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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Chat wrap: If the Seahawks could re-draft

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The NFC West has not yet been won, but it's trending toward the San Francisco 49ers enough for offseason questions to proliferate during the latest chat.

Niners fans are already asking about which players the team should re-sign, while other teams' fans are looking ahead to the draft. There were quite a few football-related questions, too, including these:
Roland from Winnipeg asks whether the St. Louis Rams' defensive struggles, including against the run, stem from their injuries at cornerback.

Mike Sando: I've been scratching my head on that one. The sketchy play on defense largely predates the cornerback issues. I think Fred Robbins has hit a wall, the outside linebackers have failed to meet expectations, James Hall has been just OK, teams are running away from Chris Long a little bit and the Rams don't have the personnel to contain the perimeter. The corner issues play into that last aspect, but are not enough to explain what is going wrong with the defense overall.

Gavin from Mercer Island, Wash., asks whether the Seattle Seahawks would select Mark Sanchez over Aaron Curry if given a chance to redo the 2009 draft.

Mike Sando: Yeah, no question, but would they be any further along in their development as a team right now? Depends what you think of Sanchez. Is he THE guy or A guy? I'm a little skeptical still. Right now, you can make the case that Seattle is really a quarterback away from really contending. The team does not have many glaring holes elsewhere on the roster. The Seahawks could use maybe another linebacker, a pass-rusher, possibly a corner (depending on health issues). A running back to succeed Marshawn Lynch might help. Overall, though, a lot of the key pieces are there. They haven't found a quarterback to their liking yet. The one they get needs to be better than Sanchez, I think.

Mike from the Philippines asks whether the Arizona Cardinals, if given the chance, would draft quarterback Andrew Luck or a top left tackle such as USC's Matt Kalil.

Mike Sando: How Kevin Kolb plays in the second half of the season will answer that question. If Kolb hasn't shown enough to that point, the Cardinals would have to consider the quarterback more strongly. If Kolb is looking good by then, or if the team has reason to expect great things from him, then see if there's a chance to leverage the choice into additional picks. It's clear the Cardinals have multiple needs -- left tackle and outside linebacker among them.

Bingo Kingo from Dirt Road, Ore., asks which new player has had the biggest impact in taking the San Francisco 49ers' defense to another level.

Mike Sando: It's a good thing for the 49ers that we cannot easily agree on the answer to that. NaVorro Bowman has stood out most unexpectedly, at least from my viewpoint. ... I've been impressed with the team's decision to re-sign Ray McDonald, start him at end, move Isaac Sopoaga to the nose and let Aubrayo Franklin walk. That combination of moves stands out to me as unconventional, but a case of the 49ers knowing better than outsiders knew.

Thanks for keeping the conversation moving. Back in a bit. "You called it" item on the way before the day is through.