NFC West: Joel Patton
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams have hired three scouts with ties to general manager Billy Devaney. The team dismissed three other scouts. The Rams have also replaced their security director. These things tend to happen when organizations replace their leadership. Coats: "The new hires are Drew Casani, Joel Patton and Jonathan Gannon. Also, Brad Holmes was promoted from combine scout to area scout; Gannon is now the combine scout."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com checks in with the Rams' young receivers. Wagoner: "As it stands, it appears second-year men Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton are all but sure things to sit atop the depth chart when the smoke has cleared. Laurent Robinson, acquired from Atlanta via trade before the draft, is also right in the mix."
VanRam of Turf Show Times takes a statistical look at Rams quarterback Marc Bulger. One thing stood out to me: Bulger's yards per attempt have fallen almost every year. That probably says as much about his supporting cast as it says about Bulger, and possibly more.
David Fucillo of Niners Nation provides NFC West rankings for wide receivers. The 49ers fall third on the list behind the Cardinals and Seahawks. That position seems pretty clearly defined within the division. The 49ers and Seahawks should be much better at receiver in 2009. Fucillo: "I've held back discussing [Michael] Crabtree because I actually expect his draft season foot problems to slow him down out of the gates. While I certainly expect contributions from Crabtree, I'd prefer to operate under a conservative assumption and be pleasantly surprised by whatever he does contribute. Furthermore, I think the 49ers have sufficient depth to cover any growing pains for Crabtree."
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers praise for Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson while suggesting the team is moving closer toward extending Wilson's contract. Rewarding Wilson with an extension would send the right message to his teammates. Show up, play well, work hard, be a team player and get paid. It doesn't always work that way, of course, but it should in this case. And I think it will. Might it work for Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett? We won't know unless they give it a try. Their current approach hasn't worked to this point.
Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune rounds up Seahawks-related links while wondering how anyone could rank Rocky Bernard over Brandon Mebane among NFL defensive tackles. Bernard was certainly better a few years ago, but Mebane was in the Pac-10 at that time. Perhaps a change of scenery will help jump-start Bernard. I wondered last season whether Bernard missed having a veteran player such as Chuck Darby pushing him. Mebane was better than Bernard last season, although that might have said as much about Mebane as it did about Bernard.