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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Around the NFC West: 49ers' QB plans

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wouldn't be surprised if the 49ers moved up from the second round to snag a quarterback. Barrows: "My sense is that the 49ers - who have the 13th pick in the second round - would be willing to move up in that round, or even climb into the bottom of Round 1, to get the quarterback they desire. In previous years, when the 49ers were in rebuilding mode, they cherished every one of their picks. Now, however, there is a feeling that the overall roster is strong, especially if they use their No. 7 pick on a pass rusher like Von Miller or Robert Quinn or on a cornerback like Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara. Furthermore, general manager Trent Baalke already has shown he's willing to trade up to get his man. He did so last year in order to land Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis."

Also from Barrows: a potential setback in the 49ers' efforts to get a stadium built.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com addresses whether the 49ers could have a reason not to pursue a tampering case against the Eagles after learning that Andy Reid had been in contact with running back Brian Westbrook. Maiocco: "First, we don't know the 49ers are unwilling to pursue this matter. That's only speculation. But we might be onto something here. The 49ers are believed to be one of the teams interested in obtaining Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb. So the 49ers might not want to create any acrimony between the two organizations. But, ultimately, it'll come down to which team offers the Eagles the best level of compensation for Kolb. And, of course, no trades can take place until the owners and players hammer out a new CBA. Teams are allowed to speak to each other during this time to gauge interest. I do not know if the 49ers and Eagles have spoken on this matter, but my guess is there has been some level of communication."

Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group checks in with Jerry Rice for thoughts on a potential lockout.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says instincts and production helped Lofa Tatupu earn a spot on the team's 35th anniversary squad. Chad Brown, Fredd Young and Rufus Porter were the other linebackers. Farnsworth on Tatupu: "His contributions have been across the board: 551 tackles in the regular season, including a career-high 123 in 2006; 66 tackles in the postseason, making him the franchise leader; 10 interceptions, including three in a 2007 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and two returned for touchdowns; 8.5 sacks, including four in his rookie season; 41 passes defensed; seven forced fumbles; three Pro Bowl selections, the most for a linebacker in club history."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald is everywhere these days, and his contract situation is what everyone is asking about. Somers: "Money won't be an obstacle for the Cardinals. Or at least it shouldn't be. Their payroll was near the lowest in the NFL in 2010, and management is smart enough to know that low-balling Fitz will alienate even avid fans. The biggest challenge will be opportunity. Like any elite receiver, Fitzgerald wants the ball. He won't complain publicly because he's sensitive about being labeled as a diva. And he has that right. Over the years, Fitzgerald has developed a work ethic that's hard to match. Last year, he was overthrown more than a Little League first baseman, yet never complained publicly."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Fitzgerald was speaking only about Tommie Harris and not his own situation when he said a change of scenery can help.

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com passes along thoughts from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. regarding the Rams' draft plans. Kiper: "If the top two receivers are gone then they could look defensive tackle because that’s the value. Outside linebacker, I don’t see anybody that would fit what they are doing defensively there if you are looking for a traditional outside linebacker. Maybe an interior offensive lineman they could look at. It’s a little early maybe for (Florida OL Mike) Pouncey, who I don’t think is as good as his brother Maurkice. That’s early. I wouldn’t take Mike Pouncey ahead of where Maurkice went because I don’t think they are similar players. I think Maurkice was a much better prospect."

Howard Balzer of 101ESPN St. Louis sounds unconvinced about the Rams' potential interest in former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress.