NFC West: Terrence Cody

Around the NFC West: 49ers' needs

April, 20, 2010
4/20/10
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Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee runs through the 49ers' needs heading into the draft. Barrows: "The 49ers must open up their attack and use the perimeter more often in 2010. That means improving the overall speed on offense. The team took a step in that direction by acquiring Ted Ginn Jr. from Miami. Ginn was one of the fastest players in the 2007 draft. If they pass on speedy running backs such as Clemson's C.J. Spiller and Cal's Jahvid Best in the first two rounds, someone such as Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster or USC's Joe McKnight could bring pizazz to the running game in later rounds."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sends Joe Haden and Anthony Davis to the 49ers in his latest mock draft. He has Maurkice Pouncey going to Arizona at No. 26, although the Cardinals are on the record saying they don't want to select offensive linemen early. Russell Okung and Earl Thomas are the choices for Seattle. Sam Bradford is the choice for St. Louis. Maiocco: "What about C.J. Spiller? I don't think the 49ers would take him at 13 or 17. And if my mock miraculously falls the way I diagram, we won't find out."

Also from Maiocco: A scout familiar with the 49ers said he thought the team would be wise to select quarterback Jimmy Clausen because the 49ers are presently working on a year-to-year basis at quarterback.

Tom Abate of the San Francisco Chronicle details the kicking battle between the 49ers' Joe Nedney and a robot. Abate: "The lighthearted contest, a stunt to highlight the three-day RoboGames competition that opens Friday at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds, ended when Nedney easily kicked a football 45 yards while his mechanical adversary twice failed to clear the goalposts at that distance."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have not drafted an offensive tackle since selecting Ray Willis back in 2005. Chris McIntosh was the last tackle Seattle drafted in the first round. Those streaks should end this year.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says draft analyst Rob Rang expects the Seahawks to select an offensive tackle -- probably Russell Okung -- with the sixth overall choice. A personnel person familiar with Seattle line coach Alex Gibbs told me he thought Gibbs might prefer Bryan Bulaga over Okung, but it's tough to know for certain how much input Gibbs will have if Seattle does take a tackle in that spot.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune thinks Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan could make sense for Seattle with the 14th overall choice. Williams: "Seattle's tentative starting defensive front line, defensive ends Lawrence Jackson and Chris Clemons, who came to Seattle in the (Darryl) Tapp trade, and defensive tackles Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane, combined for nine sacks last season."

Also from Williams: defensive linemen and linebackers the Seahawks could consider on a round-by-round basis, according to Rang.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic considers options at nose tackle for Arizona heading into the draft. Somers: "Weight is a problem for Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody, who is listed at 360 pounds. Tennessee's Dan Williams likely will be gone by the time the Cardinals pick. The club could decide to gamble and hope that someone such as North Carolina's Cam Thomas or East Carolina's Linval Joseph is available in the second round."

Also from Somers: a chat transcript featuring thoughts on Deuce Lutui, among other Cardinals subjects.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says he thinks the Cardinals could be more likely to move back in the draft than move up, even though general manager Rod Graves sounded more excited about using the team's extra third-round choice as ammunition.

Also from Urban: The proliferation of 3-4 defenses in the NFL makes it tougher for Arizona to find a nose tackle. Urban: "A player like Alabama’s Terrence Cody is considered by many best-suited for the second or even the third round because of ongoing weight issues. Others, like East Carolina’s Linval Joseph or North Carolina’s Cam Thomas, can be had after the first round as well."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says sources close to Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke say the billionaire remains focused on acquiring full ownership of the team, independent of whatever dealings Kroenke might have had with bidder Shahid Khan. Thomas: "Meanwhile, a backlash continues to grow over the absence of comments or statements by Kroenke about a commitment to keeping the Rams in St. Louis. The controversy began when Kroenke did not mention St. Louis in his April 12 announcement that he was exercising his right of first refusal. Radio personality McGraw Milhaven, who hosts a morning drive show on KTRS (550 AM), is asking fans to boycott Rams games if Kroenke doesn't make some kind of statement about keeping the team in St. Louis by the start of Thursday's draft."

Also from Thomas: Defensive tackle Gary Gibson has re-signed with the Rams.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says fans should not trust Kroenke. Burwell: "As far as I can tell, what we have learned about Kroenke is that every move he makes is straight out of a Machiavellian playbook. From his cunning 11th hour maneuver to gain complete financial control of the franchise, to this latest reported strategy to seek an eight-figure 'compensation' from would-be buyer Shahid Khan to step out of the buying process, his actions reek of cold-blooded duplicity."

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' ownership uncertainty is hurting the team with fans. Miklasz: "So the Rams’ ownership saga gets crazier and more confusing by the day, which only creates distraction and frustration at a time when Rams fans would like to be in a happier mood, looking forward to this week’s NFL Draft. By the time this nasty ownership mess is sorted out, there may be about 248 Rams fans left in St. Louis."

