NFC West: Ty Powell

Taking stock of 2013 NFC West picks

September, 3, 2013
Eighty-six of the first 88 players drafted in 2013 remain on 53-man rosters entering Week 1. The two exceptions play for NFC West teams.

The Arizona Cardinals' Jonathan Cooper, chosen seventh overall, suffered a season-ending leg injury during preseason. He is on injured reserve. The San Francisco 49ers' Tank Carradine, chosen 40th overall, remains on the reserve/non-football injury list while recovering from a knee injury.

Twenty-five of 39 NFC West choices this year remain on their original teams' 53-man rosters. That includes all seven picks for the St. Louis Rams and seven of nine for the Cardinals. The 49ers and Seattle Seahawks had a higher number of picks arranged lower within each round, and fewer open roster spots to accommodate them.

Injuries have left six picks from the division on various injured lists. Three of the Seahawks' top five picks will not help the team anytime soon. That includes Harper, defensive tackle Jesse Williams (injured reserve) and cornerback Tharold Simon (reserve/physically unable to perform). Percy Harvin, who cost Seattle its 2013 first-round choice, is also injured.

Five 2013 draft choices from the division landed on their original teams' practice squads. One of them, fourth-round choice Chris Harper, subsequently left his original team (Seattle Seahawks) to sign with the 49ers' 53-man roster.

Three picks from the St. Louis Rams and one from the 49ers are scheduled to start in Week 1. Cooper would have started for the Cardinals if healthy.

Harper wasn't the only NFC West draft choice to land on another team. The 49ers' Marcus Cooper, a seventh-round choice, wound up with Kansas City after the Chiefs claimed him off waivers.

NFC West rookie review: Snap leaders

August, 18, 2013
A few notes on playing time for 2013 NFC West draft choices after each team played its second game of the exhibition season:

Seattle Seahawks: Seventh-round choice Michael Bowie played extensively yet again and remains on course to earn a roster spot as one of the backup tackles. He and undrafted free agent Alvin Bailey are combining to give Seattle much greater depth on the line than the team enjoyed in previous seasons. ... Fifth-round tight end Luke Willson blocked effectively against Denver. ... Tharold Simon remains sidelined by injury, making it impossible for him to compete for relevance at cornerback, the position where Seattle might have its greatest depth.

San Francisco 49ers: I was struck by how many special teams snaps third-round outside linebacker Corey Lemonier and sixth-round inside linebacker Nick Moody played. Both figure to contribute in that regard. ... Quarterback B.J. Daniels inserted himself into the conversation with Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien in the race to become the No. 2 quarterback. Having both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick was a luxury last season. Now, the 49ers are like most teams: in big trouble if an injury knocks out their starting quarterback. ... Too bad second-rounder Vance McDonald was hurt. He flashed ability in the preseason opener.

Arizona Cardinals: Second-round inside linebacker Kevin Minter has been overshadowed at times, through no fault of his own. I noticed him right away during camp practices for the hits he was delivering on special teams. The Cardinals are happy with him. ... The starting offense went 10 plays longer than it had in the preseason opener, giving first-round pick Jonathan Cooper welcome reps. Arizona needs Cooper and its offensive line up to speed for quarterback Carson Palmer to connect on the deeper passes coach Bruce Arians favors. ... Running back Andre Ellington had a 24-yard run and a 28-yard kickoff return, a pretty good debut.

St. Louis Rams: I wondered on draft day whether Zac Stacy would factor as the potential starting running back. That obviously isn't going to happen right away. Stacy missed this game to injury and hasn't seriously challenged Daryl Richardson for the starting job. ... The Rams need to develop young offensive line depth, so it was good for Barrett Jones to get 37 snaps. ... Nick Wagoner has the full Rams rookie review for those seeking a deeper look.

Seahawks rookie review: Snap leaders

August, 10, 2013

A quick look at the Seattle Seahawks' 2013 draft class following the team's exhibition opener against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium:

RB Christine Michael, second round, No. 62 overall. Michael carried 16 times for 89 yards and had a 24-yard run late in the game. His quickness was evident. This performance suggested the rookie could help the Seahawks this season. Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin could make carries scarce for Michael and other backs, however.

DT Jordan Hill, third round, No. 87 overall. Hill seemed close to making plays without finishing consistently. He did apply pressure to the quarterback. Hill finished the game with one tackle. He played more snaps on defense (44) than any of the team's other draft choices. Officials flagged Hill for illegal use of hands.

WR Chris Harper, fourth round, No. 123 overall. Harper gained 8 yards on his lone reception. He was open another time, but the Chargers pressured quarterback Tarvaris Jackson into throwing to fullback Derrick Coleman instead.

DT Jesse Williams, fifth round, No. 137 overall. Williams faced double-team blocking more frequently than I would have anticipated. He played 28 percent of the defensive snaps and did not factor on the stat sheet.

CB Tharold Simon, fifth round, No. 138 overall. A foot injury caused Simon to miss the game. He has not practiced with the team during camp to this point. Seattle's quality depth at corner means Simon faces a tough fight upon his return.

TE Luke Willson, fifth round, No. 158 overall. Willson caught two passes for 16 yards, including a 15-yarder to convert on third down. His inability to catch a pass on another third-down play killed a drive. Willson played 16 snaps on offense and 10 on special teams. Only Jameson Konz (11) and Jeremy Lane (11) played more snaps on special teams.

