NFC West: Chris Harris

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers a detailed account of 49ers personnel director Trent Baalke's draft session with reporters covering the 49ers. Barrows after watching clips of first-round tackle Anthony Davis: "When Davis got into a defender, he usually moved him out of the way. And his quickness allowed him to seal off defensive tackles in the running game. In one clip, Davis is lined up facing a DT from Texas Southern. At the snap, he maneuvers to the DT's right side, flips his hips and walls off the defenders, giving the running back a roomy running lane through the middle of the defense. You can picture Mike Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye watching that particular play with tears of joy running down their cheeks." Also, the differences between 'Ted' and 'Mike" linebacker positions aren't nearly as great since Singletary took over for Nolan.

Also from Barrows: Singletary as stadium salesman.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat quotes Baalke this way on 49ers first-round choice Mike Iupati: "Look at the quickness. You don't see 330-pound guys come off the ball with this quickness very often, not in college and not in the NFL. You give Frank (Gore) those kind of holes, and you'll be winning a lot more games than not."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says it's clear that Taylor Mays needs to focus more on tackling and less on hitting.

Brian McIntyre of Scout.com sizes up the Seahawks' defense, position by position.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com previews the team's upcoming minicamp. Offensive line coach Alex Gibbs on new guard Ben Hamilton's role in mentoring Russell Okung: "Ben just went through this with the kid at Denver (with Ryan Clady). You can’t throw them out there without someone to guide them. We needed a player that had done that, and knew the system that I knew, to help with the transfer. That’s what Ben is for. Ben will line up inside of (Okung) and guide him daily through the whole process. So he’s Coach One, I’m Coach Two."

Also from Farnsworth: an appreciation of Walter Jones' exploits. Steve Hutchinson: "Walt was the epitome of an offensive lineman. He didn’t get beat. He never talked. As an offensive lineman, it’s an unwritten rule where you don’t talk to the media; you don’t want to be the quote guy. Walt was all that stuff. When you think of offensive linemen -- big, silent, strong -- that was Walt." See also: document declaring Friday as "Walter Jones Day" in Washington.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times quotes Trent Dilfer on Jones: "It took me a year of being here before I realized this. Every time we lined up, the best player on the field was my left tackle."

Also from O'Neil: Seahawks general manager John Schneider addresses the "Elephant" position in Seattle's defense. Schneider: "It is a position that my roommate in college made up! Kidding, we actually call it the 'leo' position here and yes, it is the weakside defensive end position, much like Charles Haley played in Dallas and San Francisco."

More from O'Neil: a Jones timeline.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says Mike Holmgren called Jones the best offensive player he has coached. Holmgren: "I did. And then I got so much flak on that from the quarterbacks, they all started phoning me saying, 'What are you doing?' He's one of the best offensive players I've ever coached, absolutely. And he’s the best tackle. It’s the feeling that you have when you have a left tackle that can play like he does, and you don’t have to monkey with your protections that much that way. You just can say, 'OK, you’ve got that guy and we’ll help in other areas.' Very few teams can say that." Holmgren was fortunate to inherit Jones in Seattle and Joe Thomas in Cleveland.



Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic thinks Bryan Robinson's re-signing could put Gabe Watson on notice. Somers: "Watson hasn't been able to beat out Robinson the past two seasons, and the club took Dan Williams in the first round. Robinson, who turns 36 this summer, can also play end."

Also from Somers: Alan Faneca was excited to join the Cardinals largely because his "great friend" Russ Grimm is coaching the offensive line. Somers: "He likely will be plugged in at left guard, with Reggie Wells moving to either right guard or right tackle. Deuce Lutui, the incumbent at left guard will be in the mix when, or if, he signs his free-agent tender. So will Rex Hadnot, a free agent signed in the off-season. Brandon Keith and Jeremy Bridges are expected to compete for the right-tackle job."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com checks in with new Cardinals draft choice O'Brien Schofield for a lesson on the origins of the player's name. "Alacce" is his first name. His middle name was bestowed by accident.

Also from Urban: a look at key issues heading into the Cardinals' postdraft minicamp. Somers: "Can Daryl Washington show something early? Will the pressure of replacing Karlos Dansby fall to Paris Lenon? And what about a guy like Ali Highsmith -- can he make a run at playing time while Washington grows up in the NFL?"

More from Urban: a shot of Faneca and Grimm walking through the facility. They look like they could have been teammates. Great mustache on Faneca.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with new Rams tight end Fendi Onobun. General manager Billy Devaney: "We're taking a flier, guys. We know that. It's a project in its truest sense."

Also from Coats: a few words from new Rams safety Kevin Payne.

Jim Rodenbush of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says the Bears thought Payne was better suited to strong safety than free safety. Rodenbush: "The Bears drafted Payne in 2007 out of Louisiana-Monroe, prompting the team to trade his former college teammate and safety Chris Harris to the Panthers. The Bears selected safety Major Wright in the third round of last week’s draft and reacquired Harris on Tuesday in advance of Payne’s trade to the Rams." The Bears had also signed Adam Archuleta in 2007.

Payne eager to contribute with Rams

April, 29, 2010
4/29/10
3:51
PM ET
Newly acquired Rams safety Kevin Payne has been in the NFL only since 2007. He's already received quite the professional education.

Payne

Payne

The Bears drafted him in 2007, then traded his former college teammate and fellow safety, Chris Harris, to the Panthers. The Bears drafted another safety, Major Wright, and re-acquired Harris within the last week, precipitating Payne's departure to the Rams via trade.

"It's crazy," Payne said during a conference call Thursday. "You could write a book on it."

The book on Payne is that he was more comfortable at strong safety than free safety because hitting, not coverage, is his strength. Payne said he does love to hit -- it's one of the reasons he prefers safety to running back, the position he played early in college -- but he also stood up for his coverage skills.

"I am a very physical safety," Payne said. "I feel I can play any position, strong or free. I have the speed to play free and can (hit)."

The Rams need safety depth anyway and especially with starter Oshiomogho Atogwe unsigned. The team must upgrade its offer to Atogwe from $1.226 million to nearly $7 million by June to keep his rights. Atogwe plays free safety and has been a ball hawk in past seasons, although not so much in 2009.

The Rams' moves to draft cornerback Jerome Murphy in the third round and add Payne via trade suggest the team would like to get more physical in the secondary.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider

NFC WEST SCOREBOARD