Sunday, April 25, 2010
Which positions NFC West did not address
By Mike Sando
We spent the last few days focusing on which players NFC West teams drafted.
Sometimes it's helpful to consider which players teams did not draft (no team in the division drafted a punter, kicker or snapper, but that was expected).
A closer look at the positions NFC West teams left unaddressed, with an assist from Facebook friend Dave:
The Cardinals did not draft an offensive lineman, an indication the team feels good about its returning group and free-agent addition Rex Hadnot. They also did not draft a running back, figuring Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower and the other backs wouldn't need much help.
Arizona probably wouldn't have drafted a quarterback if Brian St. Pierre had re-signed. Pre-draft reports that St. Pierre was expected to re-sign went away at about the time Arizona reportedly worked out Fordham quarterback John Skelton. The team then drafted Skelton, an indication St. Pierre probably doesn't fit into the Cardinals' plans.
General manager John Schneider likes to draft quarterbacks as a general rule, but the team's decision to acquire Charlie Whitehurst before the draft revealed what Seattle thought about the quarterbacks in this draft (or at least those available after Sam Bradford).
I wondered whether Mike Teel would fit as the third quarterback given that scouting reports questioned his mobility, but the Seahawks did not draft a quarterback or even sign one among their initial list of 15 free agents. The team could bring additional players to minicamps on a tryout basis, but for now at least, Teel appears safe.
Seattle did not draft a running back, opting instead to acquire veterans LenDale White and Leon Washington (a reflection, again, of what the Seahawks thought about the players at that position in the draft). The Seahawks' decision not to draft a linebacker came as little surprise. The team appears stronger at that position than others.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were rumored to have interest in Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, but they passed over him twice and never did draft a quarterback (Carolina selected Clausen at No. 48, one pick before the 49ers drafted safety Taylor Mays).
This was yet another reminder that San Francisco appears content with its quarterback situation for the upcoming season. The 49ers also showed no interest in acquiring Donovan McNabb by pre-draft trade. Alex Smith and David Carr will be the top two quarterbacks this season.
The 49ers did not draft a defensive lineman, either. That position could be one to address in the 2011 draft. At least three factors could influence the decision: whether Aubrayo Franklin plays well and re-signs, whether Justin Smith starts showing his age and whether Kentwan Balmer takes steps forward in his development.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams did not select a running back, explaining why they brought in former Eagles starter Brian Westbrook for a visit after the draft.
Like Seattle, the Rams appeared less than overwhelmed by the crop of runners available throughout this draft. Like Seattle, the Rams also had enough needs elsewhere to keep them busy.
St. Louis drafted at least one player at every other position (specialists excluded).