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Friday, April 1, 2011
Around the NFC West: Paul Allen's book

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Seahawks owner Paul Allen adapts a section of his new memoir for use by Vanity Fair. I've read through the piece and learned more about Allen than I had learned in nearly 15 years of covering his NFL team. Allen goes into detail regarding his relationship with Bill Gates during Microsoft's formative years. Allen: "My style was to absorb all the data I could to make the best-informed decision possible, sometimes to the point of over-analysis. Bill liked to hash things out in intense, one-on-one discussions; he thrived on conflict and wasn’t shy about instigating it. A few of us cringed at the way he’d demean people and force them to defend their positions." I found this to be a fascinating look inside the partnership that ultimately armed Allen with the resources needed to purchase professional sports franchises.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times takes an in-depth look at Golden Tate in relation to other rookie receivers drafted in the second round. O'Neil: "The first question is just how bad was Tate's rookie season? And truthfully, it wasn't as awful as many have described. He was one of three receivers drafted in the second round in 2010, none of which caught more than 25 passes last season. Tate's regular-season statistics: 21 catches for 227 yards, an average of 10.8 yards per catch. He did not score a touchdown. In the past four drafts, there were 17 wide receivers chosen in second round. Nine of them finished their rookie season with fewer receptions than Tate's 21."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle passes along comments from an interview with Seahawks general manager John Schneider. Schneider: "Well, starting any organization or any football team I think you have to look at both sides of your line. So I would say offensive, defensive line are priorities for us, no question. But we're looking for depth at every position."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reflects on the limited quarterback options for the Cardinals, noting that recently injured veteran Chad Pennington had been considered a candidate to compete for playing time somewhere despite age and previous injury concerns. Somers: "So to those who can't believe the Cardinals are considering Marc Bulger, what other free agent intrigues you? Alex Smith? Rex Grossman? Tavaris Jackson? Matt Hasselbeck? A strong case can be made against each of them. When signing a quarterback in free agency, a team needs some vision and a ton of luck. The Saints took a risk on Drew Brees' shoulder in 2006 and it paid off. The Cardinals thought Kurt Warner had a little something left in 2005. It took two-plus years and a coaching change, but Warner proved himself again."

Jason La Canfora of NFL.com says University of Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed plans to visit with the Cardinals next week. La Canfora: "Reed has been somewhat overlooked in a deep class of elite defensive linemen, but he's generating a lot of interest from teams drafting in the 25 to 40 range, sources said Thursday, and is meeting with many of them."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' coaches -- led by Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Vic Fangio -- are more familiar with college prospects based on their experiences at Stanford last season. Maiocco: "Harbaugh, Roman and Fangio coached or coached against at least 52 of the 329 (15.8 percent) prospects invited to the NFL scouting combine last month in Indianapolis. They recruited countless others. The 49ers are looking to add a quarterback in the draft. Stanford played against three draftable quarterbacks -- Washington's Jake Locker, TCU's Andy Dalton and Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor -- during Harbaugh's time coaching the Cardinal. Moreover, Harbaugh recruited Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, expected to be one of the top two quarterbacks selected."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers general manager Trent Baalke and college scouting director Joel Patten watched Robert Quinn and other North Carolina players work out at their pro day.

Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com says the lack of consensus atop the 2011 NFL draft suggests this might be a weak year for top prospects. Klutsarits: "This could mean great things for the St. Louis Rams because since there is so much uncertainty with these guys there will be players that fall and will become productive members of teams to the later picks in the first round. The risk of course is that because the bust rate seems higher in this year’s Draft that the Rams have a higher chance of picking the next Adam Carriker or Tye Hill with the 14th pick in the draft."

Aaron Wilson of National Football Post says Hawaii running back Alex Green has a visit scheduled with the Rams. The visit could mean the Rams have genuine interest in Green. It could mean they have unanswered medical questions about him. It could mean nothing much at all. It's tough to say. The team does need a backup running back, however. Green is 6 feet tall and 225 pounds. He's known for his skills as a receiver out of the backfield.