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Friday, February 19, 2010
Mailbag: Seahawks' draft options

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Shep Hawk from Roseville, Calif., writes: Mike, I think the Seahawks are going to surprise a lot of people in the draft. Many think they should get a QB, OT and RB in their first three picks. I think that's nice, but that No. 6 pick will have high value. I see them staying true to the board, and I see them getting another 2-3 picks before it's over.

I like Eric Berry falling to them at No. 6. Dan LeFevour or Colt McCoy make sense later at QB. The best medicine in Seattle would be a pass rush that takes the pressure off the secondary, and a playmaker RB to take the pressure off Matt Hasselbeck. They will get their lineman with coach Alex Gibbs. I see a Ted Thompson, Green Bay-like draft -- finally one that will make sense. What does Mike think?

Mike Sando: You're absolutely right about the pass-rush making a secondary look better. Works every time. I could also see the Seahawks moving back to recoup picks, as you suggested. Not having a third-round pick will eat at them. I say there's a good chance Seattle will find a way to gain a pick in that round.

At running back, I thought Seattle would get one in the first three rounds last year. Knowshon Moreno was a consideration in the first round, but like other teams picking among the top 10, there were concerns about taking a running back that early when the player in question did not have excellent speed.

There are a couple wild cards this year. Gibbs and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates were in Denver when the Broncos racked up rushing yards with lower-valued backs in a zone scheme. That comes to mind every time I think about Seattle possibly taking an offensive lineman or running back early. The Seahawks could do it, but if they do not, we shouldn't be surprised.


Javier from Denver writes: For the past couple of seasons everyone has been saying that the Seahawks need to draft a QB early to be the heir to Matt Hasselbeck. What about Seneca Wallace? I know that he is not really a pocket passer and that the Seahawks record with him starting has been poor, but I feel like that isn't really all on him. Hasselbeck's numbers the past couple of seasons I think shows that his injuries aren't the only thing holding the Seahawks back. Doesn't Seneca give the Hawks time to make sure they can get the right QB with all the right tools around him? Ryan, Flacco, Sanchez, Roethlisberger and Rivers all had pretty good teams to support them.

Mike Sando: Wallace has shown he can be a pocket passer, at least in the West Coast offense. His height makes it tough to see over linemen sometimes, but there have been times in the past where I thought he needed to run more. Nothing about how he played in relief last season made me think the Seahawks would be better with him starting, though.


Michael from Salem, Ore., writes: Just wondering what you thought about the Cards going after QB Jason Campbell? I actually still think Matt Leinart should be given a shot without having another potential starting QB looking over his shoulder, but I just think it is an interesting thought. Campbell should be a restricted FA with no CBA and thus it may make no sense for the Cards to use a draft pick on him; but what if the Redskins drafted a new QB and cut Campbell? For the right price, what are your thoughts on the Cards signing him? Campbell appears to have the physical attributes (tall, strong, mobile) to be a good QB. He, like Leinart, hasn't really shown much over his career, but Campbell has never had the Cards' WR talent, either.

Mike Sando: If Campbell were cut, sure, pick him up. Might as well. I would not trade for him, though. The Cardinals need their draft choices to restock. They've done a pretty good job in the draft. It's unclear to me whether Campbell would be a huge upgrade over Leinart, who already knows the system. For that reason, and because we both agree Leinart should get a shot this season, I'm inclined to think they should go with Leinart and see what happens.


Greg from Seattle writes: Hi Mike, I noticed a lot of talk about Donovan McNabb to the Niners in this week's chat. Am I alone in thinking this may not be such a great fit? McNabb is an older player with injury concerns. He is a sub 60 percent in an offense that emphasizes completion percentage. He plays for a talented offensively-minded HC and has never played in another system. The playcalling in Philadelphia tends take a lot of responsibility out of McNabb's hands. While I like many things that McNabb brings to the table, I don't necessarily see him as a tremendous upgrade for the 49ers, especially at the cost of a first round pick. Transitioning into a new, less inspired offense, it would not surprise me at all if he struggled.

Mike Sando: McNabb has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in each of the last three seasons. I have pointed out a few of the potential risks, including the one about how he would have to transition from the only offense he has known, and that could be tough. The bottom line, I think, is that the Eagles aren't going to trade their starting quarterback, most likely.


