NFL Rankings: 49ers still chasing Cards; Raiders slipping


NFL Rankings: 49ers still chasing Cards; Raiders slipping

Were at the quarter-pole of the NFL season and teams are beginning to separate from the pack. But whats more realistic at this point a Texans vs. Falcons Super Bowl, or a Ravens-49ers Harbaugh Bowl? The power rankings are all about head-to-head results at this point in time...

1 (1) Houston Texans (4-0) The most complete team in the league right now. 2 (2) Atlanta Falcons (4-0) Dirty Birds Version IOS 6.0? 3 (3) Arizona Cardinals (4-0) Kevin Kolb must be living right. 4 (4) Baltimore Ravens (3-1) Quietly, waiting in the weeds to strike. 5 (8) Minnesota Vikings (3-1) Somewhere, Tommy Kramer is smiling. 6 (9) San Francisco 49ers (3-1) How do the Youngstown Niners grab ya? 7 (12) Chicago Bears (3-1) Not quite the 1985 demolition of the Cowboys, but almost as complete . 8 (10) New England Patriots (2-2) A three-game losing streak? Brady would never hear of it. 9 (14) San Diego Chargers (3-1) Is this the year Norv-a-caine numbs the rest of football to sleep? 10 (16) Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) Dalton and Green making like Anderson and Collinsworth. Too soon? 11 (17) Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) Two missed field goals mean Andy Reid can exhale twice. 12 (5) Seattle Seahawks (2-2) The ugliest uniforms this side of the USFL. 13 (11) Green Bay Packers (2-2) Something's just not clickingyet. 14 (6) Dallas Cowboys (2-2) A five-pick game on national TV is no way for Romo to endear himself. 15 (7) New York Giants (2-2) Now the G-Men know how Scott Norwood feltkinda. 16 (18) Denver Broncos (2-2) The Mile High Lovefest for Manning is reaching Tebow-ian levels. 17 (13) New York Jets (2-2) Speaking of Tim Tebow, is it that time yet? 18 (15) Buffalo Bills (2-2) Wait, weren't the Bills handing Brady and the Pat's their lunch in the first half? 19 (22) St. Louis Rams (2-2) Time for Ice Cube to wistfully rap, Eric Dickerson, come back home. 20 (24) Washington Redskins (2-2) Cundiff atones for sin of three missed field goals and makes Shanahan look smart again. 21 (21) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) Mundy's wallet is 21,000 lighter. 22 (19) Miami Dolphins (1-3) Tannehill's learning curve is going better than expected. 23 (23) Detroit Lions (1-3) Lions say they're a "different" 1-3. Meaning what, exactly? 24 (26) Indianapolis Colts (1-2) Now comes the hard part for Luck after his first career bye. 25 (25) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) MJD and not much else at this time. 26 (27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) Yes, they should go back to the orangecicle unis, just to curry up interest. 27 (28) Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) Routt Tweets, Another day, another dollar. He must have meant another deflating loss. 28 (30) Carolina Panthers (1-3) All of those stats mean little without W's. 29 (20) Oakland Raiders (1-3) Bye comes at a perfect time to soothe physical and psychological wounds. 30 (29) Tennessee Titans (1-3) Seriously, how did this outfit win a game? 31 (32) New Orleans Saints (0-4) Not as bad as their record suggests, but you are what your record says, right? 32 (31) Cleveland Browns (0-4) And with the first pick of the 2013 draft...

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 pick, 'it's coveted'

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 pick, 'it's coveted'

The 49ers have narrowed their list of potential draft picks for the No. 2 overall selection on Thursday evening but they are also keeping alive the possibility of a trade.

“I can tell you with the No. 2 (pick), there have been calls. There’s been interest, but, I think, nothing specific,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“It’s coveted. When you have a pick that high, I think that’s natural.”

Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, running back Leonard Fournette and several options at defensive back are among the options most often linked to the 49ers at the No. 2 overall pick.

“We’re going to listen right up until draft day,” Lynch said. “But otherwise we’re going to pick a player at two that we feel is a cornerstone for this franchise for years to come and we’ll be very passionate about that pick and what that player can do for us moving forward.”

The 49ers have two veteran quarterbacks – Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley – currently under contract. Lynch said the 49ers have not ruled out the possibility of selecting a quarterback with the team’s top pick.

“I think we’ve stated from the beginning that a franchise quarterback is something we believe is essential to winning in this league,” Lynch said. “We hope that Hoyer and Barkley come in, and they were both brought in for a reason, but we feel like we’ll continue, always continue, to try to improve ourselves at that position.”

The coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate the current roster, beginning Tuesday. With new coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are allowed to conduct a voluntary three-day minicamp before the draft.

“We have a good understanding of where we are and what we’re looking for,” Lynch said. “In terms of just getting a look real quick, and whether that will change our mind on anything, but you would hate not to give guys an opportunity to go show what they are doing before you went out and did that.

