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Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Around the NFC West: Rams wise to take tackle?


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch emphatically shoots down rumors that the Rams tried to trade Marc Bulger. Moving him was never a remotely realistic option based on salary-cap implications and Bulger's recent struggles. Thomas also wonders whether the Rams would have drafted Jason Smith second overall if they could have known Eben Britton would be available in the second round. He also thinks St. Louis should hold a parade if the Rams win six games in 2009.

VanRam of Turf Show Times examines whether the Rams should have used the second overall choice for an offensive tackle. I think the Rams' hands were nearly tied on this one. They had to emerge from this draft with a starting tackle and they couldn't guarantee that would happen without taking one at the top of the draft. The investments in Bulger and Steven Jackson are too great for the Rams to take chances with their line. If only the team could have found an impact receiver at some point along the way. In retrospect, imagine if the Rams had drafted Michael Crabtree second overall and Britton in the second round. Just a thought.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looks at where each of the 49ers' draft choices might fit for the 2009 season. Crabtree becomes the "X" receiver, or split end. The 49ers hope fifth-rounder Scott McKillop eventually succeeds Takeo Spikes in the "Ted" linebacker role. Bear Pascoe projects as Billy Bajema's replacement. Barrows thinks seventh-round defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois could be a steal.

Niners scout Ethan Waugh runs through the 49ers' draft choices, with a couple of interesting notes on quarterback Nate Davis. Waugh: "Davis has two techniques that make him unique. First, he typically throws the ball without using the laces. He's actually not the first quarterback I've seen do that. With the proliferation of the spread offense in college and high school football, some quarterbacks are taught to catch the shotgun snap and throw the ball quickly without adjusting it in their hands. Additionally, like Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger, he prefers to wear gloves -- he might not need them in sunny California, but as long as he throws completions, it shouldn't be an issue."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat offers a few post-draft thoughts on the 49ers. He wonders how Crabtree's addition will affect the situation at receiver after the team paid $5.4 million in guaranteed money to Brandon Jones. It's a good problem to have. The 49ers never counted on Crabtree being available. They couldn't worry about Jones or Josh Morgan or anyone else when selecting arguably the most talented player in the draft.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals coaches considered Travis LaBoy expendable after selecting Cody Brown and Will Davis in the draft. Somers: "The Cardinals were about $1.2 million under the salary before make the moves. They will need the additional space if they are to accomplish their goals of re-signing strong safety Adrian Wilson, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and receiver Anquan Boldin." Releasing Edgerrin James and Rod Hood created salary-cap room for 2009. Releasing LaBoy produced a short-term cap loss.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals' older pass-rushers had better stay healthy in 2009.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com thought Matt Ware or Aaron Francisco might be in more imminent danger of release than Hood, but Hood's salary made him vulnerable.

Also from Urban: The Cardinals have no plans to release Chike Okeafor despite a relatively high salary for 2009.

Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts lists the Bucs, Falcons, Redskins, Jaguars and Eagles as potential suitors for formerly franchised Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill. So far, so quiet. Most teams are busy gearing up for their post-draft camps. Some teams are also releasing veterans, not adding them, after addressing needs in the draft.

Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts grades the Seahawks' draft choices from 2008. Tyler Schmitt and Brandon Coutu get 'F' grades through no fault of their own.