Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando stopping by to talk about the latest NFL happenings.
Sando joined ESPN.com in 2007 after nine seasons covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. He previously covered Washington State University football and basketball for the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Mike grew up in Northern California before attending Whitworth College, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political studies. He lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area with his wife and their two sons.
Send your questions now and join Sando on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Taylor (Salt Lake City)
From what you know, which of the top OTs in the draft is the favorite for Seattle? I know most people have Okung rated highest, but I have heard that Seattle management is very high on Bulaga.
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
Trent Williams is the name I've heard strongest lately. I'm not sure how the top ones will shake out. Seems like the Redskins will take one. I think KC goes defense. I was looking at the picks Scott Pioli's teams have made since he entered the NFL and noticed this: His teams have taken nine players in the top 13 overall picks and seven were defensive players, including five from the SEC. Four were defensive linemen and three of those were from the SEC. I think they go with Eric Berry if available. Then Seattle could probably get the second tackle. I'm thinking it would be Williams or Okung. It's a guessing game with the tackles that early, to an extent.
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
By the way, I updated a couple figures in the Pioli item, so you might want to refresh if you are following live. I had to pull up my draft spreadsheet to double-check the information.
Taylor (Salt Lake City)
Big Seahawks fan here, Mike. Love the blog and appreciate the updates. Question: What is the best case scenario for the Seahawks in round one? Gerald McCoy and CJ Spiller? Russell Okung and Derrick Morgan? What combination would have the Seattle front office doing cartwheels? Thanks!
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
I think the best-case scenario -- among at least somewhat realistic scenarios -- would be for Seattle to get the first or second offensive tackle at No. 6, then come back and get the best 4-3 pass-rushing defensive end, which could be Derrick Morgan if you believe the scouting reports.
Where do you think the 49ers will go in the draft... I know they should draft Trent Williams with their first pick, but who could they pick with their second one? Could they even draft down like in the mid-20's?
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
The projections on Trent Williams have been changing lately. I spoke with one general manager who told me he thought Williams could go in the top five, even to Washington at No. 4, depending perhaps on what happens with Russell Okung. The 49ers would probably be thrilled and lucky to get Williams at No. 13. I don't think they should trade back. They should go for quality.
James (Santa Clara, Ca)
Is Shawntae Spencer the best corner back in the NFC west right now? he had a heck of a year last year and he didn't give up many big plays.
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would get my vote as the most talented and, at his best, the best in the division. He can solidify that distinction by playing more consistently. I do think Spencer had a good year, though. I'd put him among the top two in the division based on how the corners played last season.
Davis (Bellevue, WA)
Mike, how much does Matthew have left in the tank and when will Whitehurst take over? Let's call him a 27 year old rookie. That being said, do you see him as the face of the Seahawks for somewhere up to 9 years?
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
My perception is that quarterbacks do not get hit as much in Jeremy Bates' offensive system because they play off the running game and move the quarterback by design. I think that gives Matt Hasselbeck a chance to resurrect his career and play a few more seasons. Note I said it gives him "a chance" without assuring anything. I think Seattle fans should be cautiously optimistic about what the new scheme could mean for Hasselbeck.
Hey Mike! Does it make any sense for the 49ers to stand pat with 13 and 17? They're so close together that it seems like it would be more valuable to trade back and get an extra pick. So, we still have 2 1st Rounders but we also get a pick later in the draft. And in addition, if Spiller and Mathews are still around, there have to be some teams that will be eager to trade up.
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
On the other hand, teams drafting among the top 20 overall choices have selected 29 players with at least three Pro Bowls on their NFL resumes. Teams drafting after the 20th overall choice have found 19 such players. The 49ers might have a better chance getting an elite player staying where they're already picking.
Seattle lacks safeties do you see Seattle drafting Berry at 6 ( if available) or Earl Thomas or Mays at 14? Are there any corners in the draft that would be available in the mid rounds?
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
It's tough to take a safety sixth overall when your needs include so many positions of greater importance. I could see Eric Berry being the choice at No.6 if the Seahawks could not justify the value of the tackles available then. An early run on tackles could make Berry the logical choice. It's not a scenario the Seahawks are hoping for, most likely, but they could feel good taking such a talented player.
I would love to see Dez Bryant as a Niner. He has some problems, but you can't hind the fact the man has some potential. Coach Singletary was at his private workout. Do you think we should snatch him if available with the 13th pick? Bryant, Crabtree, Davis, Morgan, Gore, seems scary to me.
