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Thursday, April 14, 2011
Around the NFC West: Debating Mallett

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says debate is brewing over whether the Seahawks would have interest in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. Henderson: "On the same day Mike Lombardi of NFL Network said the Seahawks are considering taking Mallett in the first round, John Clayton told the Kevin Calabro show Wednesday that character concerns and Mallett's lack of mobility will likely be deal breakers for the Seahawks, even if the former Arkansas quarterback is still on the board when Seattle makes the 57th overall pick." Mallett's inability to move very well does seem like a significant factor working against him from the Seahawks' perspective. Coach Pete Carroll says he still values mobility in a quarterback. He did coach Carson Palmer at USC, however, and Palmer was never known for his wheels. I think there's some confusion over what Seattle wants in a quarterback because there's uncertainty over how much the offense will change with a new coordinator. Of course, if there's a franchise quarterback available in a draft, a team with a need at the position would presumably adapt its offense, at least to a degree.

Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic says Larry Fitzgerald's experience with batting practice before a Diamondbacks game made it clear Fitzgerald should stick to football. Fitzgerald: "I'm taking this thing off my list of the things that I was thinking about even trying to do if the [NFL] lockout goes up to the season. ... I struck out about seven, eight times out there. It was embarrassing. . . . This is definitely a gift I don't possess."

Mike Jurecki of XTRA910 radio in Phoenix passes along a video clip confirming Fitzgerald's evaluation as highly accurate. What a shock it must have been for someone as physically gifted as Fitzgerald to flail away helplessly against batting-practice pitches. Michael Jordan took criticism for struggling by professional standards during his baseball career, but Fitzgerald's experience makes Jordan look like a natural. As Fitzgerald noted, however, he hadn't swung a bat in several years.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates pre-draft visits to the Rams. Offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore was one of them.

Also from Thomas: Clemson's Jamie Harper was the latest running back to visit the Rams.

More from Thomas: a chat transcript in which he considers how Steven Jackson might react if the Rams selected a running back early in the draft. Thomas: "Jackson is a very proud man, and I think he takes great pride in being the workhorse in the backfield. I'm trying to recall now what Marshall Faulk's reaction was when Jackson was drafted, and I can't recall any strong reaction either way. But by the time Jackson was drafted, Faulk's knees had become an issue and I think Faulk realized he was on short time. I don't think Jackson feels that way at this point in his career."

More yet from Thomas: A fuller look at the Rams' potential interest in drafting a running back. Mark Ingram and Mikel Leshoure are the bigger-name backs to make pre-draft visits to Rams Park. Thomas writes: "What about the rest of the ball carriers who have made their way to Earth City this week: Alex Green of Hawaii, Jamie Harper of Clemson, Stevan Ridley of Louisiana State and Daniel Thomas of Kansas State? Interestingly, all are about the same size -- 5 feet 11 or 6-0 and all in the 225- to 235-pound range. All could be categorized as inside runners who lack breakaway speed. And all are being evaluated as possible backups to the Rams' reigning big back -- three-time Pro Bowler Steven Jackson."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams need help at linebacker next to James Laurinaitis.



Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers are bringing in Marcell Dareus for a visit even though the defensive lineman isn't expected to be available when the team selects in the first round. Maiocco writes: "In his final two seasons at Alabama, Dareus recorded 20 tackles for loss and 11 sacks while starting all 25 games in which he appeared. He declared for the NFL draft following his junior season. Also, Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller is also scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area this evening and meet with the 49ers, the Sacramento Bee previously reported."

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers need to land an impact player in the first round. Maiocco writes: "If the 49ers select a defensive player -- cornerback or pass-rusher -- with the seventh overall pick, you can go ahead and write his name into the starting lineup. And that player would be expected to supply an immediate upgrade in production from a year ago. But if the 49ers take a quarterback and play him as a rookie, don't expect an improvement behind center."

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sends Dareus to the 49ers at No. 7 in his mock draft.