Around the NFC West: Unger has credentials

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Moore of seattlepi.com says Seahawks second-round choice Max Unger was once a "gangly ninth-grader who had never played football." Why hadn't Unger played to that point? Moore: "Unger wanted to play, but his local Pop Warner league wouldn't let him because he was too big and would've crushed kids his age -- his dad said he was 5-10 and 200 pounds in the 6th grade." Unger's line coach at Oregon compared him to Gary Zimmerman. I like Unger's chances of earning a starting job.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have not signed any of the nine players who participated in post-draft camps on a tryout basis. Those players helped the Seahwaks conduct practices while others rehabilitated injuries.

Also from O'Neil: Linemen Rob Sims and Chris Spencer face pivotal seasons in 2009.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says T.J. Duckett hopes his role in the Seahawks' offense grows as much as the running back's beard. Teammates are calling him Kimbo Slice and the comparison holds up from what I've seen at post-draft practices.

Also from Williams: Matt Hasselbeck is getting comfortable.

John Morgan of Field Gulls heaps praise upon Seahawks president Tim Ruskell for striking a "sweetheart deal" with linebacker Leroy Hill. No doubt, this deal came out in the Seahawks' favor. Instead of paying $8.3 million to Hill for one season or much more on a lucrative long-term deal, Seattle could pay as little as $13 million over two seasons before escaping the deal without negative salary-cap ramifications.

Michael Steffes of Seahawk Addicts likes what he sees from John Clayton, who graded the Seahawks' offseason as the best in the league.

Les Carpenter of the Washington Post checks in with former Seahwaks coach Mike Holmgren, who says the Redskins should be patient with quarterback Jason Campbell. Holmgren was in Washington as Zorn's guest to see off his wife and daughter to Africa, where they plan to continue mission work. Anything Holmgren says publicly about the Redskins' quarterback situation on the matter would dovetail with Zorn's wishes.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation sizes up the 49ers' defensive line, placing Ray McDonald on the bubble for a roster spot. Justin Smith is very good. Aubrayo Franklin finished strong last season. As for the rest of the line? We need to see more. Fucillo: "I'd imagine the one that will draw the most contention is Ray McDonald. I'm pretty sure he'll make the 53-man, but his reconstructive knee surgery moves him temporarily to the bubble watch. One thing that does have me curious is the potential roster battle between McDonald and Ricky Jean-Francois."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals will release players before training camp. The team is carrying 84 players, counting unsigned draft choices. Teams can carry no more than 80 signed players at this point in the offseason.

Revenge of the Birds' Hawkwind quotes Mike Lombardi on the Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett situations. Lombardi: "I have covered the Boldin trade situation and his contract at length and the fact is clear, the market will not satisfy him or the Cards. As for Dockett, he is very well thought of in the NFL, but he is not going anywhere. They cannot afford to trade him for several reasons."

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams gained depth on their defensive line in the Brian Leonard trade. We'll see if Orien Harris earns a roster spot. Leonard might be the winner in this deal after landing in Cincinnati. Agent Mike McCartney: "This is a great trade for Brian. I give the Rams credit for putting him in a great situation ... where he can be a running back." Also, the Rams released tackle David Oswald.