NFC pre-draft notes

With only a couple of days left before the 2006 NFL draft, offers the latest on what teams might be looking to do this weekend.

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 selected 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.

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.

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'Brickashaw Ferguson over DE Mario Williams barring a change 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 1. If the team decided to trade down later in the round or to the second round, then selecting a defensive tackle is a possibility.

Philadelphia Eagles

A league source believes the team most likely will trade its selection in the first round and select C Nick Mangold. If the Eagles 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 who can get a rush upfield and Bunkley fits that bill rather well.

San Francisco 49ers

While many fans and the media continue to speculate that the team will select TE Vernon Davis with its 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.

St. Louis Rams

A league source told this week that the team is strongly considering selecting LB Chad Greenway with its first-round selection.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is very high on him and Greenway could be the eventually 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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