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says Kroenke's reported dealings raise questions about what kind of owner he might become. Balzer: "No one can convince me that the fingerprints of Rams senior adviser John Shaw aren’t all over Kroenke’s tactics. Remember, it was Shaw who orchestrated the move of the Rams to St. Louis in 1995 and then, at the 11th hour, with the papers ready to be signed, suddenly demanded the controversial 25-percent clause be included in the lease that could end up allowing the Rams to move after the 2014 season. What choice did we have but to acquiesce?"

Also from Balzer: The Rams and player agents don't think it's necessary to begin early negotiations with the future No. 1 choice in the draft.

Hints on Cardinals' draft thinking

April, 16, 2010
4/16/10
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The moves teams make in March and into April can help us determine how teams might want to proceed in the draft.

The 49ers added Ted Ginn Jr., making it less imperative for them to find a return specialist in the draft. The Lions acquired guard Rob Sims from Seattle, an indication the team might not be focusing on offensive tackle early (left tackle Jeff Backus might have slid to guard in that case). The Rams signed veteran defensive tackle Fred Robbins without pursuing a starting quarterback, an indication Sam Bradford might be their first-round choice, not Ndamukong Suh.

How have the Cardinals framed their draft priorities? They've added veteran depth at guard, making it less important for them to consider Mike Iupati or another interior lineman early in the draft. They added veteran depth at inside linebacker by signing Paris Lenon, a 70-game starter over the last five seasons. They added a starting outside linebacker in Joey Porter. They added quarterback depth by signing Derek Anderson.

Nose tackle is one key position the Cardinals haven't addressed. They have not re-signed veteran starter Bryan Robinson. They cannot count on Gabe Watson's knees or performance. They cannot count on Alan Branch, who might be a better fit for end. The problem, of course, is that quality 3-4 nose tackles aren't easy to find in the draft. The Cardinals could have a shot at Terrence Cody with the 26th overall choice, but with so many teams playing the 3-4, there are no guarantees.

Inside linebacker could be another position to target even if the Cardinals think Lenon and Gerald Hayes can perform ably this season. Nose tackle stands out more, in my view, based on the importance of the position and the Cardinals' inactivity in addressing its depth so far this offseason.

Around the NFC West: 49ers eager

March, 26, 2010
3/26/10
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Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers have organized team activities scheduled for Monday, earlier than he can remember the 49ers assembling on the practice field. New assistant coaches Mike Solari and Kurt Schottenheimer want to take a firsthand look at the 49ers' existing talent before the draft. Barrows: "Teams are allowed to hold 14 OTA sessions as part of their offseason program. Most of them choose to have those sessions after the draft and most are conducted in May and June. Last year, two teams had April OTAs; none had any in March. OTA stands for organized team activity, and they are essentially abbreviated, non-contact practices."

Also from Barrows: The 49ers weren't all that happy with rookie Scott McKillop last season, one reason they're in the market for an inside linebacker. In fairness to McKillop, he was a fifth-round pick. The 49ers couldn't reasonably expect him to become a quality starter, particularly right away.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says USC's Charles Brown could be a good fit for the 49ers in the first round. Maiocco: "I don't believe the 49ers should wait until the second round to get a right tackle prospect. If they don't have their tackle by the 17th pick, they'd have to wait until the 49th overall spot. That means they'd take a tremendous gamble as 31 teams would make picks before the 49ers go back on the clock."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com takes questions heading into the draft. Farnsworth: "Of the top-rated tackles, only Rutger’s Anthony Davis played primarily in a zone-blocking scheme. Charles Brown did some zone blocking at USC for new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Bryan Bulaga played at Iowa, a school that has a history of producing pro-ready blockers. But that’s the challenge facing new O-line coach Alex Gibbs and his role in determine who the Seahawks might select in the first round: Which of these blockers best fit his scheme, and are any worth the sixth pick overall? Don’t forget, Gibbs has built his successful career constructing lines that do not feature first-round draft choices."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times passes along word that the Seahawks could have interest in 36-year-old cornerback Ty Law.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com says Law wouldn't fit the profile of young players Seahawks coach Carroll has talked about building around.

John Morgan of Field Gulls conducts a seven-round Seahawks mock draft, sending running back C.J. Spiller to Seattle with the sixth overall choice.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 sizes up Alabama's Terrence Cody as a potential Cardinals draft choice, concluding: "Cody could very well fall to the 26th pick, and if the Cardinals don't feel that linebacker is the primary need, they should select the enormous tackle out of Alabama. The more I read on Cody and the more I think about it, the more I wouldn't mind seeing him drafted in the first round. He could be best player available and if we've learned anything from the 'Williams Wall' in Minnesota, it's that a dominant defensive tackle opens up every other position on the defense."

Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post says college prospect Ricky Sapp could work out for the Cardinals in April.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would not make a move for Donovan McNabb if he were the Rams' general manager. Miklasz: "It doesn’t require a great deal of intelligence to figure out what the Philadelphia Eagles are up to here: the Iggles are trying to create, and enhance, a trade market for McNabb. And someone (presumably) inside the Philly camp used the Rams as a convenient advertising billboard by floating a baseless rumor." That's why all the McNabb rumors are coming from Philadelphia. It's fun to discuss whether a team should acquire him, but it's unclear if there's much of a market at all.

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