NFC West: Robert Ayers

Posted by'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).

Pick Team Jim Thomas, Rams Beat Matt Maiocco, 49ers Beat Kent Somers, Cards Beat Danny O'Neil, Hawks Beat
DET Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford Matthew Stafford Matthew Stafford
STL Jason Smith
Eugene Monroe Eugene Monroe Jason Smith
KC Eugene Monroe
Jason Smith Jason Smith Tyson Jackson
SEA Aaron Curry Aaron Curry Aaron Curry Aaron Curry
CLE Mark Sanchez
B.J. Raji
Michael Crabtree
Brian Orakpo
CIN Andre Smith
Andre Smith Andre Smith B.J. Raji
OAK Jeremy Maclin
Michael Crabtree Jeremy Maclin Jeremy Maclin
JAC B.J. Raji Mark Sanchez B.J. Raji Mark Sanchez
GB Michael Crabtree Michael Oher
Tyson Jackson Eugene Monroe
SF Michael Oher Tyson Jackson Michael Oher Michael Crabtree
BUF Brian Orakpo Brian Orakpo Brian Orakpo Andre Smith
DEN Tyson Jackson Chris Wells
Robert Ayers
Michael Oher
WAS Larry English
Jeremy Maclin
Mark Sanchez Chris Wells
NO Malcolm Jenkins
Malcolm Jenkins
Chris Wells
Knowshon Moreno
HOU Brian Cushing
Brian Cushing
Clay Matthews
Aaron Maybin
SD Chris Wells
Rey Maualuga
Rey Maualuga Brandon Pettigrew
NYJ Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman Josh Freeman Brian Cushing
DEN Clay Matthews
Aaron Maybin
Darius Butler
Malcolm Jenkins
TB Peria Jerry
Peria Jerry Peria Jerry Josh Freeman
DET Ziggy Hood
Brandon Pettigrew
Ziggy Hood
Rey Maualuga
PHI Knowshon Moreno Knowshon Moreno Knowshon Moreno
LeSean McCoy
MIN Eben Britton
Percy Harvin
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Eben Britton
NE Robert Ayers
Larry English
Larry English
Robert Ayers
ATL Aaron Maybin
Vontae Davis
Brian Cushing
Vontae Davis
MIA Rey Maualuga
Darius Butler
Vontae Davis Clay Matthews
BAL Brandon Pettigrew
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Brandon Pettigrew
Alphonso Smith
IND Darrius Heyward-Bey
Ziggy Hood
Kenny Britt
Peria Jerry
BUF Phil Loadholt
Phil Loadholt Eben Britton
Everette Brown
NYG Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks
Kenny Britt
TEN Kenny Britt
Robert Ayers
Malcolm Jenkins
Ziggy Hood
ARI Donald Brown Clay Matthews
Donald Brown Donald Brown
PIT Fili Moala
Eben Britton Eric Wood
Darius Butler

Posted by's Mike Sando

Sensing the shortage of mock drafts this time of year, I joined'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.

(Read full post)

Around the NFC West: Goodbye to Holt

March, 14, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hails Torry Holt's professionalism after the Rams released the former Pro Bowl receiver. Holt often worked harder and more diligently than less established players.

The National Football Post says the Rams and Titans talked about a trade involving Holt, but the receiver wasn't interested in the suggested contract adjustment.

Jeff Gordon of, in addressing Torry Holt's release from the Rams, says there's no room for sentimentality in the NFL.

Also from Gordon: The Rams' recent moves suggest the team is getting back to the basics of blocking and tackling.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch considers it "strange" that the Rams haven't re-signed versatile backup offensive lineman Adam Goldberg, who visited the Browns.

Turf Show Times' Tackle Box thinks the Rams need upgrades at cornerback even after re-signing Ron Bartell. Getting more from Tye Hill would certainly help.

Niners general manager Scot McCloughan says drafting a quarterback 10th overall "sure is" an option for the 49ers even with Alex Smith still on the roster. Not that a GM would want to publicly rule out any options in the draft.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says the 49ers might be more of a passing team than Mike Singletary's image suggests. I expect this to become a theme for the 49ers and the Seahawks at various points this offseason. Everyone assumes new Seattle coordinator Greg Knapp is going to run most of the time, but that will not always be true. Both teams want balance.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat breaks down the 49ers' scouting department while noting that the team relied on its area scout -- not McCloughan -- to monitor Andre Smith's recent workout.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee ponders a mock draft featuring Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers as the 49ers' potential choice at No. 10.

Darren Urban of checks in with Jason Wright during the former Browns running back's visit to Cardinals headquarters. Wright would help on special teams in addition to providing depth at the position. Urban: "Again, if it happens, it's not a sexy signing. But sometimes the best signings are the ones no one notices."

Also from Urban: Tight end Stephen Spach says he expects to return from knee surgery at some point during training camp.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind says Browns fans weren't always high on Wright.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the Seahawks wanted to re-sign Floyd Womack, but probably as a backup. Womack went to the Browns instead. The Browns' line coach, George Warhop, was with Mike Nolan in San Francisco, so he might be familiar with Womack from playing against the Seahawks.

Also from Farnsworth: He confirms reports that Julian Peterson refused a pay cut and could become a salary-cap casualty.

John Morgan of Field Gulls compares Matt Hasselbeck's numbers to Jon Kitna's numbers over the 2005 through 2008 seasons. They are similar.

Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts says he wouldn't see much value in the Seahawks swinging a trade for Lions defensive lineman Cory Redding. I don't think teams can have enough starting-caliber defensive linemen.