 tight end. KFFL: "McMichael looks to be healthy for his contract year after a leg injury stopped his 2008 season after just four weeks. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is installing a West Coast-style offense that would probably feature McMichael in a bigger role. He didn't miss a game in his career until last season. He has little competition at his position."