“We’ll use it for what it’s worth. I don’t know how much value. I think more than anything our coaches are just really excited to get guys out on the field, so we’ll use it as such. We’ve got a couple players in here on a tryout basis and so we’re happy for that, to see if we can add some things. We’ll evaluate but continue to work on the draft process as well.”

Lynch said the 49ers have implemented changes to the team’s grading process for the draft, drawing on a model the New England Patriots set up. Vice president of player personnel Adam Peters worked in the Patriots’ scouting department before advancing to director of college scouting with the Denver Broncos. Shanahan is also familiar with the grading system from his time with the Atlanta Falcons under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, formerly a Patriots personnel executive.

“I think we tried to create an environment that’s collaborative, where people can be confident in sharing their opinions, and we had strong opinions,” Lynch said. “They didn’t always agree, but we’ve gotten to a point where there’s consensus. Ultimately, it will be Kyle and I together making those decisions and that’s kind of where we are this week.”

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

CLEVELAND -- Finding Bigfoot has been more productive than the Cleveland Browns' search for a franchise quarterback.

This flawed football quest drags on.

For nearly two decades, the Browns, once a standard of NFL excellence and now a league punching bag, have been running in circles as they try to find a quarterback to lead them from the darkness to relevance and respectability. Since the franchise's inglorious expansion return in 1999, they've started 26 quarterbacks, a roll call of names that haunt even the most loyal Cleveland fans holding out hope the team will one day get it right.

From Tim Couch to Trent Dilfer, from Derek Anderson to Cody Kessler, and let's not forget that year of fun with Johnny Manziel, QBs have cycled through Cleveland like tourists, with none sticking around for long.

It's been a running joke.

And until the Browns find that long-term answer at quarterback, they'll continue to be looked at as a laughingstock.

They'll have another chance to perhaps end this long pursuit in this week's NFL draft. With the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks, and four more selections in the first three rounds, the Browns are positioned to finally fix the most important position on the field.

This could be the year Cleveland fans have longed for, the one when the Browns find their Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger. But as fate would have it, this year's QB class isn't highly regarded. Many draft experts feel there isn't a quarterback worth a first-round selection and that Cleveland should wait until 2018.

That's just so Browns, whose experiment with Robert Griffin III backfired last season, resulting in the latest QB confusion.

"We're going to keep searching," coach Hue Jackson said recently. "I think we all understand, no one's really claimed this position yet on our football team so we need to do everything we can to continue to add a player that we feel, as an organization, really good about, that can lead our football team and we'll continue to chase that."

The chase continues Thursday when the Browns try to find that elusive, essential piece. Or fumble again.

Here are some quarterback tidbits to chew on when the Browns go on the clock:

UP TOP: Cleveland seems locked in ON Texas A&M defensive stud Myles Garrett at No. 1, and while he's proficient at sacks, there are no three- or seven-step drops in his future. The Browns are impressed with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, a former Ohio Mr. Football, despite his inexperience (only 13 college starts), but probably not enough to take him first. Landing Garrett and Trubisky would be a dream scenario, but Cleveland may have to trade up as the rebuilding Jets have sent out vibes they prefer Trubisky.

WHY NOT WATSON? Clemson's Deshaun Watson would seem to fit Jackson's profile of the ideal QB: mobile, dynamic, successful. The Browns, though, don't seem enthralled with Watson - not in the first round anyway - unless their silence is a smoke screen. There are other good options like Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Texas A&M's Patrick Mahomes or California's Davis Webb, who may all be available after Round 1.

DRAFT DEBACLES: The Browns' track record drafting QBs - or any position - is abysmal over the past decade, which is why many Cleveland fans fear the team will mess up again. Since 2007, only OT Joe Thomas and CB Joe Haden have proven to be good choices. Eight other first-round picks are no longer on the roster.

Along with Couch, the No. 1 choice in '99, the Browns have used first-round picks on Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Manziel, who was Johnny Goofball in an orange helmet. Those mistakes shouldn't deter the Browns from selecting a QB early, but they are grim reminders that there are no givens.

WAITING GAME: Would waiting one more year be so bad? Draft experts point to the 2018 QB class, led by UCLA's Josh Rosen and USC's Sam Darnold, as being more talented than the 2017 group. That wouldn't preclude the Browns from taking a quarterback later in this draft, just not in the first round.

HOMETOWN HEROES: Trubisky is the latest in a long line of Ohio-born QBs tabbed as the Browns' next savior. Quinn, Charlie Frye and Brian Hoyer all grew up as Browns fans, but none was able to lead the turnaround. If Trubisky is picked, the pressure on him to be the team's leader and face of the franchise will be immense.

BYE-BYE BROCK?: The Browns made a shocking move in free agency, acquiring QB Brock Osweiler, his $16 million guaranteed contract and a 2018 second-round pick from Houston. Cleveland made it clear Osweiler was not part of the future, but he's still on the roster and could be part of a fall-back plan if the Browns don't get their desired quarterback.