NFC West: Robert Griffin III

Kaepernick-GriffinGetty ImagesColin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin are both trying to end their teams' two -game losing skids.
At one point this game looked like it might be a fun one. Two young, electric quarterbacks leading teams with big playoff aspirations on "Monday Night Football."

The narrative has shifted over time. The 49ers remain firmly in the playoff hunt, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not taken the leap many expected, whether because he lacks receiving targets or because of his own performance.

The Redskins aren’t in any playoff race, done in by their own inconsistent play. And the honeymoon period for quarterback Robert Griffin III officially has ended. The 3-7 record isn’t just his fault and he’s capable of strong games, but he’s a work in progress in the passing game. For Washington, a win might not turn its season around, but it certainly would take some sting off recent defeats and make the Redskins feel a little better.

ESPN.com 49ers reporter Bill Williamson and Redskins reporter John Keim break down the matchup.

John Keim: Bill, we’ve been consumed with Griffin’s up-and-down season. But he’s not the only young QB enduring growing pains. Why has Kaepernick not had the season many expected? Is it just injuries to others?

Bill Williamson: It starts with a lack of receiving weapons. He hasn't had much to work with beyond Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis for much of the season. Kaepernick has had his moments and his Total QBR is 62.5, which is 11th in the NFL. He had Total QBR performances of 99 and 99.8 in Weeks 7 and 8, respectively. So, he has ability. But he has struggled in the fourth quarter all season.

Like Griffin, Kaepernick is in his second season as a starter and it hasn’t been as smooth as his first season. John, which quarterback do you see having the better game Monday night?

Keim: Well, one quarterback is facing a pass defense that has struggled and that’s Kaepernick. Opposing quarterbacks have a 99.2 passer rating against Washington compared to 74.8 when facing the Niners. I also see both defenses trying to force the other quarterback to beat them. Teams have done this against Griffin sometimes by sitting on the play-action and, because of it, taking away favored routes. Griffin has been up-and-down and has been under a harsher microscope overall than probably any young quarterback. I wonder how he’ll respond Monday after a difficult game and subsequent few days. He’s a competitor so he won’t back down. But the matchup for Kaepernick is just better and more conducive to success.

At the start of the season this game looked like it would be a big one. But the Redskins are 3-7 and have lost two straight and the Niners, while better off, have lost two straight. Again, is this just about injuries, are they not playing as well, or did they just have a two-game stumble?

Williamson: I think it’s a stumble. The 49ers were 6-2 and on a five-game win streak before losing to Carolina and New Orleans. The 49ers lost those two games by a total of four points. San Francisco could have easily won those games. San Francisco has played outstanding defense all season. The offense has struggled in the past two weeks. But I can see this team getting it together pretty quickly.

John, can you see the Redskins hanging in this game?

Keim: The problem for Washington is that to win a game like this the Redskins must do more than play well on one side of the ball -- and probably need a good effort in all three phases. That’s something they haven’t really had this season and I don’t know why I’d expect that to begin Monday against a good team. But hang for a while? Sure, but it will be difficult. They’ll need a turnover or two early to help. While I think Kaepernick will have a stronger game, it’s not like he’s been lights out and the Redskins could make him work for a while; they’ve been good at making teams one-dimensional (yet still struggling). However, they’ve had problems against mobile quarterbacks this season and his ability to extend plays will be big. I don’t think this will come down to a final drive as it has the past two weeks for Washington.

It does look like the Niners’ defense is still one of the best. We know about the big names on this group, but what makes them so effective overall? And how have they fared against option quarterbacks?

Williamson: This defense has been top notch all season. It’s well-coached, and varied. It is tough against the run and its secondary has been strong against the pass. The Saints scored just two touchdowns at home against San Francisco. That tells you something about this defense. The pass rush has sagged some with Aldon Smith out for five games due to personal reasons. He’s been back for two games and is still working his way into shape. The 49ers need to get him back in a groove. As far as option quarterbacks, they have fared pretty well against them and I don’t expect this week to be different.

John, can you see the Redskins’ offense challenging the 49ers’ defense?

