NFC West: D\'Brickashaw Ferguson
Both are starters for the San Francisco 49ers.
Both were arguably selected higher than their positions warranted in terms of value.
Both have earned Pro Bowl recognition in recent seasons. Both have made high-impact plays in postseason victories over the past two seasons.
Tight end Vernon Davis and strong safety Donte Whitner are key players for the 49ers heading into the team's Super Bowl matchup against Baltimore.
I've singled out Davis in this item because the seventh-year tight end provided yet another high-impact postseason performance Sunday, his third 100-yard receiving game in four playoff appearances over the past two seasons. Davis also had a 44-yard reception against Green Bay last week in his lone playoff performance totaling less than 100 yards.
As the chart below shows, Davis accounts for three of the five highest single-game postseason yardage totals for tight ends over the past two seasons. Davis and Dallas Clark are the only NFL tight ends with more than one 100-yard receiving game in the playoffs since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Each has three.
The Ravens have allowed only one postseason touchdown pass to a tight end since 2001. They have allowed only two 110-yard receiving games to tight ends in regular-season or playoff games since 2001. Philadelphia's Brent Celek had 157 yards against the Ravens last season. San Diego's Antonio Gates had a 105-yard game against Baltimore in 2007.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Sensing the shortage of mock drafts this time of year, I joined ESPN.com's other divisional bloggers in putting together our own version.
A confession: I sent Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe to the Rams at No. 2 knowing the decision helped avert a dilemma with Seattle at No. 4.
Sending another player to the Rams -- specifically receiver Michael Crabtree -- might have complicated the choice I was facing two picks later.
If Crabtree disappeared from the available pool at No. 2 and my AFC West counterpart, Bill Williamson, snagged Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry for the Chiefs at No. 3, then what for Seattle? I wasn't ready to join the Mark Sanchez-to-Seattle hype machine, but the possibility seemed more realistic without Crabtree and Curry available as alternatives.
The Rams need a tackle more than Seattle needs one, the thinking goes, so it's convenient for St. Louis to take one, leaving the Seahawks with more palatable options two picks later.
Alas, these are all theories built on assumptions. Reality figures to diverge significantly.
Four of Scouts Inc.'s 32 highest-ranked players -- Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers, Florida receiver Percy Harvin, Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas and Connecticut cornerback Darius Butler -- failed to find their way into our divisional bloggers' mock. Two players appearing on our mock -- Rutgers receiver Kenny Britt and Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith -- did not earn spots on the Scouts Inc. top 32.
I doubt whether any two NFL teams share the same rankings for the top 32 players.
There is no consensus, in other words.
With that, I'll break down where each of my projected NFC West projections could break down.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike SandoThe Seahawks hold the fourth, 37th, 68th, 105th, 137th, 178th, 213th, 245th, 247th and 248th choices in the 2009 draft. For perspective, I've singled out the last four players chosen in those spots.
Seattle drafted one of those players: offensive lineman Ray Willis, taken 105th in 2005, Tim Ruskell's first season as team president.
The Seahawks have four seventh-round choices this year. Ruskell's teams have fared well drafting in the seventh round. The last five players his teams have drafted in the round remain on NFL rosters, all drafted since 2006: Justin Forsett, Brandon Coutu, Steve Vallos, Ryan Plackemeier and Ben Obomanu.
Ninety-five of the 132 seventh-round choices drafted by other teams during the same span remain on NFL rosters.