NFC West: Jahi Word-Daniels
The market for Oshiomogho Atogwe appears undefined roughly 12 hours into the former Rams safety's life as a free agent.
Of course, Miami wasn't considered the most likely destination for receiver Brandon Marshall before the Dolphins acquired him, as one acquaintance noted. Stuff could be swirling beneath the surface in the absence of visible evidence.
Maurice Morris, Nate Burleson, Rob Sims, Julian Peterson, Bryant Johnson, Shaun Hill, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Jonathan Wade, Marquand Manuel, Will Heller, Roy Schuening, Jahi Word-Daniels and Trevor Canfield come to mind.
The Lions have also collected former NFC West head coaches, from Steve Mariucci to Scott Linehan to Mike Martz.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The race for the No. 3 job behind them deserves some attention. Veteran Damon Huard has a 15-12 record as an NFL starter. He provides value as an experienced backup. The team also wants to develop fifth-round rookie quarterback Nate Davis.
What to do?
Davis is a project. He will not help the 49ers this season. The question becomes whether another team would sign him to its 53-man roster if the 49ers waived Davis and tried to sign him to their practice squad.
As noted, NFL teams selected 19 quarterbacks in the fifth round from the 2000 through 2008 drafts. Eighteen earned opening-day spots on 53-man rosters as rookies. The Steelers' Omar Jacobs was an exception in 2006, the year Ben Roethlisberger opened on the bench following a motorcycle accident.
The factors that pushed down Davis in the draft -- notably a learning disability that the 49ers see as overstated -- still exist. If teams fear Davis might struggle to learn their system -- and for the sake of this discussion, it doesn't matter if such fears are justified -- the 49ers might have an easier time getting
Davis onto their practice squad.
What would you do?
The chart shows all 31 current 49ers players with eligibility, arranged by position. I left first-round choice Michael Crabtree off the chart because he has not signed with the team.
NFL teams must reduce rosters from 80 to 75 players Sept. 1. They must reduce to 53 players Sept. 5. They can begin forming eight-man practice squads Sept. 6 at noon ET.
As the NFL puts it:
After 12 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free-agency credit or who were on the 45-player active list for less than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season(s). A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.
The 49ers also face dilemmas at other positions, including what to do at receiver while Crabtree and Brandon Jones are not available, but that third quarterback race stands out.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The 49ers' roster appears most interesting at running back and receiver.
The more I think about how much the 49ers want to pound the ball on offense, the more I see them keeping two fullbacks on the Week 1 roster.
Zak Keasey's broken forearm prevents him from becoming part of the equation early, and it's tough to see a team waiting two months for a backup fullback to get healthy. Enter Bill Rentmeester. Formerly of the Chargers, Rentmeester offers what preseason touchdown machine Brit Miller does not: experience at fullback. For the sake of this roster exercise, I'll pencil in Rentmeester for Week 1.
The chart provides a framework for how many players the 49ers might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the Cardinals.
Here's a quick look at which 49ers players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players (I made one change, moving Cody Wallace into the group of offensive linemen at Joe Toledo's expense):
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers failed to address their biggest needs in the draft. Crumpacker: "Circumstances conspired against San Francisco getting an elite player at these vital positions. When the 49ers were up at 10 on Saturday, they saw Crabtree still available, so that meant no Michael Oher, the Mississippi tackle." Said coach Mike Singletary: "We had a head-on issue with Crabtree and Michael Oher." The team also wanted to add a pass rusher, Singletary said, but it did not happen.
Also from Crumpacker: Crabtree will wear No. 15 with the 49ers. His father, who drives a bread truck, can presumably retire if he wants.
Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle passes along a pointed quote from Crabtree's college coach, Mike Leach, in regard to reports that Crabtree's attitude had turned off Browns coach Eric Mangini during the scouting process. Leach on Mangini: "How about that guy? There's a bunch of things that I've heard that guy described as that I might start sharing publicly. I mean, let's just point out that Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy has been as a coach at this point." Leach called Crabtree a team player in every way.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat gave Billy Bajema something to think about when he described the newly drafted Bear Pasco as "definitely" an upgrade over the former 49ers tight end. The 49ers also did not bring back tight end Sean Ryan. The 49ers addressed offense aggressively in the draft.
Also from Maiocco: The 49ers have reached agreements with several undrafted free agents. The list includes Purdue running back Kory Sheets, Ohio State tackle Alex Boone, Georgia Tech cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels, Stanford defensive end Pannel Egboh and South Carolina cornerback Carlos Thomas.
Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat thinks the 49ers vastly outperformed the Raiders in the draft. The 49ers were thrilled to find Crabtree at No. 10.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation grades the 49ers' draft selections. Crabtree's selection gets high marks. Glen Coffee's selection gets a C. Fucillo: "The reason I discount this grade so much is that I'd imagine they could have had him a little later, or even gone with some other RB options late in the draft. Running back was a need for this team, in spite of what others might think. However, there were some serious players available here that left me a bit confused. In the end I can live with this pick because I do think the 49ers front office has some clue of what's going on (no snickers please). However, it was one that had me a little bit befuddled."
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers like Crabtree for his toughness.
Also from Barrows: A look at the 49ers' new uniforms.