The 2011 NFL draft is getting close enough now for fans to shift from draft-day dreams to potential nightmares. I ran across a couple such questions in the latest NFC West chat. Transcript here. Highlights below.
todd (phoenix,AZ): Mike, a theoretical here. Let's say Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Von Miller and Patrick Peterson are all gone when Arizona is picking at No. 5. You are the head coach and the GM. Who do you take, hotshot?!
Mike Sando: Love the question. I'd go with Marcell Dareus in that spot, then figure out how to use him. The Cardinals have good talent on their defensive line, but they could not stop the run very well last season. Adding another big guy up front would foster competition, improve depth and help the defense overall. I would also consider taking A.J. Green as insurance in case Larry Fitzgerald does not come back. Playmakers are always good to have.
Travis M (Tucson): Love your blog, best one out there. What is the worst-case scenario for my favorite team, the 49ers? I'm hoping we get either Patrick Peterson or Von Miller (in that order), but after the past decade, I'm preparing for the worst.
Mike Sando: Thanks, Travis. The last time the 49ers picked in the top seven, they came away with an eventual Pro Bowl tight end, so don't get too discouraged. The worst-case scenario is reaching for a quarterback, then spending four, five or more years figuring out he cannot play.
Bobby (Salem): Would you say its safe to assume if Jimmy Smith is drafted by the Seahawks that Kelly Jennings will be traded once the new CBA is signed? Or do you think Pete Carroll and crew will be skittish about making the same "mistake" they made in trading Josh Wilson away?
Mike Sando: The Seahawks do not see the Josh Wilson trade as a mistake at all. They were very eager to make it -- so eager that they didn't push for a higher pick in return as hard as they probably should have pushed. They knew they would not be bringing back Wilson for 2011, so they figured they would get something in return while they could. If the Seahawks could take back any one trade from last year, it would probably be the Rob Sims trade, which was made only because Alex Gibbs was the offensive line coach. As for Kelly Jennings, his deal expired after the 2010 season. He'll be a free agent. Seattle could not trade him.
Tyler (New Hampshire USA): People have been saying that the Rams will take Mark Ingram with their first pick, maybe. Is this a good idea? Why not draft a position that they need more like receiver or outside linebacker and sign a mediocre RB via free agency.
Mike Sando: The Ingram/running back talk is premature by about a year. Replacing Steven Jackson is something the Rams need to think about, but not something they really need to act upon right away. If Ingram were easily the best value, sure, the Rams could consider it. But if I were them, I'd be looking for a shifty, quick back to provide a change of pace.
As for draft scenarios, the term "nightmare" falls on the severe side, but "less than ideal" seemed insufficient.