Chat wrap: Smith, Leinart and the draft

INDIANAPOLIS -- Thanks to those who kept the latest NFC West chat moving. Transcript here. Highlights below:

Hayden (Logan, Utah): Let's talk about the Niners QB situation. Alex Smith? Really? Think a draftee can come in and give us a Sanchez-esqu performance? Who?

Mike Sando: Why would the 49ers want their quarterback to finish the season with 12 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions, a la Mark Sanchez? Seriously, though, I think the 49ers are excited to have their quarterback play in the same offense in back-to-back seasons. For that reason, I don't think the 49ers will shake up that position in 2010 unless they can land an obviously better option.

Matt (Tacoma, Wash.): Obviously there is a TON of mis-information coming out now, but what do you think of Spiller and Mays [to the Seahawks] in round one? Do teams care where a kid is from? I would think so, with Mays being from Seattle and seeing what the Mariners have gone through, being lambasted at every turn, for not drafting Tiny Tim Lincecum. We do need a safety.

Mike Sando: The scenario you laid out -- C.J. Spiller and Taylor Mays to the Seahawks -- doesn't add up for me. Seattle needs to strengthen its lines on both sides of the ball. Quarterback is another need position. I'm just not sure whether the Seahawks could justify taking a situational running back/return specialist and a safety with its first-round choices, unless those players were easily the best ones on the board.

Jerry (Folsom, Calif.): Hey Mike, love the blog, love your email responses, love your attitude. I'll be sad when you get promoted. Anyway, Rams. First pick Suh. Second round ... my thought is the QB out of Central Michigan (Dan LeFevour?). Pretty good risk/reward potential in the 2nd round, small school means he didn't have as much talent around him so his own talent is more visible. Other thoughts obviously include taking a flyer on a TE, one of the big WR's (the USC kid maybe?) or just focusing on that D line. Any thoughts personally or any indications from the Rams? Thanks

Mike Sando: Thanks, Jerry. I grew up down there in the Sacramento area and still go out to Folsom Lake every now and then when I visit. I'm sure a lot of people are grateful to know that. On the football front, I think the Rams either need to draft a franchise quarterback early or use their early picks for players who will get on the field right away and preferably find the end zone. This is considered a strong draft for receivers. The Rams should be able to find one in the third round or thereabouts unless someone with great ability is available earlier. Tight end is a need position, but not a premium position. Drafting one anywhere in the first few rounds would probably be a luxury the Rams shouldn't afford.

Lincoln (Missouri): Do you think the Cardinals truly believe that Leinart is their next starting quarterback to lead them to the playoffs or are they just buying time until they draft that next great quarterback?

Mike Sando: Matt Leinart represents their best option, so they'll go with him and hope he develops. I don't think Leinart has convinced anyone, including the Cardinals, that he is going to lead them to the playoffs. But that is OK. He'll get a chance to prove it this season. And if he does not, the Cardinals can move on. I think they need to give him a chance over a full season.

Looks like I forgot to answer Matt's question about whether a player's hometown might affect his appeal for an NFL team. That is probably not a significant factor in most cases. It could be a plus or a bonus, but not part of the decision-making process unless, perhaps, a team had two elite quarterbacks ranked the same otherwise.