Insider: Culliver is one of NFL's top cornerbacks

Posted Nov. 04, 2012 @ 7:32 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. ET

The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity:

• “Take a look at the cornerbacks in this league. With (Darrelle) Revis and (Lardarius) Webb out, there are not any truly elite, shutdown corners. … One of the guys that does not get enough credit is Chris Culliver. He is not even starting for San Francisco, but when he is on the field, all he does is make plays. He has the swagger that is so important at that position. He is not afraid to cover anyone. He shut down Larry Fitzgerald on “Monday Night Football.” He’s extremely physical. He is one of the better tackling corners in the NFL right now."

• “I don’t know if Jerry Richardson will pay what it takes to land Bill Cowher. He is a popular name (in that part of the country). But you have to remember, John Fox was making $7 million and the owner had a hard time justifying any coach being worth that kind of money — win, lose or draw. (Ron) Rivera still has two more years on his deal so you’re talking about stacking $5 million onto another salary like that. … I would be surprised to see it happen, but it could.”

• “(Ryan) Fitzpatrick is just such a riverboat gambler. With his offensive line playing well, they should be playing closer to the vest and they don’t. The problem with him — his mistakes are huge, momentum-changing errors. What they need is a game manager like Alex Smith if they are going to survive. Look what happens to the Niners when Smith makes those kind of mistakes like he did against the Giants.”

• “Norv (Turner) will have to be out of the divsisional race or playoff contention before he gets canned. They still have to play Denver. They are in contention right now. I don’t see teams chopping coaches before they are out of contention. If it’s Week 13 and the division leader has a three-game lead, that’s when you might see more interim coaches. As bad as San Diego has played at times, they are far from being out of the race.”

• “When you are $20 million-$25 million under the cap, you can’t afford to let a homegrown guy like Brandon Carr get out of the building. Carl Peterson drafted him in the fifth round — (GM) Scott (Pioli) didn’t draft him. (Carr) is a bona fide starter and he is young and you let him get away on his first contract without getting anything in return? Go and pay him, especailly if he is so far under the cap. You are going to bring in Stanford Routt, who is getting diced by whoever he is lining up against and expect the same results? Routt can’t cover himself up at night. He is like that great mule everyone wants to ride. They could have had their two corners locked up for at least 4-5 years with (Brandon) Flowers and Carr. Instead, Carr is down in Dallas having a good season. Brian Waters had a great year in New England last year. How many good years (in Atlanta) has Tony Gonzalez had now? Enough said.”

• “I looked at (Jacksonville’s) roster and they had about 15 guys with Division I-AA backgrounds. You are not playing in the Colonial Athletic Association. You can’t be drafting those guys in the second and third rounds. Now you are saying you are smarter than Alabama, Florida and LSU, who didn’t sign them. There are some Walter Paytons and Jerry Rices who slip through the cracks, but it takes time for most of them to get acclimated to the speed of the (pro) game. It takes getting used to playing in front of 70,000 screaming fans. They don’t know what is going on until Year Three. Who are you going to whip with the Division I-AA all-star team on your roster? No one.”