Keim: Challenging? That will be tough because the Redskins need to prove they can throw the ball against a good pass defense. This is, by far, the best defense Washington has faced. In fact, of the Redskins’ first nine opponents, none is currently ranked in the top 16 in yards allowed, though two teams are in that category for points allowed (Philadelphia, San Diego). The Redskins will have to make big plays in the pass game early, something they haven’t done a lot of this season, and it sounds as if the 49ers will try to stop the run with just their front seven, making it tougher to move against them. Washington also continues to have issues in pass protection and Griffin still sometimes hesitates and therefore misses open guys. The Redskins have also turned the ball over quite a bit, not a good thing against a team that is plus-6 in turnover differential.

NFL teams have played their most important snaps of the 2013 exhibition season now that every team has played at least three games.

This becomes a good time to check out how many snaps each projected starting quarterback has played. The players listed in the chart below entered preseason as the quarterbacks I considered most likely to start season openers. We might have to make adjustments in some cases.

Teams have different priorities based on a range of factors. This snapshot does provide some context.

A few notes regarding the NFC West info:
  • Arizona Cardinals: Carson Palmer appeared sharper in the preseason opener than he did subsequently. Pass protection was one problem against San Diego on Saturday night. Palmer still got 37 snaps, his highest total of the preseason. But with the team losing key players Rob Housler and Jonathan Cooper to injuries, snap counts for Palmer were not a leading storyline.
  • St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford has played 25 snaps in each of the last two preseason games. He is averaging 10.2 yards per pass attempt in the preseason and has a 114.1 NFL passer rating to this point (he finished the 2012 preseason with five touchdown passes, no picks and a 116.3 rating). The team's most recent preseason game, at Denver, provided Bradford a good opportunity to connect with Jared Cook, the tight end St. Louis lured away from Tennessee in free agency with $19 million in guarantees. Cook caught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.
  • San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick has played fewer snaps than any projected starter other than the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, who has not yet played in a game since suffering knee injuries in the playoffs last season. Kaepernick finished strong against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night, completing his final six passes, including one for a touchdown.
  • Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson took three sacks and threw two interceptions while playing 38 snaps against Green Bay in the most recent preseason game. The Packers, meanwhile, pulled Aaron Rodgers after 10 snaps. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the Packers came after Seattle with scheme-related wrinkles an offense would address in the regular season, but not preseason.
The San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick has played fewer preseason snaps than any projected starting quarterback except for the still-idled Robert Griffin III.

Big deal? Not necessarily.

Injuries, game circumstances, position battles and other factors affect how NFL teams allot playing time during the exhibition season. Kaepernick played 12 snaps in the preseason opener, not far from the 13.8-snap average for projected starters in openers. His four snaps against Kansas City in the 49ers' second preseason game came in well below the 26.6-snap average for the other projected starters in their second preseason games.

"I didn't want anything freakish to happen," Harbaugh told reporters Sunday. "Sometimes you gotta have a plan and you also need a feel, too. So, just felt like he has gotten tremendous amount of work in practice. Though you’d like to have him play more in the preseason games, it comes down to a feel there."

The chart shows how many snaps projected starting quarterbacks have played in the preseason. "DNP" shows when a projected starter did not play. "MNF" reflects the scheduled "Monday Night Football" game between Pittsburgh and Washington.

First-year starters filled four of the top five spots in Total QBR while under pressure last season.

Two of them, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, call the NFC West home.

Wilson
Jones
Kaepernick
With Pro Football Focus singling out the division's current passers for review in this area, I've put together a chart showing where Wilson, Kaepernick, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford and NFC West alum Alex Smith ranked in this area using ESPN's game charting. That charting defines pressure as plays when the quarterback was sacked, forced to scramble, hit while throwing or put under duress, which counts plays when the quarterback was forced from the pocket, forced to alter his throwing motion, forced to move within the pocket or faced with an approaching defender clearly in his line of sight.

Note that the QBR scores aren't very good even for the league leaders. That's because pressure creates problems even for the quickest decision-makers. Sure, they'll beat the pressure some of the time, but defenses are going to prevail most of the time.

