The 2011 NFL draft was good for the most recent NFC West chat. Fresh ground to cultivate. I'll dive right in with some highlights:
Jeff (Seattle): When I look at the '11 QB draft class, because of the need and the labor situation, I think of parents rushing out to buy Beanie Babies or Tickle Me Elmo when they were the must have Christmas toy. It seems like next year's QB class can provide better value with a new labor agreement for all these teams who have filled the need, and it is arguably a better class, unquestionably at the top with Andrew Luck.
Mike Sando: I'm in no position to evaluate the quarterbacks selected based on their bodies of work in college. I did not scout them. However, based on ratings assigned to these players ahead of time, I think there's some merit to the idea that teams reached some. The Christian Ponder selection at No. 12 stands out. That is why I thought Seattle was generally OK not taking a QB at No. 25 under the circumstances.
Andrew (Minnesota): Watching the 49ers' draft, I got confused. Robert Quinn was supposed to be the superior choice over Aldon Smith. And I am still confused why Smith was chosen seventh overall. I get that he has "potential" and is athletic. But I live in a state where our NBA team has tons of "potential" and it results in the worst record in the NBA. Please make me feel better for them taking Smith over Quinn.
Mike Sando: Not sure I can help on this one. It is possible Quinn projects as more of a 4-3 defensive end. Also, Quinn carried risks (brain tumor, sitting out the 2010 season under suspension). The 49ers thought they were making a safer choice at No. 7. The Rams felt more comfortable with the risk on Quinn picking seven spots later. The Rams were probably in better position here.
Ken (Anaheim): There seem to be a lot of questions about the Rams' draft and the fact the they did not fill some perceived areas of need (guard, No. 1 receiver, backup running back). The tight end they took remains a hot topic around the Rams' board. I think they did well to help Sam Bradford reach the next level. I just hope they can sign some players in free agency. How do you feel they did? Did they blow some chances to help themselves in the draft?
Mike Sando: The Rams were in position at No. 14 to wait for one of the top talents to fall for one reason or another. It happened with Quinn, presumably based on medical concerns. I applaud the Rams for staying patient and getting value in that spot. There was no sense charging up the board for one of the wide receivers, and that wasn't happening, anyway, given how much Atlanta paid to move up for Julio Jones. The Rams view Lance Kendricks as a very good receiver. He plays tight end, but he's going to be featured as a target for Bradford. You just have to trust Josh McDaniels on that one. This was a pick he influenced. The receivers they drafted add depth and competition without transforming the position. Perhaps they plug in John Greco at right guard. They need to use free agency for other needs, including linebacker. I expect they'll do that. They had some success getting Na'il Diggs previously. He was better than expected, but injury clouds his future.
Derrik (AZ): If I were the Cardinals' general manager, I'd trade a 2012 first-round pick along with Beanie Wells for Kevin Kolb. If Philly wanted Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie instead of Wells, then I might call Denver to see if Orton could be had for a second-round pick.
Mike Sando: I'd much rather give up a 2012 second-rounder for Orton than a 2012 first and Beanie Wells for Kevin Kolb. Is Kolb even better than Orton?
The chart shows 2010 stats for Kolb and Orton. Note: I typed Andy Dalton instead of Christian Ponder during the chat. Fixed!