The San Francisco 49ers acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the more interesting moves of this NFL offseason. The question is are the 49ers getting the same cornerback who dominated for the Oakland Raiders? Or will Asomugha be a bust in San Francisco, like he was with the Philadelphia Eagles?
The answer lies in how the 49ers can use Asomugha and how much his struggles in Philadelphia were due to diminishing skills and not other factors.
The 49ers play a lot of 2-deep zone concepts. On the surface, that won't suit Asomugha, who struggled in zone defenses with the Eagles.
However, there are key differences in the coverage schemes used in San Francisco.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has tweaked things to give his corners more freedom to matchup one-on-one underneath.
So Fangio's scheme resembles man under with both safeties covering the deep zones behind it. The underneath man coverage part of that dynamic should appeal to Asomugha.
He came to prominence with the Raiders, thanks to his aggressive, man coverage. The phrase "press" was most often used to describe Asomugha's technique.
The Arizona Cardinals have traded for former Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Carson Palmer. The deal means the Cardinals are trusting a veteran to fix their quarterback issues, after several unsuccessful experiments with youth. They've also found the right fit for new head coach Bruce Arians' deep passing offense.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com reported the Cardinals dealt a sixth-round pick this year and a 2014 seventh-round pick to the Silver and Black. In exchange, they get Palmer and a 2013 seventh-round pick.
The Cardinals will be hoping the 33-year-old can replicate what Kurt Warner did in Arizona, during the twilight of his career. Warner took the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance in 2008.
Reinforcing the secondary is the biggest priority for the Washington Redskins in the 2013 NFL draft. However, Mike Shanahan's team also needs help along the offensive line, particularly at right tackle.
Even without a pick in the first round after the trade for Robert Griffin III in 2012, the Redskins have enough selections to fill their needs.
A tough-tackling safety, recently recovered from a horrific injury and an IVY League offensive lineman represent their best picks.
Round 2: Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
There are more athletic and dynamic safeties in this draft class than Phillip Thomas. However, the Redskins need the Fresno State star because of his knack for forcing turnovers.
Thomas has keen instincts in underneath coverage and a flair for getting his hands of the ball. He is also a competent run defender.
Thomas has rebounded well from the broken leg that derailed his draft hopes in 2012. He is tough and savvy enough to quickly become a starter in Washington.
Coming off a season in which they ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense and 28th in total offense, the Chicago Bears have plenty of incentive to spend their first-round draft pick on a player who can help them score. However, Chicago also has two starting linebackers to replace, and they may have a shot at a potential draft steal to help do it.
As noted by ESPN, the Bears are part of a cluster of teams likely to consider drafting Notre Dame star Manti Te’o. Even with Chicago’s needs on offense, if Te’o falls to the Bears, they’ll need an awfully good alternative to make it worth passing him up.
Te’o’s stock has dropped severely in the last three months. He was hit hard by a combination of the much-discussed hoax surrounding his nonexistent girlfriend, a disastrous end to Notre Dame’s season in a BCS title game blowout and his own disappointing combine performance.
The Washington Redskins have re-signed free-agent tight end Fred Davis. The move keeps a valuable weapon of quarterback Robert Griffin III's passing attack in place.
ProFootballTalk.com reported that Davis will sign a one-year deal. It's a smart, short-term deal from the Redskins, given some of Davis's injury and disciplinary concerns.
However, when he's on the field, Davis is one of the best young players at his position in the NFL. He is a true playmaker head coach Mike Shanahan's passing schemes need.