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Around the NFC West: Rams on clock

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' leadership has been too conservative in rebuilding the team, and that must change in the 2010 draft. Miklasz: "At this rate the rebuilding project will be completed in time for the 2029 season. This safety-first philosophy is so pronounced at Rams Park, I wouldn't be surprised to see general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo wearing biohazard suits the next time they step forward to announce a personnel move." Miklasz thinks the team should draft Sam Bradford.

Howard Balzer and Jim Rodenbush of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat advocate Bradford and Ndamukong Suh, respectively, as the Rams' choice at No. 1. Balzer: "Balance it. A great defensive tackle, or a great quarterback. Simply stated, the great quarterback will help win more games. Heck, if it’s a balance between a great defensive tackle or a very good quarterback, the quarterback is still more important. That’s why, when Devaney polled his scouts and coaches Wednesday, asking who they would take No. 1, it was virtually unanimous. That’s why the name called at about 6:40 Thursday night will be Sam Bradford."

Also from Balzer: a mock draft showing what he thinks teams should do, not what they are likely to do.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals are expecting a more stressful draft given the new format. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "It will be more nerve-racking, especially if you ... have your eye on a particular player and you have to wait all through the night and the next day before you know what is going to happen."

Also from Somers: The Cardinals are expected to unveil an alternate jersey to be worn once during the exhibition season and twice during the regular season.

More from Somers: a look at risks associated with any pursuit of Ben Roethlisberger.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says it's tough to know which players will be available to Arizona at No. 26.

Also from Urban (PDF): He sends linebacker Daryl Washington to Arizona with the 26th overall choice.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers theories on reports suggesting the 49ers have interest in Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Barrows: "If the 49ers felt that Jimmy Clausen was a starter-caliber quarterback, they should take him at pick No. 13. The scouts/analysts I've talked to have Clausen rated highly, and they say there are fewer questions about him than with (Brady) Quinn and (Aaron) Rodgers. What we don't know, of course, is how the 49ers have Clausen rated."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat considers offensive options for the 49ers in the draft. He thinks Maurkice Pouncey could make more sense than Mike Iupati. Maiocco: "While the 49ers must come away with a starter at right tackle, it's not as if they can't use help at the other positions on the offensive line, too. Iupati is a guard. Perhaps, he could transition to right tackle. But that would not be a Year 1 development. That would be far down the road. Pouncey, likewise, would start out at guard. He would transition in 2011 or 2012 to center to take the place of Eric Heitmann. The more I think of this scenario, the more I think the 49ers could easily select Pouncey. (And my final-final mock draft for tomorrow's newspaper is likely to reflect that.)"

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News has this to say about Clausen: "Talking with multiple NFL sources, it looks like the 49ers and Seahawks could be the two key players in Clausen’s final destination. Both teams have two 1st-round picks, neither seems totally desperate for a QB (Seattle has Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst, the 49ers have Alex Smith and David Carr), but both do have a need to find a QB at some point. They’re in the same division, you might have realized. I’ve heard Pete Carroll is a Clausen fan, as Peter King has said. The Seahawks are at 6 and 14. The 49ers are at 13 and 17. I’ve heard many smart people say that if Clausen is there at 13, the 49ers will take somebody else and wait to take Clausen at 17 if he lasts that long."

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers should trade down to add picks, then collect building blocks, not showpieces. Cohn: "There is talk the 49ers will use (waste) one of their first-round picks on Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen if he’s available. Nuts to that. The 49ers need to embrace the basics of team building, and that means getting grunts who get down and dirty. They took Michael Crabtree last year and had to endure his ridiculous holdout and still they couldn’t make the playoffs. They have to build a team the right way."

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says Carroll's pre-draft tweeting reflects a different kind of coach. Brewer: "the person who has the most to lose seems to be the loosest. Seahawks fans have been talking about this draft since last October, when it became obvious early last season that the franchise would be drafting high. The Seahawks earned the No. 6 pick by virtue of their 5-11 record in 2009, and they also have Denver's first-round selection, which is No. 14 overall. With those two picks, Seattle has a chance to own Thursday night. Or fail dramatically."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com expects the Seahawks to make trades during the draft because it's in their best interests and it's consistent with how general manager John Schneider likes to operate. Johns: "It's a debate of quantity vs. quality at times, but Schneider firmly believes if a team scouts well and understands the draft board and who will be available in later picks, it is well worth the risk of giving up higher choices in exchange for adding more options later."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune predicts which players the Seahawks might draft by round. Russell Okung and Taylor Mays are his top two choices, with Seattle potentially trading down before drafting the latter.

Also from Williams: Draft analyst Rob Rang says the Seahawks would be more likely to take Bryan Bulaga at No. 14 than No. 6 based on the tackle's athletic ability.

John Morgan of Field Gulls gives the Seahawks Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller in his latest Seattle-centric mock draft.