Tuesday, May 7, 2013
2013 draft picks putting veterans on alert
By Mike Sando
Sometimes it takes a few years to fully assess an NFL draft class' impact. Imperiled veterans can't afford to wait that long.
Among the NFC West veterans on alert as 2013 rookies arrive for minicamps Friday:
- Arizona Cardinals: Adding guards Jonathan Cooper (first round) and Earl Watford (fourth) precipitated Adam Snyder's release from the team. Sixth-round receiver Ryan Swope could push Andre Roberts for playing time as the season progresses. Alex Okafor's arrival could put additional pressure on outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield to stay healthy. The Cardinals also drafted two running backs, but one of them, Stanford's Stepfan Taylor, cannot report until after minicamps for reasons relating to graduation schedules. Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams should be safe for now.
- St. Louis Rams: The Rams' draft choices tend to fill vacancies more than they threaten veterans. That is because St. Louis has already parted with the veterans who would have been affected by this rookie class' arrival. Tavon Austin would have threatened Danny Amendola. Alec Ogletree joins a group of outside linebackers that has been undermanned for years. T.J. McDonald fills a massive void at safety after the Rams released Quintin Mikell and watched Craig Dahl leave in free agency. Zac Stacy might have pressured Steven Jackson, but with Jackson off the roster, Stacy joins a committee of young, unproven running backs.
- San Francisco 49ers: Veteran Parys Haralson remains on the roster as a backup to Ahmad Brooks at outside linebacker, but Corey Lemonier's arrival as a third-round draft choice signals change on the depth chart. Meanwhile, Quinton Patton's arrival as a fourth-round pick affects the situation at receiver. I'm not sure which wideout is threatened the most, but Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams should be on alert.
- Seattle Seahawks: The decision to use a second-round pick for running back Christine Michael got most of the attention, but sixth-rounder Spencer Ware could be the running back putting a veteran on notice right away. Seattle will give Ware a look at fullback, putting pressure on incumbent Michael Robinson. Drafting defensive tackles Jordan Hill (third round) and Jesse Williams (fifth round) puts pressure on a group that includes Jaye Howard, Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel.