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Friday, March 27, 2009
Around the NFC West: If Stafford is there


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Todd McShay of ESPN.com, writing in an Insider piece, thinks the Seahawks would draft Matthew Stafford if the Lions passed on the quarterback. Most teams drafting below the Seahawks would probably prefer such a scenario unless they were targeting a quarterback. If the Seahawks drafted Stafford, they would be sending a strong signal to Matt Hasselbeck about his future with the team beyond 2009, and it's fair to wonder how that might affect Hasselbeck. 

Also on this subject: My look at the quarterbacks Ruskell's teams have drafted since 1992, with chart.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times thinks the Seahawks would be in position to trade down if Stafford remained on the board at No. 4. O'Neil: "If Stafford is there, I think the Seahawks would then be in position to trade down because you could find a team that's sold on Stafford being their quarterback of the future."

John Morgan of Field Gulls anticipated this scenario nearly six weeks ago. He outlined reasons the Lions, Rams and Chiefs might not draft Stafford.

Also from Morgan, circa mid-February: Why the Seahawks would probably draft Stafford if the quarterback were indeed available. Morgan then: "Seattle has a relevant need at the position. Stafford is a ringer for a [Tim] Ruskell pick and a great fit for Greg Knapp's system. It depends on what Seattle's scouts think about Stafford, but he's certainly a strong contender."

More recently from Morgan: A look at Kelly Jennings' 2008 season. He thinks Jennings needs to develop better ball skills. That was the story of the Seattle secondary last season. Opponents made plays even when Seattle's defensive backs were in position.

Michelle Nolan of the Bellingham Herald says former Seahawks receiver Bobby Engram plans to help at a football camp run by former Western Washington University receiver Pat McCann. McCann: "An old football friend of mine from [rival] Capital High, Skyler Fulton from Arizona State University, runs the Bobby Engram Foundation. That's how he [Engram] wound up agreeing to come to our camp, since it's a benefit for both his foundation for sickle cell anemia and for the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks Marc Bulger can get his career back on track. Thomas: "I think a system with a more balanced approach on offense and a stronger defense will take some of the pressure off Bulger and allow him to get his mojo back. But on the other hand, who will Bulger be throwing to in '09? That has to be a concern. For years, he relied on [Isaac] Bruce and [Torry] Holt, now they're both gone."

Also from Thomas: The Rams need help at middle linebacker, nose tackle and cornerback on defense. Some of Thomas' colleagues also weigh in on the Rams' defensive needs.

The St. Louis Rams team report in USA Today suggests the team will steer clear of draft prospects with off-field character concerns. This link will work only temporarily before giving way to an updated report. General manager Billy Devaney: "We're going to stick to our approach from last year. Maybe we went overboard, but I thought it was necessary because we busted out the past few years on some guys we took chances on who were of questionable character, and they proved to be really questionable character guys and they're not around anymore. My point coming in to the scouts was, 'I don't care what they did, how minor, the least little infraction. If it had something to do with breaking the law, they're going into the 'Do Not Draft' category.'"

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Cardinals offensive lineman Elliot Vallejo helped rescue an injured hiker recently. Vallejo's brother, a paramedic, counseled Vallejo over the phone while medical personnel were on their way. Vallejo: "He was pretty bloodied up. No one had gone over to help him, and he looked like he was about to fall down [further]. I ran over, helped him stay where he was. I had people down below call 911 and they said they wouldn't be there for 45 minutes and I was like, 'Oh crap.'"

KVOA TV's video report covers the rescue, albeit without mentioning Vallejo.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers will save a little more than $3 million in 2009 salary-cap room by releasing Jonas Jennings. He also quoted the newly signed Marvel Smith as saying, "I'm really excited about going back home and playing for the 49ers in front of my friends and family. It can't get much better than that." Smith is from Oakland. He played at Arizona State.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Smith will likely replace Adam Snyder at right tackle in the 49ers' next minicamp.

Also from Barrows: The 49ers plan to reveal new uniforms during their April 25 draft party. Expect the new uniforms to resemble the "throwback" jerseys associated with the team's glory years.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News quotes Smith's agent as saying the tackle brings leadership and a strong locker room presence to the 49ers.