Bradford
Bradford
Palmer
A few quick takeaways as they relate to the NFC West:
  • Russell Wilson: Wilson held the ball longer than any other quarterback on a per-play basis, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He generally did a good job looking downfield for open receivers. Wilson also made quick decisions against immediate pressure. The quick escape he made throwing across his body to Sidney Rice outside the numbers against the Miami Dolphins was one such example. I thought it was the most impressive play Wilson made all season.
  • Colin Kaepernick: The stats show Kaepernick was so much more aggressive and effective than predecessor Alex Smith in these situations. Smith was looking to bail from bad plays, minimizing mistakes at the expense of the occasional gain. This approach fit the 49ers' mindset. Kaepernick offered more. A play he made against Green Bay in the playoffs stands out in my mind as one example. The Packers pressured Kaepernick on a third-and-10 play with 11:28 left in the first quarter. Kaepernick rolled to his left and then threw across his body to Frank Gore behind the coverage. Gore gained 45 yards on the play.
  • Sam Bradford: This is one area where the Rams need better production from Bradford and the offense. There were a few bright spots last season, including when Bradford stood strong against the Arizona Cardinals' blitz during the early stages of a Week 5 game in the Edward Jones Dome. Bradford threw deep for Danny Amendola against Patrick Peterson for a 44-yard gain, even through linebacker Daryl Washington was about to tag him.
  • Carson Palmer: Note that Palmer had only four rushing attempts in these situations. He also ranked second to the Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck in percentage of plays when opponents hit him while throwing. This will be one area to watch as Arizona emphasizes deeper passes requiring longer time for receivers to get open.
The Seattle Seahawks ranked first and the San Francisco 49ers were second in ESPN's most recent NFL Power Rankings.

The order is swapped in the most recent report on NFL jersey sales.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has the NFL's best-selling jersey over the past three months. Seahawks counterpart Russell Wilson, a runner-up to Kaepernick for an ESPY Award the other night, ranks second.

Better yet for their teams, both quarterbacks have played well enough to warrant the interest. They ranked first (Wilson at 81.7) and second (Kaepernick at 81.2) in Total QBR from Week 11, when Kaepernick became a starter, through the postseason. And they're just getting started.

Well-established players such as Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers fill out much of the top 10. That's impressive on another level given that so many people have already purchased their jerseys in previous years. Their jerseys are still hot.

The 49ers and Seahawks also rank first and second in jersey sales overall this offseason, according to the piece Darren Rovell published on ESPN.com.

ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck and Andrew Brandt think Andrew Luck will have the best second season as a starting quarterback in 2013 over Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. They think it'll be close, however.

Hasselbeck, whose brother backs up Luck for the Indianapolis Colts, ranks Wilson a "close second" on his list, followed by Kaepernick and Griffin. He thinks receiver issues could help Wilson and hurt Kaepernick.

"His game is complete," Hasselbeck said of Wilson. "And he can run. He is an athletic quarterback. We see them do some of the read-option type stuff with him. Then you add Percy Harvin to the fold, who I think is one of the more dynamic players in the entire NFL. That is going to have a big impact on how he plays."

Brandt also had Luck first. He called Wilson and Griffin a toss-up for the second spot.

"I think Wilson and Griffin are two guys who elevate the whole team," Brandt said. "They have great character, they have great gifts, but they seem to make players better around them. If I had to flip a coin, I would agree with Tim, and Russell Wilson would be my No. 2."

The chart is one we discussed during the regular season as Wilson was gaining momentum and Luck slowed some after carrying his team.

Luck posted a 76.1 Total QBR score in his team's first eight games, fourth-highest in the NFL. That figure fell to 48.3, which ranked 20th, over the final eight. Wilson was at 53.0 (18th) in the first eight and 83.9 (first) in the final eight.

Kaepernick gets the short end of this discussion. He owns fewer starts than the others. He had the best supporting cast. Top receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles' tendon. Those factors could make analysts a little more cautious as they search for reasons to rank one player slightly ahead of another.

All four young quarterbacks exceeded reasonable expectations for first-year starters. All four appear to have bright futures. We might want to keep in mind Ryan Tannehill as well. He was slightly better than Luck in both Total QBR and NFL passer rating over the final eight games of the 2012 season.

"[Tannehill] isn't far behind those guys," ESPN.com NFL scout Matt Williamson said during a recent chat. "I don't throw the term 'franchise QB' around lightly, but Tannehill is/will be a franchise QB."
Russell Wilson frequently faced questions about his relative lack of height last season. He changed the subject during a successful rookie season as the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback, posting an 11-5 record while matching Peyton Manning's rookie record for touchdown passes.

