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Saturday, February 21, 2009
Mailbag: Seahawks' options beyond Crabtree

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Adam from Sherman Oaks, Calif., writes: Hey Mike, A couple questions rolled together here. With Crabtree now needing surgery and Andre Smith possibly opening up his character issues even further by going AWOL at the combine, what are the chances that the Seahawks pick either player up at #4 at this point in time?

Also, what are the chances they move down in the draft from #4 or look at moving up from their 2nd pick to secure a second player late in the 1st Rd?

Lastly, should Seattle go in the direction of a dominant LT for the future with their top pick, how might Seattle utilize the player in the first year barring a Jones or Locklear injury? Thanks! Adam

Mike Sando: I'm not expecting the Seahawks to target an offensive tackle in that spot. Teams running zone blocking schemes don't always need the elite tackles. The situation with Michael Crabtree is a little harder to predict, but I think the Seahawks would probably lean toward a safer pick if they had any reservations about Crabtree or his health. That would seem to fit Tim Ruskell's approach.

No one would have any insight about draft-day trades at this point. Those come together later in most cases, and lots of deals get discussed without getting executed. Impossible question to answer, in other words.


Hyman from Rochester, N.Y., writes: Mike, great stuff as usual. Now that Seattle has locked up Leroy Hill and have about $20 Million tied up into their LB's for 2009, doesn't it put more focus on getting a DT that can command a double team to free these guys up to make plays?

Mike Sando: Yes, that makes sense to me. It could depend to a degree upon whether the Seahawks think their new defensive coaches can unleash the existing talent. Another variable could be whether the Seahawks think they can get a franchise quarterback in this draft.


Jaysen from Bothell, Wash., writes: hey sando ... so everyone's been talking about seattle taking either crabtree, and OL or a DL with their fourth pick. If crabtree isn't there when it comes time for them to make a pick is there a possibility the seahawks could look at drafting a defensive back? people gotta remember we had one of the worst passing defenses in the league and for the past couple of years have been known for being vulnerable to the big play. what are your thoughts?

Mike Sando: I would think the Seahawks would target the front seven first if they made a selection on defense. That is based on my own perceptions, not what the team might be thinking internally (and their thinking will probably evolve as the new staff meshes). The Seahawks think upgrading their pass rush will solve some of that. They do think their defensive backs failed to make plays despite being in position, so I would not discount a cornerback in that fourth spot -- particularly since corner is an impact position. I just think the front seven could use the most help, all else being equal.


R.J. from San Francisco writes: If Crabtree slides on draft day and is available at number 10, do you think the 49ers would draft him? They have lacked an explosive receiver for sometime and a good WR always opens up the running game which would bode well for Singletary's running scheme.

Mike Sando: Yes, I think the 49ers would consider him there. They need pass-rush help, too, and the draft is supposedly strong in outside linebackers.


Mike from San Diego writes: Hey Mike, the Raiders released Gibril Wilson yesterday. My question is what are the odds the 49ers pursue him since Atogwe got tagged? I know Scot (the GM) said that the starting safety was probably already on the team but Wilson seems like a great fit. He's originally from the area and already lives there.

Mike Sando: My initial thought on Wilson was the Rams. He played for Steve Spagnuolo when both were with the Giants. Dashon Goldson is the early choice at free safety for the 49ers. Wilson played strong safety for the Raiders. The Rams need a strong safety after releasing Corey Chavous. I do not know whether Wilson would fit into the Rams' plans, but I'd think he would fit there better than he might fit with the 49ers, at least on the surface.


Eileen from White Plains writes: Which TE's are genuinely available this off-season? Do you see the Arizona Cardinals picking up a top-notch TE? Can they afford it if they keep Boldin?

Mike Sando: The Cardinals will have the salary cap flexibility to sign a tight end if they can find one they want. Boldin's contract would not affect the team's efforts to sign free agents.

The market for tight ends appears to be a weak one. The Titans used the franchise tag to keep Bo Scaife off the market. The Eagles' L.J. Smith can become a free agent.


Kevin from New Jersey writes: Hey Sando, I need to know what it is that keeps fueling this Michael Vick rumor that apparently the 49ers and Vikings want him. I don't care about the Vikings but I don't want to see Vick on the 49ers. If you read the article on the ESPN NFL page it also says that Scot McCloughan has stated the team "clearly needs an upgrade at the position". I've been keeping myself pretty up to date with the 49ers this offseason and I don't recall our GM stating we need an upgrade at the position. I thought the 49ers also released a statement after their conference with their season ticket holders that they are not pursuing Vick. Any thoughts?

Mike Sando: The 49ers have said they are not interested in Michael Vick. McCloughan might have been talking about upgrading the position in terms of adding another quarterback either through the draft or free agency. He was not indicating an imminent overhaul at the position.


Travis from Boise writes: Sando, do you have any insight on the Niners progress with resigning Spikes? The defense clicked on a different level with him starting and he said he'd like to be back. Any thoughts?

Mike Sando: General manager Scot McCloughan, speaking at the combine Friday, expressed optimism in getting Spikes re-signed.


James from Covington writes: Hi Mike. I read several Seahawks blogs and the constant complaint about Chris Spencer is the issue of line calls. What I don't understand is as a layman, how would I know whether he got the line call correct or not? Usually with game broadcasts, I don't see enough details to know where the play broke down. I have looked at some of the Alex Gibbs zone-blocking concepts and other OL coaching points. I just don't see how to judge where the play fails. Besides getting insider comments from the coaching staff, how would one know that Spencer is weak in this area?

Mike Sando: We generally would not know this without hearing from coaches. You might be able to spot such a problem if you saw on
e of the guards initiating presnap adjustments, or if you saw the center's teammates complaining to him during the game. Otherwise, I think this would be tough to spot without help.


Ryan from New York (by way of the sea) writes: What did you mean by a maturity gap between Crabtree and Sanchez/Stafford? I know he is younger, but after hearing something, I am unsure about Sanchez's maturity. I know little about Crabtree's, other than he is young. Are you saying he was substantially less mature or more mature than the QBs that you referenced?

Mike Sando: I was talking more about social maturity in terms of how the players answered questions, including the sophistication of their humor and their conversational range. The quarterbacks were obviously ahead of Crabtree in those departments, based on what I saw.