The latest NFC West chat went well even though I kicked it off from the 35-yard line and shortened the running start I usually get in covering questions. Transcript here. Highlights below:
Ben (Portland): It sounds like the Seahawks have been pretty transparent about negotiating a trade for Kevin Kolb. How would a hypothetical trade go down? Wouldn't it have to wait until a new CBA is in place? Wouldn't that likely rule out the use of 2011 picks?
Mike Sando: Yep. There could be no trade before or during the draft without a new labor agreement in place or an injunction wiping out the lockout. Which means we could be talking about something that is not even possible. Which would mean the Seahawks would need to address their quarterback situation through the draft and/or by promoting Charlie Whitehurst and using free agency whenever it begins. This is a subject worth breaking out on the blog at some point.
joe (sf): Hi Mike, like most Rams fans, I'm crossing my fingers Julio Jones is available to us, but I am not sure trading away a second-round pick to move into position for A.J. Green or Jones is a bad idea. This team must give Bradford a WR to grow with like Peyton Manning had in Marvin Harrison. I know this team has needs all over, and I also know we have found some gems recently in the second. What do you think?
Mike Sando: I don't think the situation at receiver is desperate enough for the Rams to spend a second-rounder for a big move up the board. The team picked up a starting left tackle (Rodger Saffold) and defensive leader (James Laurinaitis) in the last two second rounds. Those are tremendous value picks based on what those players provide. We should remember, too, that new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has gotten quite a bit from receivers who disappointed elsewhere. Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd come to mind. The Rams have to figure one or two of their injured wideouts will return to form. They could get more from a healthier Mike Hoomanawanui at tight end. Take the receiver if he is there, but don't spend too much in an effort to move up.
Ben O (NYC): How different will the 49ers' offense be under Harbaugh?
Mike Sando: We'll still see quite a few two-back sets. This will still be a power-based offense. I suspect the play-calling will be more creative, the quarterbacks will be better prepared and the playbook will give the quarterbacks better bailout options so that Alex Smith or whichever player is under center doesn't have to eat the football while all his receiving options run downfield with their backs to him.
Aarron- Waukesha, Wisconsin [via mobile]: Hey Mike, who do you think the Cardinals should take, Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton? I think Newton has more raw talent, but we do need a QB who can be accurate. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando: I haven't studied the players the way personnel people study them. My feel is that Arizona would prefer Gabbert over Newton, but I'm not sure whether they would take him at No. 5 overall. Newton can throw accurately. He had a high completion percentage in college. Teams look for functional accuracy, though, and I think there are some questions about his accuracy in some game situations. That could improve as Newton gains a better feel for the game through experience. He has not played as much as some college quarterbacks.
On the Kolb front, the assumption all along is that a trade would recoup a 2011 draft choice. So, if the signing period opens after the draft, that option goes out the window.