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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News reminds the 49ers that they could have drafted Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith in 2005. That's true, but in looking at the second through 10th overall picks from 2005, the 49ers also could have fared worse. Picks two through 10: Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Adam Jones, Troy Williamson, Antrel Rolle, Carlos Rogers and Mike Williams. Nice draft.
Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers warns readers before reluctantly pursuing the same storyline. He also describes the 49ers' thinking going into that 2005 draft. Coach Mike Nolan thought Rodgers was more NFL ready, but he figured Smith would be better over the long term.
Also from Maiocco: a look at the 49ers' receivers, notably rookie Josh Morgan.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee scored a phone interview with Rodgers after the former Cal and current Green Bay quarterback landed in the Bay Area for the Packers' exhibition game against the 49ers Saturday night. Rodgers wasn't happy about slipping into the latter stages of the 2005 draft's first round, but he's diplomatic about the situation three years later.
Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune explores how the Cardinals wound up with two Phoenix-area products on their offensive line (Deuce Lutui and Lyle Sendlein). Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt takes a shot at Lutui for making "bonehead mistakes" -- including penalties.
Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune becomes the first NFL beat reporter to use the word "delineating" while previewing an exhibition game. He'll be watching to see how Seattle quarterback Charlie Frye and the young receivers fare.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic describes Whisenhunt's approach to the quarterbacks as a balancing act. Matt Leinart is the regular-season starter, but Kurt Warner gets the start Saturday night. As Whisenhunt once said: "It's going to be a tough job for Matt to keep."
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer talks about the "greased pole" that can turn promising rookies into afterthoughts at about this time each summer. Rookie linebacker David Hawthorne has been highly impressive to this point, but now he must sustain the fast start. Veteran linebacker D.D. Lewis has been counseling Hawthorne. Lewis earned a roster spot unexpectedly years ago. As a service to readers, the P-I also manages to work in a photo of Seahawks cheerleader Melanie Brown. More from the photo shoot for the 2009 Seahawks calendar here.
Also from Farnsworth: Emotions run high for some as they move belongings from the Seahawks' old facility to their new one. Clare has spent an estimated 23.9 hours per day in the old facility's media room since the facility opened in 1986.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines five things to watch in the Rams' exhibition game against the Chargers: quarterbacks, rookies, Orlando Pace, the secondary and young linebackers. The Rams could look to sign a veteran linebacker if the young prospects don't show better beginning tonight.
Also from Thomas: An outline of areas in which the Rams must improve during their second exhibition game. The Chargers seem to be playing along by resting key players, including quarterback Philip Rivers. Tight end Antonio Gates remains on the physically unable to perform list, and LaDainian Tomlinson no longer plays during the fake games. The Chargers' approach to the exhibition season has changed now that Wade Phillips isn't running their defense. Phillips is known for game-planning during the preseason.
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details Richie Incognito's journey into the starting lineup at right guard. Toward the bottom of the story, coach Scott Linehan says he's more optimistic about Steven Jackson's holdout now that the sides have had some recent conversations.