Sources say 49ers in thick of Brooks bidding

The Ahmad Brooks sweepstakes finally have arrived, and sources are indicating that the 49ers have become a frontrunner to acquire the services of the University of Virginia linebacker in the 2006 NFL Supplemental Draft.

After missing out on April's main event, Brooks officially makes his way to the next level. Who will take the forceful linebacker? And how early will he be selected? Here's the latest:

The first question swirling around scouting circles is when Brooks will be chosen. A league source told us that from a physical standpoint Brooks is "great value after the 15th pick of round one," something we agree with. But the same source told us, "it's all a matter of who's willing to roll the dice and take a chance" based on his injury and off-the-field history.

Sources have told us the 49ers seem to have the most interest in Brooks at this time. Soon after our report on Brooks Pro Day of June 23, Brooks flew out west to the Niners' facility and spent a few days meeting the coaches and office personnel. The Niners, who need a young inside linebacker, would consider Brooks in Round 3, as SFI first reported in late June.

We reported that the New England Patriots did not send a single scout to witness Brooks' workout and showed no desire for the versatile linebacker. At least openly they've showed no interest.

In a covert manner it now seems the Patriots are also interested in Brooks.

Sources have told us the Patriots have done a lot of digging on Brooks, going directly through the UVA coaches and Al Groh, who has a long relationship with Bill Belichick. And while Brooks does not fit the type of player the Pats look for from a character perspective, he may be too good a talent to pass up in Round 2.

The Green Bay Packers remain very interested as do the New York Giants. We've also been told while the Miami Dolphins like Brooks, their interest may not be as high as some are speculating. The level of interest from the Cleveland Browns has dissipated somewhat since Brooks Pro Day.

The identity of Brooks' future employer may already be sitting in the league office.

The order of the supplemental draft will be decided by a weighted lottery. Draft order is determined by a weighted system that is divided into three groupings. First come the teams that had six or fewer wins last season, followed by non-playoff teams that had more than six wins, followed by the 12 playoff teams.

The 49ers fall into the first group, along with ten other NFL teams, which means they could own anywhere from the first to the eleventh pick in each round of the supplemental draft.

It is then a "blind auction" of sorts with the highest bidder getting a player.

By today, all NFL teams must provide the league office with the identity of any player they want and what round they are willing to acquire him in.

For example, if the the Patriots alert the league office they will use a third-round pick for Brooks and the Niners submit a "bid" in the same frame, Brooks will be awarded to San Francisco.

Sources have told us many teams have already submitted their bids as to whom they will choose and what round they'd be willing to select that player. The information will be announced by the league later this afternoon.

Though Iowa State linebacker/defensive end Jason Berryman also has draw significant interest, with the 49ers among the teams taking a look, it now appears that Brooks may be the only player selected in today's supplemental phase.

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