Up next for Wilson: changing perceptions about his role within the offense.

ESPN's Jeff Chadiha hit upon this one in his latest column, contending that Wilson was not carrying his team the way Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III carried their teams as rookies, and that life for Wilson could become more difficult as expectations increase.

"The question Wilson will face this season is how he'll cope when defenses force him to win more games on his own talents," Chadiha wrote.

I thought Wilson did that last season. He had 43 drop-backs during an overtime victory at Chicago featuring 97- and 80-yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. The performance was so impressive that Bears receiver Brandon Marshall called Wilson a "born leader" and someone he could "watch and learn from" even as a veteran player.

There are still skeptics.

"I like the kid, but he also was playing with a top-five defense and a top-five running game," an opposing team's quarterbacks coach told Chadiha for the column. "It helps a lot when you don't have to throw the football 35 times a game."

Wilson completed 24 of 36 passes for 385 yards with two touchdowns, a 109.1 NFL passer rating and 86.4 Total QBR score during a playoff game in the Georgia Dome last season. He dropped back to pass a season-high 44 times in that game and set another season high by averaging 9.7 yards per drop-back.

Other teams asked their quarterbacks to carry more of the load from a passing standpoint. That was certainly the case with Luck, who had as many drop-backs as Wilson and Griffin combined. The chart at right illustrates some of what Chadiha is saying. Wilson ranked 33rd out of 34 qualifying quarterbacks in drop-backs per start. Griffin ranked 31st in that category. San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick was 30th.

Sometimes, a team will limit its quarterback's drop-backs for fear of the quarterback's inability to carry the offense. That has been the case with Mark Sanchez over the years, for example. I think Seattle had those thoughts in mind early last season, before Wilson gained some experience. That type of thinking wasn't a consideration when the season ended. It's not a consideration now.

Analysts might be disappointed if they think the Seahawks are suddenly going to adopt a pass-oriented offense. Coach Pete Carroll wants to feature the ground game prominently in his offense. That was the case for Griffin's Redskins and Kaepernick's 49ers last season even though both teams had confidence in their quarterbacks.

Player performance levels vary from season to season. The term "sophomore slump" applies to declines from a player's first to second season, but it also implies there are special challenges associated with transitioning to a second season.

This sounds like fiction to me.

Yes, NFL defensive coordinators will be better prepared for Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in 2013 than they were when those quarterbacks were rookies in 2012. Wilson, Luck and Griffin should also be better prepared for NFL defenses.

"I've always felt like the most improvement you can make is from Year 1 to Year 2, much like a college freshman who the most improvement he can make in an entire one year of college football is going from Year 1, freshman year, to his sophomore year," San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said last offseason.

Harbaugh then specifically applied the same thinking to NFL players.

"Like a pro football player going from his rookie season to his second season, there’s a window there that will never come again that you have a chance at making your biggest strides," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh's comments came to mind immediately when watching Ben Roethlisberger and Brian Dawkins discuss in the video above what Luck, Wilson and Griffin must do to avoid falling off in their second seasons.

Players sometimes decline from one season to the next, especially when they are coming off a particularly outstanding season. It's tough to be great every year. However, we don't talk about junior or senior slumps when players decline in their third or fourth seasons. Sophomore slumps sound overrated to me.

Reducing Sam Bradford's 2011 struggles to a "sophomore slump" would ignore a long list of reasons for his decline that were totally unrelated to a player transitioning to a second season. The St. Louis Rams changed offensive systems. They suffered through more injuries than usual. Bradford himself was injured.

We can explore this subject in greater detail once I have a chance to dig deeper into some of the numbers.

Some initial findings: Ten quarterbacks from 2008 through 2011 were regular starters in both their first and second seasons. Five of the 10 posted significantly higher Total QBR scores in their second seasons. Three others posted second-year Total QBR scores that were very similar to their first-season scores. Two others, Bradford and Matt Ryan, posted significantly lower scores in their second seasons.

Ryan was the only one of the bunch with a stellar first-year Total QBR score. His was 74.1 in 2008, well above the 50-point average and among the top few scores in the league. We could say he "slumped" to a 56.6 in his second season, and that is surely what people will say happened if Wilson, Luck or Griffin III aren't as good in 2013 as they were during their sensational 2012 rookie seasons.