Edward from Tempe writes: Sando, I have been following the Cards and found it interesting that both Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt are doing "Business As Usual" during this current off-season. Is it just me or do you think that the Cardinals front office need to put more of an emphasis on retaining some of the players that could possibly relocate? I understand how the organization goes through their process of selecting free agents, the draft and retaining core players, but we are talking about the possibility of a few high profile players walking away or being shipped away. How are other high-profile players expected to look at Arizona as a winner when they can't seem to keep good players? How can an organization that has gone through so much futility expect to keep and retain the same winning attitude when players don't feel like they are wanted or needed?

Mike Sando: Let's accurately define what the Cardinals mean when they talk about business as usual. I think they're talking about how to approach this offseason amid some of the labor uncertainty. They are not talking about taking a ho-hum approach to the offseason. Graves and Whisenhunt seem to be on the same page. This offseason presents some significant challenges for the organization.

And while some good players have walked away from the Cardinals in recent seasons, the team has signed Anquan Boldin, Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald, Kurt Warner, Adrian Wilson and others to multiyear deals or extensions in the last several years. Boldin and Dockett want new deals again. Fitzgerald had all the leverage in getting his extension. Warner visited the 49ers before getting his deal. But the bottom line is the same. All those guys were happy with the deals when they signed them, so it's unfair to say the Cardinals do not re-sign good players.


Jason from Rochester, N.Y., writes: Thanks for the great work all year, Mike. Looking forward to your offseason coverage of the West. Loved the idea behind the Trade Column and wanted your take on the potential of Seattle working that deal (Deion Branch and picks to Denver for Brandon Marshall). Certainly, Tim Ruskell was not afraid to make a deal (both good and bad). John Schneider seems to be cut from a different cloth based on his track record. With Paul Allen's checkbook open, is it realistic to think Seattle will actually work a trade? I would love for them to investigate all of the names that have been rumored. But I am intrigued by a couple of names: Brandon Marshall, Antonio Cromartie, Osi Umenuyora. Also, what about Schnieder pulling Aaron Kampman over from GB to play Carroll's "elephant" spot?

Mike Sando: Thanks for the support, Jason. A few factors make me think Seattle is likely to make a trade this offseason. Schneider has described himself as a little more aggressive than his former boss, Ted Thompson (and Thompson made trades). The uncapped year makes trades easier, in theory. The Seahawks will be trying to get younger, so they could be more apt to ship out a veteran or two. I could also see the Seahawks moving back a couple spots in the draft if an opportunity comes along, perhaps recouping a third-round choice.

Kampman will be coming off knee surgery, so I'm not sure that type of move would make sense. The Seahawks might already have the personnel to run that type of defense. Remember, too, that Carroll seems to be flexible. I got the feeling he used an elephant linebacker because he had Brian Cushing, not necessarily the other way around. But we shall see.

The Brandon Marshall trade could come down to what Jeremy Bates and the staff think about Marshall from their time together in Denver.


Chad from Oshkosh, Wis., writes: Sando, thanks for feeding my football fix each day. Any news on the Rams' Oshiomogho Atogwe? Last I heard, he is not being franchised, but will likely be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent. Any chance he isn't in St. Louis next season? Perhaps with my Niners?

Mike Sando: You're welcome. The Rams have an interesting decision to make here, at least in my view. They could actually give Atogwe the lowest tender, worth less than $1.3 million, and then decide later whether to match any offers from other teams. That move might risk goodwill with Atogwe. It might risk a poison-pill scenario. It might end badly for the Rams, who would receive nothing in return if they allowed Atogwe to leave.

The alternative is tendering Atogwe for nearly $7 million, which from a cost standpoint would be pretty much like franchising him, even though it would be within the RFA framework.

Atogwe is a good player but not a franchise player in the way we would view an elite quarterback, running back or defensive end. We've seen teams regularly use the franchise tag for these sorts of players. Karlos Dansby comes to mind. Leroy Hill comes to mind. Even Aubrayo Franklin could be in a similar mold this offseason, although his value as a 3-4 nose tackle is probably higher.

The tag has helped teams keep these players without ever regarding them as true franchise players.

To answer your question, yes, I could see Atogwe winding up elsewhere one way or another, even if the Rams would prefer to keep him. I think they might at least listen to offers.