Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Around the NFC West: Rams draft trade-off
By Mike Sando
Turning the second overall choice into six other picks helped set up the St. Louis Rams' future.
The trades St. Louis made also left the Rams with different options when they did select -- potentially lesser options in some cases.
Those are the trade-offs.
Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis liked the Rams' approach overall, with one possible exception. Softli: "There was only decision during the draft that I really questioned. I have been on that side of the fence and recognize that the flow of the draft has some traps that you cannot avoid or sidestep. Having said that, the trade back from No. 45 to No. 50 smacked of perhaps overanalyzing things a bit too much. As a result, the Rams missed out on an opportunity to beef up their linebacking corps." Noted: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks went to Philadelphia at No. 46. Seattle took linebacker Bobby Wagner with the next pick. The Rams took running back Isaiah Pead at No. 50, two spots before Tennessee selected linebacker Zach Brown. The Rams need help at outside linebacker. Kendricks and Wagner are expected to play the middle with their new teams. I found it interesting that the Rams preferred Pead to LaMichael James, the running back San Francisco selected 61st overall.
Matthew Hathaway of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates the Rams' stadium situation, but neither party is making public key aspects of the process.
Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the 49ers' draft moves show the team plans for Alex Smith. Lynch: "Any inkling of flagging confidence was completely obliterated over draft weekend. Not only did head coach Jim Harbaugh once again reiterate that Smith was the team’s unquestioned starter, Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke surrounded Smith with foot-speed freaks in Illinois wide receiver A.J. Jenkins and Oregon running back LaMichael James. Combine these dynamos with free agent signings Randy Moss and Mario Manningham and the message is clear -- Harbaugh is breaking the offense open and he obviously believes Smith can run this new wide-open attack." Noted: The 49ers are setting themselves up for life with or without Smith. Their confidence in him will reflect his performance and their alternatives.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' selection of 5-foot-9, 193-pound safety Trenton Robinson reflects an emphasis on pass coverage and a complete departure from the thinking that went into Taylor Mays' selection.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with cornerback Brandon Browner, who joined Dave Brown, Shawn Springs and Marcus Trufant as the only Pro Bowl corners in team history. Farnsworth: "Five of his team-high six interceptions coming in the final six games, making him only the fifth player in franchise history to lead the team in his first season -- along with Brown (1976), Autry Beamon (1977), Darryl Williams (1996) and Earl Thomas (2010)."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks sought speed and gave second chances when drafting this year.
Art Thiel of Sports Press Northwest reflects on the Seahawks' surprise selection of Bruce Irvin in the first round, offering this: "Pete Carroll, who knows more about Irvin’s past than anyone speculating on the draft, is betting a considerable portion of the Seahawks house that he can design a defensive role that maximizes Irvin’s biggest asset, speed, and minimizes his biggest liability, size. As to whether Irvin’s off-field actions turn him into the next Koren Robinson/Jerramy Stevens or the next Cortez Kennedy/Dave Brown, your guess is as good as anyone's. And no one's."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb is eager to atone for last season. Also, Michael Floyd's arrival as the likely starting flanker could give Andre Roberts extended playing time from the slot. Kolb says he thinks Roberts is a "special" player and should thrive from the slot.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com passes along thoughts from Roberts and Early Doucet regarding Floyd's addition. Doucet: "This isn’t new to me. I’ve seen it all, been through it all. Again, I think it’s a good pick for us. It gives us another big body on the outside like Fitz, and we will have more opportunities if they pay attention to those big bodies. It’s the business. I don’t have any bad blood toward the guy. I’m excited."