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Monday, April 25, 2011
Around the NFC West: Colin Kaepernick?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looks at 12 players that could make sense for the 49ers with their 12 choices in the upcoming draft. Colin Kaepernick was the choice in the second round. Barrows: "My guess is that Jim Harbaugh thinks Kaepernick has the biggest upside of the remaining quarterbacks and that he'd be the ideal player to mentor and mold. It's been written that Kaepernick is a poor fit for the West Coast because of his long wind up. But Harbaugh isn't running a 'pure' West Coast like Bill Walsh used to run and he's not running a shotgun-heavy system like they do in Philadelphia and Green Bay. That is, a hitch in the delivery won't be as big a deal here as it might be elsewhere." Kaepernick's style defies convention. He's part runner, part passer and more intriguing than the typical quarterback prospect.

Also from Barrows: a list showing 25 of the 27 college prospects to visit the 49ers this offseason.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says it's clear Harbaugh will promote competition among players.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Harbaugh's history as a quarterback will not make the 49ers a pass-happy team under him. Branch: "In his four years at Stanford, the Cardinal ran on 58.9 percent of their offensive plays, ranking second behind Oregon (61.0) among Pac-10 teams during his tenure. Harbaugh, of course, is heralded for his work with quarterbacks. But check out how he works his running backs. His first tailback, USD's 220-pound Evan Harney, ranked third in Division I-AA in carries per game (27.5) in 2004. His best running back, Stanford's 235-pound Toby Gerhart, led Division I with 26.4 carries per game in 2009."

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle assesses quarterback contingencies for the 49ers. White: "Some NFL draft experts think as many as five quarterbacks could go in the first round, which would leave the 49ers with crumbs if they wait until Round 2. So yeah, the timing of all this is kind of a big deal."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune sends Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget to the Seahawks with the 25th overall choice in a mock draft. Williams: "Gives Seattle depth and insurance up front in case Brandon Mebane leaves in free agency." Jimmy Smith, Gabe Carimi, Danny Watkins, Marvin Austin, Phil Taylor, Aaron Williams and Derek Sherrod were his choices, respectively, beginning with the 26th selection.

Also from Williams: Draft analyst Rob Rang thinks Christian Ponder could make sense for Seattle if the Seahawks decide to use the 25th choice for a quarterback. Rang: "Entered his senior season ranked with Jake Locker as the top senior QBs, but struggled through injuries. Threw well at the Senior Bowl and combine and is considered by some the most pro-ready QB in the draft."

ESPN's John Clayton tells 710ESPN Seattle not to expect Carson Palmer in a Seahawks uniform for 2011. Clayton: "If you know Mike Brown, and most people who've been around this league for a long time know Mike Brown from the Bengals, he's not going to cut and he's not going to trade Carson Palmer. Carson Palmer is not an option for any team, even if (it) means sitting out for the season and taking a one-year sabbatical. He is not going to be available."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic sizes up the Cardinals' primary needs and says this about the quarterback situation heading into the draft: "Poor play at this position wasn't the only reason for last year's 5-11 record, but it was the major one. Derek Anderson won't return, and John Skelton, a rookie last year, isn't ready to start. Many mock drafts have the Cardinals taking Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the fifth overall pick, but look for them instead to address the position via free agency or trade. The guess here is they use their first-round pick on a player they think can help immediately."

Also from Somers: The NFL lockout has prevented the Cardinals from addressing issues that arose during the 2010 season.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic offers thoughts on how Ray Horton's long, braided hair affects perceptions of him as an NFL assistant coach.

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis does not think the Rams are in position to trade up for a shot at receiver Julio Jones. Softli: "They have too many needs and would have to give up too much. The Redskins can sit and let Jones fall to them, and if he slips past Cleveland Browns at No. 6 the Titans at No. 8 are their only threat. The teams that can blow this draft up on the first day are the New England Patriots. With six picks in the first three rounds and three in the top 33 players, they have the power to jump up and down the draft as if they were playing checkers, and crowning themselves king several times. Despite having the threat to do damage with trades, I think they will sit and pick and add some key pieces to an already championship based foundation at tackle, guard, running back or outside linebacker."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch runs through the 19 players St. Louis has selected in the first round since the Rams arrived for the 1995 season. The team gets an A-minus grade for selecting Kevin Carter. Coats: "Six seasons with the Rams, all as starter, in 14-year career. Recorded league-high 17 sacks in 1999. Pro Bowler in '99 and 2002."