FB Spencer Ware, sixth round, No. 194 overall. Ware matched Michael in offensive snaps with 27. He carried seven times for 32 yards (4.6 per carry) and a touchdown. He had a 20-yard run to go with his 6-yard scoring run.

G Ryan Seymour, seventh round, No. 220 overall. Seymour played 22 snaps (39 percent). That ranked third among the three offensive linemen Seattle drafted in 2013.

LB Ty Powell, seventh round, No. 231 overall. Powell ranked second on the team with six tackles while playing 31 snaps, or 46 percent. He made a tackle for a 2-yard loss in the second quarter, taking down Chargers running back Fozzy Whittaker, a player San Diego claimed off waivers from Arizona.

G Jared Smith, seventh round, No. 241 overall. Smith played 30 snaps. I wasn't watching him closely enough to take note of his contributions.

T Michael Bowie, seventh round, No. 242 overall. Bowie and undrafted free agent Alvin Bailey give the Seahawks a couple of promising young tackles to develop. Both seemed to play well in this game. Bowie played 44 snaps on offense, matching Hill for the most scrimmage snaps for a 2013 Seattle draft choice.
The NFL's rookie wage scale has diminished the negotiating part of contract negotiations.

As a result, the Seattle Seahawks announced Friday they had signed seven draft choices. The San Francisco 49ers announced they had signed five of theirs. The Arizona Cardinals announced they had signed four of theirs.

Players can participate in rookie minicamps with or without signed contracts. The process is largely a formality at this point. There's less tension between players, agents and teams as training camps approach. Rules prevent players from renegotiating their rookie contracts until they've played three seasons, warding off the issues that can arise when a player outperforms his contract.
The St. Louis Rams have yet to announce signings of draft choices. That is not a big deal.
Our post-draft amendments to pre-draft positional rankings continue with Matt Williamson, NFL scout for

Up next: linebackers.

NFC West teams drafted six of them if we count the San Francisco 49ers' Corey Lemonier and the Arizona Cardinals' Alex Okafor as 3-4 outside linebackers, which we will do for the purposes of this exercise. We probably should have counted Seattle Seahawks seventh-rounder Ty Powell with the defensive linemen given that he projects to the "Leo" position, but there is some crossover with the linebackers as well.

The six draftees: Alec Ogletree (30th overall pick) to the St. Louis Rams; Kevin Minter (45th) and Okafor (103rd) to the Cardinals; Lemonier (88th) and Nick Moody (180th) to the 49ers; and Powell (231st) to the Seahawks.

Matt and I pick up the conversation from there.

Sando: I see you're keeping the rankings at linebacker in the same order even though the Rams added a potentially dynamic player at the position in Ogletree.

Williamson: The 49ers have to stay No. 1, of course. They have the best linebackers in the league and they added Lemonier. He is a fast, long, skinny edge guy who doesn’t hold up real well against big guys. He gets off the ball well, not real fluid, doesn't change direction great, but beats you with speed and eats up space with long strides. A good looking prospect.

Sando: The race for No. 2 has to be closer after this draft.

Those three are pretty close now. You look at the Rams vs. Seattle. I look at two of the Rams' three starters as being strong, even Pro Bowl types now. James Laurinaitis and Ogletree vs. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. I would give the edge to Seattle because I think Wagner is the best of the bunch and we do not yet know whether Ogletree will be a Pro Bowl-type player.

Sando: The Cardinals are fourth?

Williamson: It’s not easy. Minter compliments Daryl Washington extremely well. He is a real heady, tough guy and a leader. He stuffs the run better than average and looks like a two-down player who could possibly play more than that. I could see him on the field as an every-down guy while Washington is suspended. Ideally, though, he comes off. Washington is a total stud if he can stay out of trouble. Those two could form one of the better inside linebacker pairings in the league, but I still put them four.

Sando: It gets back to what you think of their outside linebackers.

Williamson: We have to operate under the assumption Arizona is a 3-4 team and they are still light as 3-4 outside linebackers. Nobody there scares me. They have a bunch of No. 2s. I liked Okafor as a late-second or third-round prospect, but not as a real difference maker. If you are going to be a 3-4 team, your outside linebackers are still a negative.

Sando: There is some uncertainty as to how the Cardinals are going to tweak this defense. It really could be more of a 4-3.

Williamson: If they trend to a 4-3, two of their three starters are very strong, like with the Seahawks and Ramss. If we pretend Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona all line up in a base 4-3, each would have two really good starters. I would rank those players in order as Washington, Wagner, Laurinaitis and Wright, then Ogletree and Minter. All six could go to the Pro Bowl, although it is a stretch to say that with Minter right now.

Sando: Earning league-wide honors as a linebacker from the NFC is tough duty. The 49ers had four linebackers earn spots on the Associated Press All-Pro teams last season. Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman were first-team selections. Ahmad Brooks was a second-team choice. The Cardinals' Washington was a second-team choice. I noticed you left off the Rams' Jo-Lonn Dunbar when listing the six non-49ers linebackers you liked.

Williamson: I like Dunbar -- not a ton, but he is serviceable. That position is not a hole for them.

Sando: We alluded to some uncertainty with how the Cardinals will play defense. I think Seattle is in transition at linebacker to some degree as well. The Seahawks appear likely to give Cliff Avril and possibly Bruce Irvin work at strong-side linebacker, in which case Wright would shift to the weak side. We'll have a better idea what Seattle and Arizona have in mind once training camps get going.