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
That might be a better consideration later in the round, based on the concerns you mentioned and the 49ers' other needs.
Do you think there is any chance the 49ers go for a QB with their second pick or even, say, Tebow in the second round?
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
I would not be shocked if the 49ers drafted Colt McCoy with the 17th overall choice.
Bill Davis' comments a few days ago really frustrated me. I don't care about smokescreens or the fact that maybe he gave valuable insight into a very secretive process, but what I do care about is the Cards essentially once again admitted to drafting on need and not BPA. Sometimes this has worked out well for them (Beanie Wells, DRC recently) and sometimes it has failed (Levi Brown over Adrian Peterson, etc., Antrel Rolle to an extent). The best player they have ever drafted, Larry Fitzgerald, was the BPA and a position in which they really didn't need to upgrade. Ideally, BPA will meet need (and if it's close enough you go with need) but to reach for an ILB in the first few rounds when there really isn't a tremendous amount of talent there to me is ridiculous.
Mike Sando (1:26 PM)
You've got a good feel for how teams should prioritize things. It's easier to be a little more need-conscious later in the first round because you figure the talent gaps get smaller as the elite prospects come off the board. I thought the values matched with needs when Arizona selected Beanie Wells and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Cardinals do not deserve criticism for those picks. The 2007 year stands out as the year when Arizona's focus on needs backfired. The Cardinals took Levi Brown over Adrian Peterson because they needed a tackle and had recently invested heavily in Edgerrin James. They traded up in the second round to take Alan Branch because they needed a nose tackle. Those examples deserve some scrutiny. I think the Cardinals have done a better job recently. Also, it's unfair to criticize them for a move they have not yet made. If they reach for an inside linebacker, then we can revisit this subject.
One mock draft had the Cardinals taking Jimmy Clausen. With their needs, would they take him over a linebacker or defensive lineman?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
That would have to depend on the value of the linebacker or defensive lineman. I could see Arizona taking a quarterback in that spot if the value were there. It seems a little unlikely, though.
Tom (Orange County, CA)
With so many holes to fill, hard to image the Rams will find an impact LB in the draft. Diggs looks to be a strong side guy, wouldn't Will Witherspoon be better than anyone else on the roster, even if he is declining a bit? Two veterans bookending James Laurinaitis in the middle, re-sign Leonard Little as a pass-rushing end to platoon with James Hall and focus on offense in the draft (assuming of course they can't trade for Glenn Dorsey!). Thanks
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
I never really understood why Will Witherspoon didn't work out in St. Louis, other than the thinking that Steve Spagnuolo wanted a bigger player in that position. Witherspoon looked like the best linebacker in camp when I visited the Rams last summer.
Chris (San Francisco, CA)
Mike if Clausen falls to 17, should the 49ers take him? Some scouts say he is better than Braford. What do you think?
Mike Sando (1:30 PM)
I would have no problem with the 49ers drafting a quarterback early this year. If Alex Smith enjoyed a breakout year, big deal. Then the 49ers would have two assets at an important position.
If Berry falls to Seattle is there any chance they pass on him?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Yes, I think they might be inclined to take one of the offensive tackles instead.
I have heard that the Cardinals have some interest in Marc Bulger. Why would they look at him after the signing of Derek Anderson?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
Doesn't make much sense. They did have interest in Marc Bulger, but they felt like they could not wait for him to be released. They needed to be proactive in lining up a veteran backup quarterback. It's tough to see where Bulger would fit if the team signed him right now.
If indeed, the rams choose Sam Bradford, what is the possiblity that they choose a WR in the second round like Arrelious Benn?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
That sounds reasonable. Any quarterback needs weapons. The Rams need more weapons.
Should the Rams gamble and take Ndamukong Suh with the first pick and try and get Colt McCoy in the second round?
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Not sure they could stomach the suspense. Failing to get a quarterback in the first two rounds would be devastating from a PR standpoint and arguably from a football standpoint. I just don't think the Rams would feel comfortable rolling the dice that way. They would probably have to trade up from 33 to get Colt McCoy anyway.
Carlos (Los Angeles,CA)
Mike, has San Fran interviewed or mentioned anything about a future GM or would Baalke be a quality GM? Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:36 PM)
No, the 49ers appear focused on the draft right now. Trent Baalke would be a candidate to lead the personnel department in the future even if they didn't name him the general manager. I don't see how they could bring in a strong GM from the outside given their commitment to Mike Singletary and Alex Smith for 2010.
