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3-9-11: Bird Droppings - Whiz at Newton's Pro Day, Kiper's mock draft, Draft trends under Whiz, Fitz's future

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Your links for this Wednesday Afternoon.

Analyzing Whiz and Newton
So yesterday’s Auburn pro day dragged on and on and on just to get to the end part, which was the part everyone was looking for — Cam Newton throwing passes. After his ragged showing in Indy, he needed a good day. He had it, although again, how can you not, throwing against no defenders? More importantly — and more relevant to anyone reading here — was the end, when coach Ken Whisenhunt stepped up to ask Newton to make a particular throw or two that he had not, and then made sure to shake Newton’s hand after it was over, apparently the lone coach to do so. This was caught on camera, and from a Cardinals’ perspective, tough not to notice.

Kiper mock 3.0: Thoughts on Cardinals - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's second mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll conclude with a look at his plans for the Arizona Cardinals, who hold the No. 5 overall choice.

Fitz still OK with Cardinals "scenery"
Larry Fitzgerald has been doing a lot of interviews of late, and given the status of his contract – in case you’ve been under a rock, it’s due to expire after the 2011 season and the Cards want to extend the deal – there are many of those questions asked. It also means Fitz’s words are analyzed and scrutinized (hey, I’ve done the same thing).

How past draft trends could affect the Cards in 2011 - Arizona Cardinals Forums
Lets grab Peterson, he is easily the best player in the draft. While that may be true, Draft trends elicited by Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves over the past few drafts he has put together in his 4 years as a HC here would point you elsewhere with regards to Peterson. It would aslo point you elsewhere if you are looking at a guy like Robert Quinn too. It also likely points you to a direction elsewhere with both of the upper tier Quarterback prospects in this draft in Gabbert and Newton.

NFL Videos: Fitz's future in Arizona
Will Larry Fitzgerald be a Cardinal next season? The "NFL Total Access" crew discusses what lies ahead for the star wide receiver.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Coach Ken Whisenhunt evaluates Newton
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt attended Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's Pro Day on Tuesday, but thanks to ESPN3, I didn't have to leave my desk chair. It's hard for a quarterback to look bad at a pro day, and Newton certainly didn't. There are no defenders, and if a quarterback and his handlers are smart, the whole thing is choreographed. I thought it was interesting at the end when Whisenhunt appeared to ask for a few specific throws.

Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL receivers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
ESPN.com's NFL writers rank the top 10 wide receivers in the league today.

Phoenix Suns defeat Houston Rockets behind Hakim Warrick's career game
The Suns signed Hakim Warrick last summer to be a facsimile of what they had in Amar'e Stoudemire. The Suns traded for Vince Carter in December to replace the go-to scoring they were losing by giving up Jason Richardson in the deal. They saw the fruition of both hopes coming on the ideal night, their first one playing without Channing Frye because of a dislocated shoulder. Warrick, replacing Frye, and Carter each scored 32 points Tuesday night to help the Suns survive Houston guard Kyle Lowry's 32 points in a 113-110 Suns victory at US Airways Center.

Phoenix Coyotes rally falls short against Vancouver Canucks in OT
There are key games that every team circles in red at the start of the season. The Coyotes did that - and they added another one a few weeks back after absorbing a 6-0 thumping against the Vancouver Canucks. They had their chance at payback Tuesday night.

Arizona Rattlers open Arena football season with seven returnees
The Rattlers are in game mode after two weeks of training camp, as they head back to US Airways Center on Saturday night for an Arena Football League opener against the Jacksonville Sharks and ageless quarterback Aaron Garcia. It will be the first of 18 regular-season games, a two-game increase from last year.

Larry Fitzgerald: 'Change of scenery sometimes is the best thing' | National Football Post
You have to wonder if Larry Fitzgerald was thinking about his own situation in Arizona when he talked about a change of scenery being a good thing. The perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver was visiting this morning on the Mully & Hanley Show in Chicago on WSCR-670 AM when the subject turned to former Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who was released by the club last week. Fitzgerald and Harris have been close friends for a long time and nobody wants to see their buddy out of work.

Emmitt’s last ride
The news today that running back Tiki Barber is coming out of retirement at age 35 after sitting out four seasons brought with it a lot of analysis (and smart-aleck comments), and a lot of comparisons. Mike Sando wrote a nice piece on the once-rumored Jim Brown comeback in 1983 (I remember that SI cover, and the stir Brown caused at the time) and also touched on the elite backs who finished out their careers — not in great ways — as older players in the NFC West. Guys like Franco Harris, O.J. Simpson and yes, Emmitt Smith.

