NFC West: Peria Jerry
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
I like the 49ers' chances against the Falcons better after watching Atlanta's most recent game, a defeat at New England in Week 3.
Patriots left tackle Matt Light handled Falcons pass-rusher John Abraham quite well. This will be a good test for 49ers left tackle Joe Staley. Staley held up well against the Vikings' Jared Allen after allowing a sack on the first play of the game (of all the times for Jimmy Raye to come out passing, but that is for another discussion).
The Patriots were not very sharp offensively in that game, scoring one touchdown in five red zone trips, but they were still much more productive than the 49ers have been most of the time. Fred Taylor rushed for 105 yards. I'm hesitant to suggest the 49ers will have similar success running the ball against the Falcons. Atlanta had to worry about Tom Brady and Randy Moss. But in watching the Patriots rush 39 times for 168 yards, including some runs from heavier personnel groups similar to the ones San Francisco favors, the 49ers should have some chances.
The 49ers' struggles on the offensive line (both guard spots) against the Rams in Week 4 seemed troubling despite the lopsided outcome. The Falcons' defensive line isn't the same, however, after losing rookie Peria Jerry to a season-ending injury. Atlanta's defensive line hasn't played well overall. Linebacker Mike Peterson did appear quite active against the Patriots, slashing into the backfield a few times. New England did manage to get a tight end matched against a cornerback. The 49ers would take that with Vernon Davis.
The 49ers' defense should fare well against the Falcons' offense based on what I saw from Atlanta in Week 3. The 49ers have not allowed a rushing touchdown this season. Michael Turner is averaging only 3.5 yards per attempt for the Falcons. San Francisco is allowing 1.5 yards per carry outside the numbers, second only to the Ravens (1.4).
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The chart compares mock drafts from four veteran NFC West beat reporters. The four -- Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic and Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times -- combined to project 39 players for first-round status.
Unanimous first-round choices (24): Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Tyson Jackson, Aaron Curry, B.J. Raji, Brian Orakpo, Mark Sanchez, Michael Crabtree, Andre Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Michael Oher, Chris Wells, Robert Ayers, Knowshon Moreno, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Brandon Pettigrew, Rey Maualuga, Josh Freeman, Peria Jerry, Ziggy Hood, Eben Britton.
Three first-round selections (8): Larry English, Aaron Maybin, Darius Butler, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kenny Britt, Vontae Davis, Hakeem Nicks, Donald Brown.
Two first-round selections: (1): Phil Loadholt.
One first-round selection (6): LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin, Alphonso Smith, Everette Brown, Eric Wood, Fili Moala.
Unanimous top-five picks (3): Stafford, Smith and Curry.
Unanimous top-10 picks (6): Stafford, Smtih, Curry, Monroe, Raji and Crabtree.
Unanimous top-15 picks (12): Stafford, Smith, Curry, Monroe, Raji, Crabtree, Jackson, Sanchez, Smith, Maclin, Oher, Orakpo.
Largest disparity, earliest vote to lowest vote: Ayers, 18 spots; Jenkins and Matthews, 16 spots, Butler (14), English (10), Pettigrew (10), Hood (10) and Britton (10).
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says there's no reason for the 49ers to stand on the sideline while the Broncos try to trade Jay Cutler. Maiocco: "The 49ers failed in their bid to acquire free agent Kurt Warner during the opening week of free agency. The 49ers have plenty of cap room to acquire Cutler and sign him to a long-term extension. The big question is whether they can come up with the compensation to appease the Broncos."
Also from Maiocco: He'll be "mildly surprised" if the 49ers draft a quarterback with the 10th overall choice. General manager Scot McCloughan will watch Mark Sanchez at USC's pro day Wednesday.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle summarizes 49ers president Jed York's comments to the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. The subject: A new stadium. A stadium term sheet is in the works. York and the 49ers hope to get a stadium measure on a ballot in 2010. Santa Clara is the preferred site.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' contract talks with Karlos Dansby are proceeding at a slow pace. Also, nose tackle Gabe Watson and tight end Leonard Pope have signed their one-year offers as restricted free agents.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Watson might need follow-up surgery on his injured knee, but the procedure would set him back only three or four weeks. If Watson goes that route, he would stick around the facility with rookies to make up for lost time.
Also from Urban: He'll be attending USC's pro day after traveling to Los Angeles by air with Cardinals president and licensed pilot Michael Bidwell at the controls. That's apparently how they roll at azcardinals.com. Wait, Cardinals' scouts are coming along, too?
Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 gives the Cardinals' secondary an A-plus grade. He hands out lower grades for the other NFC West teams' secondaries. I like the Cardinals' secondary, but Arizona's opponents did finish last season with 36 touchdown passes and a 97.0 passer rating. No defense in the division allowed more touchdown passes or a higher rating in 2008. The Cardinals' high-powered offense didn't even achieve those figures.
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have already visited with free-agent cornerback Ken Lucas. This one slipped beneath the radar. League sources said they never saw Lucas' name on the internal NFL waiver wire, but Seattle obviously has interest.
John Morgan of Field Gulls puts together a Seahawks mock draft based on choices acquired through a mock trade. How about Knowshon Moreno at No. 21?
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom has written songs for country artist Dayna Lane. Rosenbloom: "I've been writing songs since I was a kid. And this girl in Nashville -- Dayna Lane -- recorded a bunch of my songs. Two of them I wrote with Lauren Christy, and eight other songs made the album, which is called Anything You Want. The single, I'll Keep Believing, is on over a hundred radio stations."
Also from Thomas: A chat in which he lists Larry English, Ziggy Hood, Tyson Jackson, Peria Jerry and Lawrence Sidbury as defensive linemen the Rams could pursue in the draft.
VanRam of Turf Show Times gives Aaron Curry to the Rams in a mock draft.