Should the rams have made a stronger play for Willie Parker?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
Parker's injury history and age make me think the Rams should aim higher and try to get a young player to fit their system.
Carlos (Los Angeles,CA)
Mike, if all the tackles are taken by the 13th pick, do you think San Fran will reach for a tackle or take BPA?
Mike Sando (1:40 PM)
I think they'll probably go best available. That is the way they've gone recently and I'm sure Trent Baalke wants to keep that going. The question is really whether Mike Singletary or anyone else will have more influence on draft day based on Scot McCloughan's departure. Baalke needs to stand strong and make sure they stick with the board.
Luke D (Boston, MA)
Are the Haynesworth trade rumors just pre-draft nonsensical chatter? He was just paid out 21M, so why would the 'Skins trade him to St. Louis for Adam Carriker? Will Carriker ultimately end up in Washington?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
Rams general manager Billy Devaney has been quick to snuff out some rumors, but he has never really denied the Adam Carriker-to-Washington option. I suspect any trade for Albert Haynesworth would probably include a negotiation between the teams so that the new team paid some of that $21 million. I get the feeling Carriker could be moved, but probably not as part of a deal involving Haynesworth -- unless the Redskins were willing to eat all or most of that $21 million. That is my feel based on logic. It's not a situation I've researched.
Dilfer says "McCoy's competitiveness, leadership and athletic ability to extend plays will set him apart over time, Dilfer predicted". Does that mean Dilfer has hung around with Clausen and Bradford and knows how competitive each is or what leadership skills they have? Dilfer may be right in the end, but he seems to be making stuff up to fit his conclusions. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
I've known Trent Dilfer for nearly a decade and have picked his brain on these things over the years. One thing about him: He does his homework. He has studied the players. Like anyone, he has to try to set aside whatever personal feelings he might have. In this case, the rest of us can judge to what degree Dilfer's relationship with Colt McCoy -- they share an agent and have worked out together -- might be influencing his analysis. I don't think those things would dramatically affect what Dilfer saw in evaluating the players. He watched every snap multiple times. He knows the position well. The part you singled out -- the competitiveness, leadership and athletic ability -- might indeed be stronger in Dilfer's mind based on his relationship with McCoy. But there were enough other things to support his basic conclusion.
Michael (Los Angeles)
What are your thoughts regarding Dilfer's comments on Bradford? Do you think picking a QB first overall that doesn't pan out detrimental to a franchise? If this is true, shouldn't the Rams pick Suh first overall instead?
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
The Rams are in a little bit of a tough spot here. If they do not take a quarterback because they're afraid to make a mistake, they'll get hammered by critics and the general public for being too timid. I think taking a quarterback early buys time for the current leadership while at least giving the team a chance at having a franchise quarterback.
Mike, what does your gut tell you about what the 49ers will do at 13 and 17?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
My gut says they might be able to get the top cornerback or a top outside linebacker at No. 13 after tackles come off the board early.
Do you think that the Cardinals' impending change in offensive strategy (with Warner and Boldin leaving) will shape their strategy on defense? I feel like if you're playing a more traditional offense, you have to play a more traditional defense. Without the high flying aerial attack, there's far less room for error on the defensive side of the ball.
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
The Cardinals have been making that transition for some time, not necessarily for the reasons you mentioned. They were an unconventional, hybrid, risk-taking defense several years ago. Ken Whisenhunt wanted a more traditional 3-4 defense that took fewer risks and allowed fewer big plays. That remains a priority this offseason.
Andrew (Maple grove Mn)
Is there any news on a Franklin extension? Or are they content to let him prove he can play great for more than one year?
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
I think they want to make him prove it in 2010.
Todd (Santa Cruz, CA)
Does Crabtree have a break out year? He looks great. The only thing that concerns me is I don't see any seperation speed.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Michael Crabtree should catch 4-5 passes per game over 16 games. He was very consistent last year, but did not have a breakout game.
Mel Thompson (Lynden, Wa.)
Is Marshall going to be wearing a Seahawk uniform or is this all pre-draft excitement and conversation to keep us fans hopeful?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
It's a waiting game. I think the Broncos will probably trade him and Seattle still looks like the most probably destination.
Mike Sando (2:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. See you around.