Tiki Barber, Jim Brown and the older back - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Tiki Barber's comeback hopes at age 35 cannot touch the time Jim Brown threatened to come back in his late 40s, when an aging Franco Harris was challenging his rushing record. Brown was 29 when he played his final snap, then retired while still dominant. He had the right idea. Very few backs have remained productive into their 30s. The chart below shows running backs from current NFC West franchises who carried at least 50 times in a season past age 31, according to Pro Football Reference. I limited the search to the past 35 seasons (the newest current NFC West franchise, Seattle, entered the NFL in 1976).

Where Kevin Kolb fits in NFC West - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Ten years have passed since the Seattle Seahawks acquired Matt Hasselbeck from the Green Bay Packers and named him their starting quarterback. That move worked out well. Hasselbeck went to three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl, but now he is 35 years old and without a contract for 2011. The team could still re-sign him, or it could build around a younger quarterback -- perhaps even one with a similar background. The Philadelphia Eagles' Kevin Kolb is 26 years old and, like Hasselbeck, he learned from Andy Reid. Reid, entering his 13th season as the Eagles' head coach, oversaw quarterbacks in Green Bay during Hasselbeck's rookie season there. The tie-ins do not end there.

Larry Fitzgerald, Cameron Heyward join PFT Live | ProFootballTalk
One current NFL player and one future NFL player will join Florio today on Pro Football Talk Live. Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will join the show to give a player’s perspective on the labor situation, as well as his thoughts on who the Cardinals’ quarterback might be in 2011.

Von Miller runs 4.49-second 40-yard dash at Texas A&M Pro Day | ProFootballTalk
Texas A&M’s Von Miller was the second-fastest linebacker at the NFL Scouting Combine, running a 4.53-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. At today’s Texas A&M Pro Day, he ran even faster.

Kiper mock 3.0: Thoughts on Seahawks - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's third mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll begin with a look at his projection for the Seattle Seahawks, who hold the No. 25 overall choice.

Kiper mock 3.0: Thoughts on Rams - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's third mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll continue with a look at his plans for the St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 14 overall choice.

Kiper mock 3.0: Thoughts on 49ers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's third mock draft for 2011 serves as the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll continue with a look at his plans for the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 7 overall choice.

2011 NFL Mock Draft has Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton in top three - Don Banks - SI.com
With the NFL Scouting Combine having changed the draft-season landscape in subtle but numerous ways, and college pro days now in full swing, it's time to update our efforts at mocking out the first round. To no great surprise in the quarterback-driven NFL, the top-rated passers have both climbed their way into our top three, while a pair of previous No. 1 picks, both defensive linemen, have slipped into the second half of the top 10.

Ten more things to know, right now, about the labor situation | ProFootballTalk
On three prior occasions, we’ve provided a snapshot of the labor dispute by pressing pause and taking a look at 10 issues and/or dynamics arising from the situation. Though the latest look came only four days ago, enough has changed since Friday to justify a fresh assessment of the situation.

The 18-game season debate takes a backseat | ProFootballTalk
It’s always been about the money. As the NFL and NFLPA continue to fight over revenue and transparency, the spectre of the 18-game season appears to be sliding into the background of the conversation.

Cam Newton goes 50-for-60 at Tuesday Pro Day | ProFootballTalk
At 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Cam Newton finally took the field for passing drills at Auburn’s Pro Day. The results were mixed.

McElroy’s 43 is confirmed | ProFootballTalk
After we learned on Tuesday from a trusted source that Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy’s eye-popping 48 on the Wonderlic was actually a not-as-good-but-still-impressive 43, McElroy’s camp reached out to us to explain that McElroy had been told the higher number by multiple league sources.

NFL talks resume; Bob Kraft says deal 'possible' - ESPN
As commissioner Roger Goodell, union executive director DeMaurice Smith and their negotiating teams are at a 13th day of NFL labor talks, Robert Kraft said Monday from Israel that he believes a labor deal is possible.

Agent: Ex-New York Giants player Tiki Barber files to play in NFL again - ESPN New York
Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber has filed papers to come out of retirement and try to revive his NFL career, his agent Mark Lepselter confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

Kiper calls Newton ‘one-year wonder,’ like Akili Smith | ProFootballTalk
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper hosted a media conference call on Wednesday morning. Toward the end of the call, Kiper was asked about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, and the possibility that the 2010 Heisman winner might land with the Bills.

NFL.com news: Need at QB so dire, expect a 'reach' and several 'runs' in draft
While NFL owners and players try to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement this week, football people with all 32 teams are working just as hard on draft preparation. However, it's a different animal this year.

Report: NFL Films' Steve Sabol in hospital after having seizure - ESPN
NFL.com is reporting that NFL Films president Steve Sabol is in a Kansas City hospital recovering from a seizure he had Saturday night.

Cam Newton shows off big arm, footwork at Auburn's pro day - ESPN
Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton put his arm and footwork on display for NFL teams once again.