Around the NFC West: Laurinaitis pick pivotal?
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Tim Klutsarits of examiner.com says the Rams' 2009 draft could hinge on whether the team made the right move with linebacker James Laurinaitis in the second round. Klutsarits: "If I were Billy Devaney, I would have gone with [Rey] Maualuga or even done something more daring and selected Eben Britton the offensive tackle from Arizona or Ron Brace the defensive tackle from Boston College. I believe all three of those players might have made a bigger impact than Laurinaitis will make. Time will tell. I hope I am wrong but keep those three names in mind to see how things will shake out."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch detects a defensive flavor to the Rams' first draft under coach Steve Spagnuolo. General manager Billy Devaney joked that Spagnuolo took over the draft. Said a grinning Devaney: "It was kind of a stealth [move]. [Spagnuolo] never said it, but then all of a sudden the draft's going on, and I said, 'This thing's starting to get away from us. We've got to get some offensive guys.'" That type of joking between coach and general manager suggests they have a good working relationship.
Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked staffers which NFC West team fared best in the draft. The 49ers' and Seahawks' ability to land 2010 first-round choices set them apart, although not decisively. Bill Coats: "I think it was Arizona, and mainly because it landed RB Beanie Wells with the 31st pick. For a team desperately in need of a quality ballcarrier, that was a real coup."
Lisa Goodwin of 49ers.com says the team honored Tony Wragge after the guard finished his college degree this offseason. Goodwin: "During this offseason, Wragge also participated in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurship Program at the Harvard Business School where he took classes on various topics including finance, real estate investments, tax law and overall personal finance analysis, among others. In July, Wragge is taking part in the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp program that helps prepares players for the spot in front of the camera after their career."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers are counting on Manny Lawson to improve as a pass rusher. Coach Mike Singletary: "It would be very easy just to go get a pass rusher or defensive end to appease someone, but I think it's very important for us to have someone who's going to actually upgrade what we already have. I feel very comfortable with Manny doing the things that he needs to do to get better. I think Manny is totally healed. I think he's been moving great. I think his confidence is going to be there."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says NCAA rules will prevent the Cardinals' first-round choice, Chris Wells, from participating in minicamps until June. Also, five players rehabbing from surgeries will miss the post-draft camp: Kurt Warner, Gabe Watson, Tim Castille, Matt Ware and Stephen Spach. The Cardinals' draft moves put Ware and the other backup safeties on alert.
Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind takes a closer look at the Cardinals' undrafted free-agent signings. On Memphis tackle Brandon Pearce: "Pearce is interesting only because he's an offensive tackle that played in a pass happy system and rarely gave up sacks. He's got good height but needs to add considerable bulk to his frame (6'6, 290), although some reports mentioned that he added 20 pounds of bulk before Memphis' pro day. Either way he'll have to get stronger as he's had very little experience as an in-line blocker."
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Aaron Curry made a smashing first impression during his first news conference as a Seahawk.
John Morgan of Field Gulls reads between the lines in matching the Seahawks' pre-draft comments to their draft-day actions.
William P. Tomisser of Seahawk Addicts offers first impressions on Curry, Max Unger and the Seahawks' draft class. Tomisser: "Except for [general manager Tim] Ruskell's first year here when he only had a month to prepare for his first draft and to set up his draft board, every player from every draft made the team or practice squad in his rookie year (or was put on IR like longsnapper T. Schmitt). I think that once again, there's a very good chance of every pick being on the team come opening day."
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