Blaine Gabbert's potential future in the division kicks off the NFC West chat this week. We'll have some real answers when the draft gets going one week from Thursday night. In the meantime, we've got plenty to talk about.
Derrik (AZ): I'll be upset with the Cardinals if they draft the QB from Missouri or any QB in the first round. None of them come close to what Sam Bradford accomplished in college. The Cards need a QB, but missing on another one like Matt Leinart would be far worse. I would rather have John Skelton play than a first-round draft pick. Priorities at No. 5 should be: Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, trading down and Robert Quinn.
Mike Sando: It's amazing how many mock drafts are sending Blaine Gabbert to the Cardinals at No. 5. I was looking at the latest mocks from Rob Rang, Nolan Nawrocki, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper. All four have Gabbert going to the Cardinals. My own feeling as been that Arizona would go in another direction and that Gabbert might not even be available, anyway. I see both sides of this one. A team should not draft a quarterback just because it needs one. At the same time, there's no sense in being too choosy, either. The Cardinals need to trust their evaluations of the players and weigh the value of the quarterback position when making this decision. They do not need to find the next Dan Marino with this pick. But if Gabbert has enough talent to lead a team to the Super Bowl, they should take him and develop him.
Mickey (Saint Louis): Hey Mike, love your work, If the Rams miss out on Julio Jones, would picking up a receiver in the second round (say Leonard Hankerson) be an upgrade for that position on the Rams roster or just another route runner?
Mike Sando: Thanks, Mickey. I do not personally scout the college players, but based on what I've read about Hankerson, I'm not convinced he would upgrade the position overall to the desired extent. The Rams already have several secondary-type receivers. They have some guys coming off injuries. Some of those players will produce, but none will strike fear in opposing defenses. Neither will Hankerson, according to the scouting reports. I'd consider using that second-round choice for best player available before targeting a receiver specifically. Hey, if they don't get a difference-making wideout at No. 14, they aren't going to get one in the second round, most likely (unless there's another DeSean Jackson out there).
Billy Showbiz (Los Angeles, CA): Hey Mike, are you going to take any Seahawks questions today? Here's one: Do you think that Charlie Whitehurst could develop into a solid starting QB? My feeling is that Darrell Bevell will run a less risky offense than we saw with Jeremy Bates last year.
Mike Sando: I would tend to lean against thinking Whitehurst would become a solid starting quarterback, mostly because he's been around quite a while without threatening to crack a starting lineup on merit (or even the No. 2 role when he was with San Diego). His strengths seemed better suited for Bates' offense than the one you think Bevell is going to run. I do think Whitehurst could have a better chance to start this coming season. But it's an upset if he plays well enough to keep the job outright heading into 2012.
Shaj (El Dorado Hills, CA): It seems the 49ers' entire management structure is comprised of people who are in their positions for the first time in the NFL. Paraag Marathe, Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke, even Jed York. Is this of concern?
Mike Sando: Yes, it is a primary concern and has been for some time, but not necessarily a fatal flaw. It is important to have the right people. Jim Harbaugh's hiring intrigues me. I do think the organization could have benefited from having an experienced person in that position, but there's enough upside with Harbaugh, I think, to see how things play out.
Thanks for keeping the chat moving. The Cardinals are holding their predraft news conference Thursday. Did you get a chance to watch it? Thoughts? I've got an appointment to keep this afternoon and won't get a chance to break it down until this evening.