Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Thanks to those who dropped by the NFC West chat Thursday. Full transcript here. Highlights below:
Chuck (SF): I know its easier said than done, but how can the 49ers go into next season with Shaun Hill or Alex Smith at QB? With Crabtree, Morgan, Bruce, Gore, Vernon Davis, a decent O-line, and promising defense, dont you absolutely have to make a play at QB?
Mike Sando: On paper, yes, but the 49ers haven't seemed too concerned. They like Shaun Hill. They couldn't really name Hill their starter because they needed to promise Alex Smith a chance to compete for the job in exchange for reducing his contract. And of course they are still holding out hope that Smith will develop. The 49ers weren't going to make a move at QB unless they were convinced they would be upgrading the position. They didn't think Jeff Garcia would be better than Hill. A lot of us might disagree, but Hill was 7-3 as a starter last season. He was effective on third down. There's a feeling he'll be competent, if not excellent.
Paul (Albany, OR): Why did the Rams go for an Ohio State linebacker in the draft. It is not like they have proven themselves in the NFL since who, Spielman. I cannot figure that front office out. Are they headed in the right direction?
Mike Sando: OK, you got me on this one. I just dialed up the most recent Ohio State linebackers in the draft: James Laurinitis and Marcus Freeman this year, Larry Grant in 2008, A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel in 2006, Robert Reynolds in 2004, Cie Grant and Matt Wilhelm in 2003, Courtland Bullard in 2002, Na'il Diggs in 2000, Andy Katzenmoyer in 1999, Mike Vrabel in 1997 -- hey, we found a terrific one. Looks like you have made a decent point, sir.
cgolden: (Fort Worth, TX): With the trade of Julian Peterson and basically a release of LeRoy Hill, is the addition of Curry really an improvement for just a lateral move, at best?
Mike Sando: That depends some on whether Curry is a much more dynamic player in terms of his ability to grasp concepts and help Seattle implement a more sophisticated defense. Lofa Tatupu is one of those coach-on-the-field guys. Curry strikes me similarly. Hill and Peterson never struck me that way. Let's see what the Seahawks' new staff does with Curry and the defense as a whole.
James (Indy): Have to remember that the Draft is just a bunch of projecting. Until we see results on the field, it's kind of a fruitless exercise to declare "winners" or hand out "grades."
Mike Sando: I tend to ask whether a draft fell the way teams wanted it to fall. The Cardinals wanted a running back and got one. Last year, they wanted a cornerback and got one. Things fell their way and they got highly-rated players. Teams can still enjoy strong drafts even when the draft doesn't fall their way. The 49ers wanted pass-rush help and OL help, but got neither. They still might come out with a great draft given Crabtree's obvious value.
The more I think about the 49ers' draft, the more I wonder if they have helped themselves the most among NFC West teams, at least in the short term. More on that in a bit.