NFC Pre-Draft Notes

The NFL Draft is set to begin in just a few days. attempts to show readers what most NFC teams are most likely to do based on visits and other information.

Arizona Cardinals - Last year at this time first reported the team was going to select CB Antrel Rolle. A team source indicates that the team has LB Ernie Sims as the top choice followed by TE Vernon Davis and S/CB Michael Huff.

The thinking on Sims is that he would replace veteran WLB Orlando Huff, who is playing out of position.

Davis would fill a big need as four out of the five tight ends currently on the roster were signed as undrafted free agents and the other, Andy Stokes, was the last pick in the 2005 draft.

Huff could see time in back of veteran S Robert Griffith this season and challenge for the nickel job and then replace the aging Griffith in 2007.

The source added the only way they select a quarterback is if the front office overrules head coach Dennis Green, who makes the decisions on draft day.

Atlanta Falcons – A league source told this week that the team is looking at selecting a running back, offensive lineman or cornerback with their first selection in the draft (No. 47 overall).

The team is looking for the eventual replacement for veteran RB Warrick Dunn and they don't seem to believe it's fifth-year RB T.J. Duckett, who is more of a straight line runner.

Dallas Cowboys - According to a league source, the club has their eyes on OL Charles Spencer with their second-round pick (No. 49). Spencer is expected to be off the board in the early to mid portion of that round. Spencer is projected to play guard at the next level though he played left tackle last season. Spencer is seen as the eventual replacement for veteran G Marco Rivera.  

Detroit Lions – While many fans and draft experts believe the team will select CB-S Michael Huff with their first-round selection, a league source indicated a possible selection could be LB Ernie Sims who is a great fit for head coach Rod Marinelli's defensive scheme. However, Sims has been taken off of many teams draft boards due to repeated concussion issues suffered in his collegiate career.

Green Bay Packers – Various league sources believe the team will do one of two things in the first round — select TE Vernon Davis or LB A.J. Hawk or trade down for as many extra selections as possible. Hawk would be an immediate starter (likely on the weak side).

The team is looking for more offensive weapons and Davis is viewed as an immediate impact player who is more of a moving "chess piece," according to a league source.

Minnesota Vikings – As noted several weeks ago, the team is still very interested in selecting QB Jay Cutler with their first-round selection. Cutler is seen as a perfect fit for head coach Brad Childress's West Coast offense. Should the team lose out on Cutler, a quarterback thought to be under consideration later on is Kellen Clemens, who has been rising on most draft boards after performing well in private workouts.

Other players thought to be under consideration with their first-round selection are LB Ernie Sims, CB Antonio Cromartie, CB-S Jason Allen, and LB Chad Greenway. All of those players except Sims visited with the team.

Later in the draft, the club may have their eye on TE Owen Daniels, who is seen as a very good fit for the Viking offense. Daniels, who visited the team earlier this month, has been rising on draft boards after good post-season workouts. He's seen as a fourth-round selection by many teams.

New Orleans Saints – A league source told this week that the team has no interest in selecting a quarterback, and Matt Leinart's visit was just to make one the teams behind them believe they were looking at selecting a quarterback.

The source also indicated the team is leaning toward selecting OT D'Brickshaw Ferguson over DE Mario Williams barring a chance of heart. Selecting Ferguson would mean the team threw a smoke screen out at their first minicamp when they had second-year RT Jammal Brown move over to left tackle.

New York Giants – With veteran LB LaVar Arrington added to the mix, selecting a linebacker is no longer a priority for the team, making a cornerback the strongest possibility in round one. If the team decided to trade down later in the round or to the second round, then selecting a defensive tackle is a possibility.

The other possibility is selecting a running back who would be viewed as the eventual successor to Tiki Barber. A team source indicates that the team has RB Laurence Maroney higher on their draft board than DeAngelo Williams.

Philadelphia Eagles – A league source believes the team most likely will trade their selection in the first round and select C Nick Mangold. If they stay at No. 14, LB Chad Greenway is a strong possibility. While the team visited extensively with OT Winston Justice, questions remain whether the team is really comfortable with his off-the-field issues.

While there have been reports of the team trading up for DT Haloti Ngata, a league source told this week that DT Brodrick Bunkley is a much better fit for defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's scheme. Johnson likes quick, athletic defenders that can get a rush up field and Bunkley fits that bill rather well.

As was first to report, the club worked out (quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur) Yale QB Jeff Mroz on Tuesday. He is seen as a A.J. Feeley type of player. That means he's a player who was overlooked by scouts and was a late-round selection but has a strong arm and ability. The Eagles took a chance on Feeley in the fifth round of the 2001 draft and developed him well enough that he was able to yield a second-round pick from Miami in a trade in 2004. Mroz is seen as a seventh-round selection by most NFL talent evaluators.

San Francisco 49ers – While many fans and the media continue to speculate that the team will select TE Vernon Davis with their first-round pick, a league source indicates that the team would select LB A.J. Hawk if Green Bay passes him up. 

The team certainly wants to help second-year QB Alex Smith as much as they can by adding talent around him, but they think they can close games if the defense improves. Hawk is capable of playing inside or outside, but currently the team has two seldom-used linebackers running with the first-team defense outside.

It's expected the team will look at a cornerback or linebacker with their other selection in the first round.

Seattle Seahawks – A team source indicated this week that Seattle is likely to select either a cornerback or defensive end with their first-round selection. While cornerback is a bigger need, they really only have two solid ends on the roster and little quality depth at the position. The team also is still interested in signing UFA CB Ty Law.

St. Louis Rams – A league source told this week that the team is strongly considering selecting LB Chad Greenway with their first-round selection.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is very high on him and Greenway could be the eventual replacement for aging WLB Dexter Coakley. 

The team could also trade down to select a cornerback, which is a position they're looking to upgrade.

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