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Sunday, April 18, 2010
Mailbag: Cardinals need a tight end?

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mike from Phoenix writes: Being how Ken Whisenhunt was a tight end, do you see him taking advantage of someone at that position falling to him in the second or third round? Maybe even Jermaine Gresham in the first? I don't think he would take one with injury concerns in the first, but I wonder when coach 'Wiz' will add a reliable tight end threat. I do wish we grabbed Benjamin Watson from New England. Also, do you think there is a chance that Bruce Campbell would fall to the 26th spot? I'd love to see him go to the Cards, but I don't think such a player would fall that far.

Mike Sando: I could see Bruce Campbell being there, sure. I also think tackle is more of a need than the Cardinals seem to be acknowledging, at least publicly. They have a lot of confidence in line coach Russ Grimm, and rightfully so, but a tackle more skilled in pass protection would help them, I think. Kurt Warner could beat pressure with quick throws. He also proved he could take punishment and keep coming back. Matt Leinart still has to prove he can do those things.

The Cardinals also seem to be OK with the situation at tight end. Ben Patrick gives them a decent starter. Anthony Becht has done pretty well -- better than expected, probably -- as a second tight end for blocking purposes. The defensive front seven is where I expect Arizona to invest the most draft capital this year unless a highly talented player at another position falls to them unexpectedly. I can't argue with that strategy.


Alex from Seattle writes: With the addition of Mike Williams and Reggie Williams, and after hearing what coach Pete Carroll said, do you think the Seahawks will still look at adding another big-name receiver? The Hawks will have some very big guys measuring 6-foot-5 (Mike Williams), 6-4 (Reggie Williams) and 6-2 (T.J. Houshmandzadeh). What about adding a deep threat with insane speed? Deion Branch just isnt cutting it.

Mike Sando: Yes, a speed threat would help. Finding one early in the draft might be a bit of a luxury for this team unless things fall just right.

While the current Seattle staff likes bigger receivers, Carroll has expressed happiness with Deion Branch to this point. Branch had a very strong minicamp. He appears to be responding well to receivers coach Kippy Brown and the new staff. Branch doesn't fit the Carroll mold physically, but the staff appears flexible enough to embrace what he offers (when healthy, of course). I was skeptical about Carroll's praise for Branch until this minicamp. It appears to be real.

Mike Williams outperformed Reggie Williams during the three-day minicamp. It's largely about conditioning for Mike Williams. I think he showed he has a chance to make a run at a roster spot and become a contributor. He just has to stay on track. The talent is still there. He's a young player. He just hasn't put it together and there are real questions about whether he can show consistency of effort and performance. He has a long road ahead.

I wonder about Deon Butler's future with the team. Not sure how he fits yet. It's too early to say, but his slight frame, average height and inexperience raise questions. Branch might not fit the mold, but he's a finished product and proven productive receiver when healthy. Butler is not those things.

The Seahawks could certainly add an impact receiver in the draft. Their needs are varied enough to justify heading in multiple directions, though, so I can't say they'll definitely target the position early. They could need two starting offensive linemen, one starting safety, a starting defensive end and a starting running back, plus a receiver. Good luck finding all those things in one draft. They can always sign a veteran guard such as Ben Hamilton to address one of the openings on the line.


Bob from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico writes: How can you suggest that Marshawn Lynch is a higher risk than Brandon Marshall? Lynch has been convicted of one misdemeanor, for an unloaded gun in the back of his vehicle, and was sentenced to community service. Other than that, he had a minor traffic accident, when two drunk women staggered into the road at night and Lynch, who had not been drinking, avoided the first, but did not see the second. It is likely that he did not even realize the woman had bumped his vehicle and then he followed his lawyer's advice and received essentially a traffic ticket.

That is it, unless you count the claim by a policeman's wife that Lynch tried to steal $20 from her. I have seen reports suggesting that her phone number was on the $20. So we have one misdemeanor and one traffic ticket. Compare that to Marshall. As Tim Graham recently reported, he was charged with assaulting an off duty officer and DUI. He was involved in seven cases of alleged domestic violence. He was involved in the altercation that led to the shooting death of Darrent Williams. Compared to Marshall, Lynch is a saint.

Mike Sando: Rap sheets aren't the only factors when considering risk. I thought the Seahawks' familiarity with Brandon Marshall gave them an advantage that the Dolphins will not enjoy. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch were with Marshall in Denver. They knew him. That made Marshall a lower-risk acquisition than Lynch specifically for Seattle, in my view.


Evan from Seattle writes: Is there any chance now that Donovan McNabb is in Washington that the 49ers trade for Jason Campbell? He would fit the 49ers' run-oriented offense because he has the big arm to throw the deep pass off of play action.

Mike Sando: Cannot see it happening. Can we say for sure that Campbell would mark a significant upgrade over what the 49ers already have at the position? Continuity has been a big thing for the 49ers. They want to finally have continuity on offense. That means they wouldn't change quarterbacks without making an obvious, significant upgrade, in my view.


Chris from Smithville, Mo., writes: Just a curious fan here, but if I were the Rams, I would switch first-round picks with Washington for Jason Campbell. Why not? I would end up with a proven NFL QB and I could use the other pick and get an outstanding offensive lineman or a big defense threat. What does everybody think?

Mike Sando: The Redskins lack the draft capital to seriously consider that type of move, even if the Rams overvalued Campbell as part of a deal. That is my opinion, anyway. Campbell would fit in terms of having experience in a West Coast offense. But the Rams are seeking leadership from that position and Campbell is not known for being strong in that area. I also think the Rams are pretty good on the offensive line, particularly relative to the rest of their roster. They have bigger needs elsewhere.