Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Around the NFC West: Rams' draft profile
By Mike Sando
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are most likely to select a defensive player at No. 14. Thomas: "The Steve Spagnuolo template for defense seems pretty well established. He likes defensive linemen -- lots of 'em. To wit, the Rams had 10 defensive linemen on their season-opening roster last season. In other words nearly one-fifth of the roster. And he especially likes defensive linemen that can rush the passer. That in part explains why C.J. Ah You is a Ram, and Victor Adeyanju is not. Spagnuolo likes strong middle linebacker play. (See: James Laurinaitis.) And big corners with long arms, who can play press coverage." Those types of generalizations are helpful when sketching in the sorts of players a team will favor on draft day.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams Park remained relatively quiet following the lockout. Coats: "Linebacker James Laurinaitis was spotted at Rams Park shortly after noon, but it could not be determined whether he actually entered the building. Apparently no other players arrived at the facility in Earth City."
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have options at No. 14. Burwell: "The only reason you don't draft Julio Jones if he's still on the board is if A.J. Green is there, too. But I wonder if the Rams feel this way. Seriously. This is where the intrigue is starting to build. There are enough smoke screens, misdirections and outright lies floating around the closer we get to Thursday night that it is often impossible to find someone telling the truth. But the one thing that I've learned in observing the way things work with Devaney and his crew is that if you listen closely, at some point in the long build-up to the draft, someone will randomly drop in the truth amidst the ocean of misdirection and prevarications."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com throws Ricky Stanzi's name into consideration for the 49ers after speaking with NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell. Cosell: "Ricky Stanzi played in a pro offense in college. I think he's very efficient off play-action, off the boot-action pass game. He's pretty calm and poised and understands checkdowns. He also showed he can handle a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage. I watched five games, and I think he's very similar to Matt Schuab when he came out of Virginia."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wonders whether Missouri's Blaine Gabbert fits the Alex Smith profile coming out of college. Barrows: "Like Smith, Gabbert is entering the draft as a junior. Gabbert, too, played in a college spread offense, and he also aced his Wonderlic intelligence test. They're represented by the same agent, Tom Condon, and they both wear No. 11 jerseys."
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Gideon Yu's hiring by the 49ers looks like the start of something. Kawakami: "The 49ers got the Santa Clara vote last year. But they have to fund the dang thing and that certainly isn’t getting any easier with the lockout shenanigans, the economy, and the non-playoff run. Yu could help all of that, or he could be the guy who looks at everything and tells Jed York once and for all that they’ve tried everything (and York will believe they did try everything) and it isn’t going to work."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic thinks the Cardinals are unlikely to select a quarterback with the fifth overall choice. Somers: "The Cardinals are in the market for a quarterback, but it seems doubtful they will take one with the fifth overall pick. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has said he doesn't see a franchise quarterback on the level of the Rams' Sam Bradford or the Falcons' Matt Ryan in this draft. Bradford, Whisenhunt pointed out, started all four years at Oklahoma."
Also from Somers: Kerry Rhodes and four other Cardinals players showed up at team headquarters Tuesday, but they didn't have much to do once they arrived. Somers: "Cardinals player representative Jay Feely has kept in touch with his teammates and texted Rhodes Monday night, telling him he could show up if he was in town. Offensive linemen Levi Brown, Rex Hadnot and Jeremy Bridges were at the team's Tempe facility earlier in the day, as was long snapper Mike Leach. All have significant workout bonuses in their contracts. Brown's is for $250,000. Hadnot and Bridges can earn $150,000 and Leach can make $25,000." Rhodes' workout bonus is for $500,000.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals and other teams can benefit when others overvalue quarterbacks in the draft. General manager Rod Graves: "I do recognize the fact it tends to happen in the results of the draft. Sometimes quarterbacks go a little bit higher … but it has the effect of pushing other very good football players down and sometimes that can be beneficial to you."
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says coach Pete Carroll reiterated his point that the Seattle offense will not change much from a philosophical standpoint under new coordinator Darrell Bevell and assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable. Carroll: "Philosophy doesn’t change, it really doesn’t. What we’ve been able to do by getting Tom and Darrell to come in here is really, I think, point toward the philosophy that we’ve been trying to create. We didn’t get there fully last year. We wanted to run the ball better than we did and we wanted to be more effective up front." Carroll wants to run the ball. He wants to run a zone scheme. He wants bigger linemen than former line coach Alex Gibbs wanted. How much does the terminology and playbook change?
Also from Farnsworth: General manager John Schneider suspects the team will wind up selecting at No. 25 even though trading back has great appeal. Schneider: "It’s a goal. But it’s much harder to move back than it is to go up. You have to find a partner. There’s a certain trust level involved. And it has to happen quick. And somebody has to really want somebody."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says during a chat he thinks the Seahawks would have a hard time passing up cornerback Jimmy Smith if available at No. 25.
Also from O'Neil: Seahawks players indicate they can't get into team headquarters even though a judge struck down the lockout. O'Neil: "Wide receiver Deon Butler arrived at the team's facility Tuesday along with a teammate. Butler said he was allowed inside the security gate for the players' parking lot, but not into the building. Butler spoke with a member of Seahawks security, and was told there was no access to the weight room or to the trainers for any treatment or rehabilitation. He left without entering the building. Same for cornerback Roy Lewis, who also went to the facility but didn't get inside."
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along a quote from Schneider regarding the possibility of the team trading out of the first round entirely. Schneider: "Somebody said to me the other day in the marketing department, ‘Hey we’ve got 5.000 people showing up for the draft party.’ And I said, 'That’s on Friday, right?' "
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says the Seahawks want more from receiver Golden Tate, a player they said they said carried a first-round grade in the 2010 draft.