Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Around the NFC West: Rams LB options
By Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not envision the Rams drafting a linebacker 14th overall. Thomas: "Von Miller (Texas A&M) will be long gone. He's a top 10 pick, maybe a top 5 pick. UCLA's Akeem Ayers got some early play as a mid-first round guy, then he ran a 4.8 at the 40. Plus, some scouts -- including some at Rams Park -- think he may not be physical enough. I think he's now regarded as a late first, or early second guy. Justin Houston (Georgia) and Brooks Reed (Arizona) are listed by some as OLBs, but at 270 pounds and 263 pounds, respectively, they played end in college and would be 3-4 OLBs."
D'Marco Farr of 101ESPN St. Louis wonders where Josh McDaniels will find the time to coordinate the Rams' offense and coach their quarterbacks.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers plan to meet with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett on April 11. Barrows: "Mallett has perhaps the best combination of arm strength, touch and accuracy among draft-eligible quarterbacks, and his 6-6 frame gives him a nice vantage point from the pocket. Mallett threw for 3,869 yards last season at Arkansas -- considerably more than any of the top quarterbacks in the draft -- and he also tossed 32 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. But Mallett also might be the least athletic of the top six quarterbacks."
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat profiles 49ers free-agent kicker Fabrizio Scaccia, one of the few NFL players never to play at the college level. Branch: "An all-state kicker and all-American soccer player at St. Lucie (Fla.) Centennial West High, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Scaccia was offered a full-ride football scholarship from South Carolina. But he couldn't accept it, he said, after his mom was involved in a serious car accident and required his care (she has since fully recovered). He became a star kicker on southern Florida's semi-pro circuit -- he is a member of the Minor League Football Hall of Fame -- but he was destined for local-legend status until his 68-yarder kicked off a string of phone calls and opened doors."
Also from Branch: The 49ers have good depth at tight end, but they'll check out college prospects at the position anyway. Coach Jim Harbaugh envisions a power offense that leans on the tight end and fullback.
Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider takes a closer look at the 49ers' defensive line, plus potential options in the draft and free agency. Lynch: "Like so many areas on this team, the defensive line is good, not great. Justin Smith went to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons and deservedly so. The guy never misses a game and at times he can dominate. Nevertheless, Smith typically collects his sacks against sad-sack opponents. Also, Smith could really be dangerous if he had another pass rusher who could draw some attention away from him. The 49ers figured Ahmad Brooks could be that guy, but by season's end even former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was losing faith in his commitment."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times doesn't envision the Seahawks using a first-round choice for Washington quarterback Jake Locker. O'Neil during a chat: "Sure, could be a consideration. I don't have any hard, declarative statements that Seattle isn't interested or has already ruled him out. But my sense has been that the Seahawks aren't sold on Locker enough to take him in the first round. Against that's my sense. And this is coming from a guy who had the 'sense' to wear shortsleeves with a tie last week on stage at a UFC weigh-in.
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle offers thoughts via video on Locker's prospects. He's anxious to see which NFL personnel people attend Locker's pro day Wednesday.
Jeff Hartsell of the Charleston Post and Courier says Cardinals receiver Andre Roberts' relative success explains why more scouts are visiting The Citadel to check out prospects there. Hartsell: "Roberts was a third-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2010 NFL draft after his record-setting career at The Citadel. If cornerback Cortez Allen, who tested well at the NFL combine last month, is drafted this year, it would mark the first time since 1969-70 that The Citadel had players drafted in consecutive years."