NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Rams

     

Cardinals

Cardinals first-round LB Isaiah Simmons‘ big calling card was the versatility he showcased for Clemson the past few seasons. Last year, for instance, Simmons played 303 snaps at cornerback, 218 at safety, 160 at outside linebacker and 121 at inside linebacker. That versatility is a part of what Simmons will eventually bring to a team, but for now, the Cardinals appear to be planning to have him master one position before he adds more to his plate. 

“Our thought process, is if he is really able to focus on one position, having the flexibility to still move around, but really focus on one, what does that look like?” Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury said via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. “And the sky can really be the limit. That’s why we were so excited about him. The athleticism is through the roof. But his ability to play different positions and not really have any chance to focus on one, we just think the sky can be the limit for what he could be if we really lock him into one position the majority of the time.”

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler believes the Cardinals would be a strong fit for free-agent LB Clay Matthews as a rotational pass rusher. 
  • Darren Urban of the team website believes the Cardinals could still look at adding a backup edge rusher, a backup veteran safety and potentially a tight end before the 2020 season starts. 
  • Specifically, Urban highlights veteran TE Charles Clay as a player the Cardinals could bring back. 
  • Urban mentions the Cardinals weren’t able to finalize a deal with undrafted free agent RB Sirgeo Hoffman.

49ers

  • The Athletic’s Matt Barrows mentions 49ers WR Jalen Hurd, OL Daniel Brunskill, LB Azeez Al-Shaair, DL Kevin Givens and P Mitch Wishnowsky as second-year players to keep an eye on for potential breakout years. 
  • While some prominent 49ers have had second-year letdowns, like WR Dante Pettis and CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Barrows doesn’t think that’s in store for either DE Nick Bosa or LB Dre Greenlaw.
  • He adds Pettis has the widest range of outcomes, as he could either work his way out of the doghouse into a starting role or find himself off the roster. 
  • Barrows notes 49ers TE coach/assistant HC Jon Embree, DL coach Kris Kocurek and offensive assistants Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur all make higher-than-average assistant salaries to help prevent being poached by other teams. 
  • For instance, 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan has mentioned he pays LaFleur and McDaniel the same salary as an offensive coordinator. 
  • Barrows points out it’s unlikely San Francisco will be able to afford extensions for both TE George Kittle and LT Trent Williams this year, with 2021 a little more up in the air. 

Rams 

  • If former Panthers QB Cam Newton is truly amenable to a backup job, ESPN’s Matt Bowen thinks the Rams could be a fit. 
  • Bowen also points out the Rams could be candidates to sign free-agent CB Prince Amukamara, as new DC Brandon Staley would be familiar with him from his time with the Bears. 
  • Rams LB Leonard Floyd is excited to be reuniting with Staley who was his position coach in 2017 and 2018 with the Bears: “It’s going to be great playing for him again.” (Gary Klein)
  • Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic believes a Taysom Hill-like role could make sense for Rams QB Bryce Perkins. Rodrigue notes that Perkins rushed for 1,692 yards and 20 touchdowns in two years at Virginia to go along with 6,210 passing yards.
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