NFC West: Eric Fisher

Three things revisited: 49ers-Chiefs

August, 16, 2013
Looking back on three things discussed here before the San Francisco 49ers' 15-13 exhibition victory Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium:

1. QB comparison. There wasn't much to compare because these teams took vastly different approaches to the game. The 49ers removed quarterback Colin Kaepernick after one series. The drive started with Frank Gore breaking a 52-yard run. It ended with a field goal after Kaepernick overshot receiver Chad Hall for what should have been a touchdown. That was it for Kaepernick. Four plays, three points, two pass attempts, one completion and zero basis for meaningful analysis. Former 49ers starter Alex Smith played the full first half for the Chiefs and struggled, even against the 49ers' backups. At least three dropped passes hurt his cause. Smith completed 7-of-16 attempts for 62 yards, or 3.9 yards per attempt. The 49ers sent blitzes after Smith and roughed him up a few times, including when Tony Jerod-Eddie leveled his former teammate with a helmet-to-helmet hit.

2. Jenkins and WRs. Second-year receiver A.J. Jenkins was slow to gain traction for a second week in a row. Super-sized Chiefs corner Sean Smith roughed up Jenkins to break up one early pass. Smith also picked off a pass intended for Jenkins. It appeared as though quarterback Colt McCoy might have been expecting Jenkins to break off his route against pressure. Whatever the case, McCoy threw to one spot while Jenkins was continuing up the field. Jenkins did a good job reacting to trip up Smith, preventing a potential touchdown return. Jenkins also provided a block to help McCoy pick up a first down. All in all, however, Smith and the Chiefs' starting secondary smothered Jenkins throughout the first half. Jenkins did make a 21-yard reception against the Chiefs' backups early in the third quarter, but a holding penalty against offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore negated the play.

3. Rookie outside linebacker. Third-round choice Corey Lemonier got to Alex Smith with a strong inside rush against Chiefs rookie tackle Eric Fisher. I went into the game focused on Lemonier, but second-year inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite was the defensive star for San Francisco in the first half. He stopped running back Cyrus Gray for a 1-yard gain. He broke up a pass to Dwayne Bowe in the red zone. Wilhoite also made a tackle for a 4-yard loss on a punt return. The 49ers appear to have found a promising young backup for their all-world inside linebackers.

Note: I'm filing this after the third quarter because we're deep enough into the game for the key analysis to stand. I'll update if necessary.

2013 #bloggermock: Cardinals at No. 7

April, 23, 2013
What's going on: Our eight divisional bloggers are participating in an ongoing mock draft Tuesday. Each blogger can make selections or trade picks for the four teams in his division.

How to access: Blogger mock console, and via #bloggermock on Twitter.

The latest: I used Arizona's first-round pick, No. 7 overall, for Alabama guard Chance Warmack.

My rationale: There was some debate in my mind between targeting offensive tackle, guard, outside pass-rusher or defensive tackle in this slot. Tackles Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson were not available, however. That helped narrow the choices. I figured Warmack would have been the highest-rated offensive lineman remaining. Guard is arguably a greater need than tackle for the Cardinals if we count Levi Brown, Bobby Massie and Nate Potter as viable players at tackle. Every outside pass-rusher except for Dion Jordan remained available. All else relatively equal, I figured the Cardinals needed more help on offense than defense, so Warmack was the choice. His arrival would allow projected starting right guard Adam Snyder to back up all five positions.

What's next for the NFC West: The St. Louis Rams are scheduled to pick 16th and 22nd, followed by the San Francisco 49ers at No. 31.

NFC West links: Asomugha has 'hunger'

April, 4, 2013
Arizona Cardinals

Daryl Washington's four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy is going to hurt the linebacker's image and his wallet, writes Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Somers: "[Washington] will miss four of 17 checks this fall. So that’s $565,000 of his $2.4 million salary. The Cardinals also could seek to recoup a portion of Washington’s $2.5 million signing bonus."

The team signed former 49ers safety Curtis Taylor, reports Darren Urban.

Azcentral sports NFL insider Bob McManaman has a new mock draft and a new pick for the Cardinals at No. 7 overall: Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher.

St. Louis Rams

Baylor's Terrance Williams is scheduled to make a pre-draft visit to Rams Park Thursday, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Williams is the fourth confirmed Rams visit by a wide receiver, joining California’s Keenan Allen, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, and Tennessee’s Justin Hunter.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has the Rams selecting Tavon Austin with their first first-round pick in this month's draft, and in a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Kiper spoke about what Austin could bring to the Rams offense. Kiper: "I think Austin would be perfect because he fits that mold of being somebody who can come right in and play. This guy has played football forever. I saw him in high school at Dunbar here in Baltimore, he’s been unbelievable. The kid is a touchdown maker. He’s a scoreboard changer in a variety of ways. You can get him the ball in terms of the running game, you can get him the ball on reverses, wide receiver screens, get him in space, the return game. He is dynamic.”

