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NFC Whispers

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By PFW staff

Here are some of the whispers we're hearing related to NFC teams:

• Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur admitted at the Rams' recent rookie minicamp that the team is considering bringing along top draft pick Sam Bradford similarly to the way the Eagles did with Donovan McNabb, who didn't become the undisputed starter until well into his rookie campaign. "Well, that's been talked about," Shurmur said. "(Head coach) Steve (Spagnuolo) and I were there when that happened (in Philadelphia). The challenge for us is not to follow a model. When Sam came in, I mentioned to him, 'You have got to fight to learn things to be the Day One starter.' And if that happens, great."

• How is Niners stud ILB Patrick Willis, the beneficiary of a recent $50 million contract extension, different from Ravens stud ILB Ray Lewis? "I'll put it this way," said Niners head coach Mike Singletary, who has coached both players. "He can do exactly what Ray is doing, but Ray is a different kind of guy. Ray gains energy from talking and all of the other things. Pat's already wired up. When he gets on the field, he's already wired. He doesn't have to say one thing. He's just going to play."

• Sources on the scene in Seattle tell us that third-year DL Red Bryant, who has been a situational tackle his first two seasons, could possibly be moving outside to the five-technique spot after looking very frisky off the edge in the team's first post-draft minicamp.  

• We hear the Cardinals are quite concerned about their situation at fullback, where serviceable third-year pro Nehemiah Broughton was the one healthy option at last check. Reagan Maui'a, the only other fullback on the roster, has been bothered by a strained groin. The Cardinals seriously considered re-signing unrestricted free agent Dan Kreider, who provided some pretty solid run blocking on occasion last season. But Kreider had neck problems last year, and a deal apparently could not be worked out.

• The Eagles kept this quiet until after the draft, but DE Victor Abiamiri's availability this year is in question. The 2007 second-rounder had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February and almost certainly won't be ready by the start of the season. In fact, we're hearing his NFL career could be in jeopardy. In light of this report, the Eagles' moves this offseason, securing serious DE depth, make even more sense.

• It sounds like Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is looking for more from third-round S Chad Jones. "I think he is a little heavy and he's got some conditioning work to do," Coughlin said. "He makes some mental errors, which is not surprising for anybody back there. He was down quite a bit this morning weight-wise. He lost a lot of water weight in just one day. He will be very cognizant of the weight and conditioning aspect when he comes back."

• The Lions continued to try to upgrade their roster by snagging WR Marko Mitchell off waivers from Washington. Mitchell was a preseason hype machine last year after a few fine performances in training camp and in game action, but he did little in the regular season thereafter. In order to make the roster, Mitchell likely would have to display some special-teams value, in addition to advancing as a receiver.

• Don't be shocked if Bears veteran OL Kevin Shaffer, who was considered a prime challenger to Frank Omiyale for the starting right tackle spot next season, ends up seeing more than a little action at left guard after all is said and done.

• Our Packers sources don't envision much of a future moving forward for Packers fourth-year OL Allen Barbre, who they believe could have a real hard time making the final roster after failing at both guard and tackle when given the opportunity.

 

Related link: AFC Whispers

 

For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.

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