A smart bettor would take the "under" when projecting whether any player will improve or regress following a stellar season. The difference with players coming off rookie seasons is that we've seen less of them, making it tougher to set expectations. Nothing I saw from Wilson or Luck made me think either had significant holes in his game. Griffin is in a different category because he's coming off major knee surgery and he ran an offensive system that remains relatively untested in the NFL.
Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have dominated NFL headlines as young quarterbacks on the rise. NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas expects Cam Newton to upstage them all in 2013.

Newton
Newton
"Call it bouncing back, breaking through or whatever you want, but I’m predicting a big 2013 season from the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers," Yasinskas writes in a column that has generated 5,000 comments and counting. "Yeah, I’ll even step out on a limb and say he has a better 2013 season than Wilson, Kaepernick, Luck and RG III."

Newton did finish strong last season. He is supremely talented. He could outperform those other quarterbacks. But I would challenge the idea that Wilson and Kaepernick relied disproportionately on their running ability.

"Wilson, RG III and Kaepernick each have some throwing ability, but they aren’t pure pocket passers, and their big 2012 seasons came largely because of their mobility," Yasinskas writes.

Dispelling myths about Kaepernick and Wilson has become sport around here. These young quarterbacks run because they can, not because they're deficient as passers. Wilson in particular throws effectively from outside the pocket, but like Kaepernick, he's been among the NFL's best from inside it, too.

Wilson does rely heavily on his scrambling ability to find receivers downfield. But as the charts below demonstrate, he and Kaepernick stack up very well as pocket passers, too. They were better than Newton in this area last season.

Both charts include stats only for games each player started. Kaepernick played in a reserve role also.

The second chart shows production from inside the pocket for the same quarterbacks, limited to the final six games of the regular season. I chose that time frame because, as Yasinskas indicates, Newton became more effective following the Panthers' 2-8 start, partly because the team "let Newton be a pocket passer," according to Yasinskas.

Newton did become more effective as a pocket passer during this time. However, Wilson and Kaepernick also gained momentum as pocket passers during this time.

We'll revisit this one during the season.
The NFL released dates and times for 2013 exhibition games, pushing back the final entry in our series examining NFC West offseasons. A few thoughts:
  • Rams: The opener at Cleveland carries one big what-if scenario. What if the Browns had succeeded in their efforts to outbid Washington for the second pick in the 2012 draft? The Rams wound up trading that pick to the Redskins for a package that continues replenishing their roster. The Browns, meanwhile, missed out on Robert Griffin III. Later, on Aug. 29, former Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo returns to the Edward Jones Dome as a member of the Baltimore Ravens' staff.
  • 49ers: They face Peyton Manning and Alex Smith in the first two weeks of the preseason. They also have only four days between their third and fourth exhibition games. That could affect playing-time allotments.
  • Seahawks: Manning, who ignored the Seahawks' advances in free agency last offseason, can expect a few postgame questions regarding his thinking. The situation worked out pretty well for all involved, as things turned out.
  • Cardinals: Former coach Ken Whisenhunt, fired after six seasons with the team, visits University of Phoenix Stadium on Aug. 24 as the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator.
The Miami Dolphins just traded the 12th and 42nd overall choices to the Oakland Raiders for the third overall choice.

One year ago, the Washington Redskins traded the sixth and 39th picks, plus first-rounders in 2013 and 2014, to acquire the second overall choice from the St. Louis Rams.

The difference: Robert Griffin III's expected availability with the No. 2 overall pick in 2012. There was no perceived top quarterback available this year, so the Raiders could not leverage the third overall pick to nearly the degree St. Louis leveraged the second overall choice a year ago.

The Dolphins selected Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan.

Of course, the Raiders likely would have held onto the third overall choice this year if they could have gotten a quarterback such as Griffin in that slot.
Robert Griffin III and Chris Clemons suffered serious knee injuries during their teams' playoff game on a shoddy surface at FedEx Field last season.

It's tough to know whether bad sod influenced either injury or to what degree.