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers made a bigger financial commitment this week to cornerback Carlos Rogers than to newly signed Nnamdi Asomugha, reports's Matt Maiocco. By being on the roster on April 1, $1.25 million of Rogers' scheduled $5.85 million pay for the 2013 season became fully guaranteed.

What kind of player are the 49ers getting in Asomugha, whom the 49ers are paying a base salary of $1.35 million, asks Kevin Lynch of Lynch: "At that price, the 49ers are really getting Asomugha for an extended try out. If Asomugha is anywhere near the player he was in Oakland, the 49ers are getting a good player at a great price. He’s also the type of player who could excel in the 49ers’ defensive scheme, that relies heavily on man coverage."

Asomaugha is out to prove himself after two forgettable seasons in Philadelphia, writes Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times. "There's a drive, there's a hunger inside of me that says, 'I know what I can do and I'm going to get it done,'" Asomugha said. "So, regardless of what others are saying or how others are feeling, I'm just going to make it happen."

Seattle Seahawks

The Percy Harvin trade cost the Seahawks this year's first- and seventh-round picks as well as a third-rounder in 2014. That's a steep price, but it made more sense than trying to trade up in the first round, according to GM John Schneider. "We really looked at where we were with the 25th pick and just thought that for us to get a difference-maker like this we were going to have to move [up] at least five to 10 spots ... in order to acquire a player that may have a chance to be a Percy Harvin," Schneider said via Brady Henderson of

Harvin was among ESPN Insider Matt Bowen's top 5 impact acquisitions this offseason. Bowen: "Creative ability is what you get from the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks took a big risk when they made the trade to acquire Harvin and rewarded him with a new contract that paid out $25.5 million guaranteed. That's big money for a slot receiver who isn't going to consistently align outside of the numbers. However, Harvin gives the Seahawks multiple options from a play-calling and formation perspective, along with the value he brings to the return game. He's an explosive player in the open field who can produce after the catch from a variety of alignments."

How four mocks see West before combine

February, 19, 2013
With NFL prospects descending on Indianapolis this week, I've gathered pre-combine mock draft projections from Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Rob Rang and Gil Brandt.

Their first-round picks for NFC West teams appear in the chart.

Mock drafts tend to make sense from a need standpoint. That is the generally the case here. The four analysts have Arizona seeking help at quarterback or on the offensive line. All four have Seattle targeting help for its defensive line or receiving corps. Defensive line and receiver are the positions projected for San Francisco.

The St. Louis Rams own two first-round selections, providing greater flexibility. Offensive line, receiver, running back, safety and defensive line were the positions targeted for the Rams by these four analysts.

Brandt, the analyst and former Dallas Cowboys executive, has the Rams taking Alabama running back Eddie Lacy. That pick would give the Rams two highly drafted young backs (Lacy and 2012 second-rounder Isaiah Pead), plus Daryl Richardson, who was a find in the seventh round last year.

The Rams' all-time rushing leader, Steven Jackson, would not return under such a scenario. Jackson has a $7 million salary for 2013 and the ability to opt out of his contract.

Kiper mock 2.0: Cardinals thoughts

February, 7, 2013
Mel Kiper Jr. is back Insider with his second 2013 NFL mock draft for the first round.

We're running through the projected picks for NFC West teams in reverse order. Arizona is last up. The Cardinals hold the seventh overall choice, the second time in three seasons they've picked in the top seven.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan

Kiper's give: This is one of the spots where you could see a QB come off the board, but at this stage a QB taken at No. 7 would be a significant reach. Until we see major strides by one of the QB options, Arizona is better off adding a key piece it can start right away and looking for a QB in Round 2, or trading up into the late first. And remember, the Cardinals may have moved on a QB in free agency or via a trade by April. Fisher isn't a big name, but he's as a good as any tackle in this class outside of Joeckel. Arizona was a train wreck at tackle for much of 2012, and even with some young guys on the roster, they need to consider a better option if available.

Sando's take: The Cardinals have said they're going to put greater emphasis on the offensive line. Drafting an offensive lineman seventh overall would back up the talk. Levi Brown, chosen fifth overall in 2007, was the last offensive lineman Arizona selected higher than 112th overall. The Cardinals liked what they saw from rookie tackles Nate Potter and Bobby Massie late in the season. Kiper allows for that, but he's correct in saying there's plenty of room for improvement. It's not like Potter and Massie were becoming dominant forces on the offensive line. Brown, Potter and Massie are the only viable tackles on the roster. D'Anthony Batiste is the only other tackle. Drafting a quarterback this early has appeal in theory, but will any of the prospects impress the Cardinals enough for first-year head coach Bruce Arians to place what would be a relatively big early bet?