• Niners Nation has never really fully warmed up to QB Alex Smith, which led many to believe the addition of David Carr would generate a positive buzz. But the way we hear it, the consensus in the Bay Area is that Carr and Smith are pretty much cut from the same inconsistent cloth, and that few fans have gone out of their way to instantly anoint Carr as the new starter under center by any means.
• As it stands heading into the draft, we hear the top candidates to become the Cardinals' No. 4 wideout in 2010 are fellow '09 practice-squad members Ed Gant and Onrea Jones. Word is the Cardinals coaches like the potential of Gant, who was undrafted last year. Jones, meanwhile, displayed some flashes last preseason. The odds remain strong that the Cardinals will add a receiver in the draft and sign a couple more rookies after the draft.
• We hear the Rams are excited by the new look being sported by injury-prone WR Donnie Avery, who reportedly has added 14 pounds to his frame that will hopefully help to keep him healthier than he has been up to now.
• The word out of Rams Park is that the team could end up fielding more phone calls for its first pick in the second round (33rd overall) than the first overall pick in the first round, considering that a whole day will pass between Round One and Round Two for the first time.
• After the 49ers lost UFA OT Tony Pashos to the Browns, team insiders seem more convinced than ever that at least one of the team's two first-round draft picks will be spent on an offensive lineman who could quickly figure in the starting mix.
• Our Giants sources expect the team to work out its differences with P Jeff Feagles over his contract. Feagles is said to be serious about playing, and threatening to retire is not his motivation for asking for more money. This dispute should come to an end before the draft if our sources are correct. The team's signing of a former Australian Rules footballer, P Jy Bond, is not expected to have an effect on the situation.
• The Eagles love their top three wideouts — DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant — and should be in great shape at the position for years. But don't be surprised if the team takes a flier on a wideout lower in the draft considering the lack of depth at the position behind them. With the trade of Reggie Brown and the release of Kevin Curtis, the only other receiver with NFL experience on the depth chart is Hank Baskett, a former castoff.
• We hear the Bears do want to re-sign unrestricted free-agent OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa, who looked like a good fit in the team's system before suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2009, but Tinoisaoma is in no real hurry and is interested in at least seeing if there is any kind of market for his services.
• The Buccaneers succeeded in their quest to find competition for SS Sabby Piscitelli by landing free agent Sean Jones, a starter for the Eagles last season. The starting spot is open to competition, but barring some major strides from Piscitelli this offseason, sources expect Jones to win the job. Piscitelli stood out as a weakness last season on one of the league's worst defenses.
• The Patriots have been working out a lot of cornerbacks, wide receivers and tight ends this offseason, so don't be surprised if the team uses some of its early picks at those positions.
• Jets OLB Calvin Pace told PFW he thinks Eric Smith and Brodney Pool are both good options to replace Kerry Rhodes as the team's starting free safety. Rhodes was shipped to the Cardinals in early March after being benched briefly last season. "(Smith) is a very bright guy," Pace said. "He understands the defense and where he's supposed to be. I know he's going to come in and do well." Smith, who recently signed a one-year tender of $1.176 million, has started 14 times in his four-year career and could compete for the starting job with Pool, a free agent who played his first five NFL seasons with the Browns.
• The Bengals could have an intriguing competition for their No. 4 WR role, with Jerome Simpson, Matt Jones and Quan Cosby being the top contenders. Simpson has contributed little his first two seasons, while Jones, the Jaguars' leading receiver two seasons ago, was out of football in 2009 after being released following a drug arrest. Cosby, a second-year player, saw increased playing time on offense as last season progressed and caught three passes in the wild-card loss to the Jets in January. Of the group, Cosby, the Bengals' punt returner, brings the most special-teams value, which works in his favor as he tries to capture a roster spot.
• Texans TE Owen Daniels, who missed the final eight games of the 2009 season with a knee injury, believes the increased playing time that then-rookie James Casey received in his absence was "a little bit of a blessing in disguise" for Casey. Daniels also praised veteran Joel Dreessen, who caught 21 passes in the second half of the season. "He's a superunderrated player in my opinion," Daniels told PFW. "He knows what he's doing and he does a good job. He's always going to give you his best and he's pretty well rounded. He's a really good blocker and he can catch the ball and make some things happen. He definitely got more comfortable as the year went along. That'll just make us all better when we're working this offseason."
• Tim Tebow's pro day did nothing to change the Jaguars' opinion that Tebow is not an elite quarterback prospect. Our sources tell us that Tebow "worked out one kink and developed another. There's still a small loop and now a bit of a pause in his throwing motion. Mechanical looking."
• In an effort to upgrade an offensive line that had its share of problems in 2009, the Chiefs struck early in free agency by signing OG Ryan Lilja and C Casey Wiegmann, who were recently cut by the Colts and Broncos, respectively. We hear both linemen have a solid chance to be Week One starters for K.C., with Lilja looking like a sure thing to start at right guard and Wiegmann likely to compete with incumbent Rudy Niswanger. It's also very possible that this won't be the end of the Chiefs' O-line maneuvering.
• After the surprising decision to release Andra Davis, who was a key contributor on defense last season, the Broncos have a vacancy to fill in the starting lineup at inside linebacker. While Denver could address the position early in the draft, sources expect Spencer Larsen to get a shot at winning the job in training camp. Larsen is not a well-known player outside of Denver, but he plays a variety of roles on the team, which has made him a valuable backup. He can play fullback or inside 'backer and helps out on special teams.
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