The Washington Redskins apparently don't want to take chances. The team plans to upgrade the surface at FedEx Field in June and replace it after a Nov. 3 game against San Diego -- three weeks before the San Francisco 49ers visit for a Monday night game Nov. 25.

The Redskins led the NFL in rushing yards at home last season. They ranked second in rushing yards on the road. It's tough to say a poor surface prevented their offense from gaining traction. But with Griffin's knee buckling awkwardly on uncertain footing last season, the Redskins needed to improve the surface.

The 49ers and Arizona Cardinals have each played a league-low five road games on natural grass over the past two seasons. The 49ers have gone 4-1 in those games, outscoring opponents by a combined 36 points.
NFL players will never have to press a 45-pound bar loaded with four 45-pound plates off their chests during a game. They will never have to execute during games any number of the training exercises that help prepare their bodies for NFL life.

That doesn't render these exercises irrelevant. They're an important part of preparation.

My thinking regarding mock drafts is similar. Focusing on how many selections they correctly forecast risks missing the broader point. Mock drafts have value as exercises. They help us think through some of the nearly endless potential scenarios.

If some of the "projections" line up with how the draft actually unfolds, all the better. But who are we fooling here? Not even the NFL teams themselves could predict with accuracy how a draft will actually unfold. As noted previously, there would be 263,130,836,933,693,530,167,218,012,160,000,000 ways to order the first round if we knew which 32 players would become first-round picks. But we cannot even know that.

A year ago, ESPN's divisional NFL bloggers got together for a mock draft in which each of us made the selections for the teams we cover. It was lots of fun. We wound up projecting eight of the first 13 picks to the correct teams, five of them in the correct slots. But so what? The fun was in the process.

I'll be shocked if we come anywhere close to matching eight first-round picks to the right teams from our 2013 blogger mock draft, set to begin at noon ET.

The 2013 draft seems tougher to predict without prized quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III available as slam-dunk choices for the teams holding the first couple selections. That's OK. We're going to have fun thinking through the possibilities. Rules allow for trades, which will enhance the experience at the expense of accuracy. Matt Williamson, who scouts the NFL for ESPN.com, will critique the process in real time.

Those of us participating in the draft will face dilemmas when certain players become available later than we anticipated. Should we select them based on value, or should we stick with the selections we think are most likely to happen on draft day?

We'll post to the blog at noon ET a console allowing you to come along for the ride. I'll be making the seventh, 16th, 22nd and 31st picks for NFC West teams. Those slots could change based on trades. Last year, I traded the 12th pick from Seattle to New England for the 27th and 31st picks. I wound up having the Seahawks select Chandler Jones at No. 27. The Patriots wound up selecting him 21st instead.

NFC West links: Cardinals wasting time?

April, 8, 2013
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Arizona Cardinals

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic takes a look at the first 90 days of new Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. Bickley writes that in Keim's short time at the helm, "he has helped restore optimism inside a fallen program."

Kent Somers wonders on his blog at azcentral.com why the Cardinals are wasting their time by working out USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

St. Louis Rams

A year after the Rams traded the pick that netted Washington Robert Griffin III, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down who came out with the better deal.

"The parade of wide receivers continues at Rams Park, with some beef and defense thrown in for good measure," reports Thomas in his latest look at the Rams' pre-draft visits.

San Francisco 49ers

The team's official website continues its pre-draft series with a look at Clemson running back Andre Ellington.

In a recent interview, wide receiver Anquan Boldin reiterated that he was "shocked initially" when receiving word he had been traded to the 49ers.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have workouts scheduled for four veteran quarterbacks this week as Seattle seeks a backup for Russell Wilson.

Seattle may also be adding to its secondary depth later this week as former Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield is scheduled for a visit.
Twenty-eight picks in the 2013 NFL draft have changed hands to this point. Sixteen of the 28 have NFC West fingerprints on them.

The chart below, put together with an assist from Jason Vida of ESPN Stats & Information, singles out those 16 selections. Shading identifies picks currently held by NFC West teams.

The San Francisco 49ers' recent trade for Colt McCoy invovled sending the 164th and 227th choices to the Cleveland Browns for McCoy and the 173rd choice. The Arizona Cardinals' trade for Carson Palmer included Arizona sending the 176th choice to the Oakland Raiders for Palmer and the 219th choice.

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