Thursday, April 19, 2012
Chat wrap: No shortage of pre-draft smoke
By Mike Sando
The NFL draft information and misinformation is flowing freely this week as teams make available their coaches and general managers.
San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke said Wednesday his team had one player in mind for the 30th overall choice, among others the team could consider.
Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, speaking Thursday, said it's tough to know which player his team will select at No. 13.
Both were telling the truth, unless they were bluffing.
I drove over to Seattle Seahawks headquarters Thursday for a pre-draft media session with GM John Schneider. He was vague on strategy, but did say the team has much greater flexibility than it had two years ago, when finding a starting left tackle was an overriding priority. And he said the draft has "a number of attractive linebackers for us" -- one reason the team felt re-signing David Hawthorne wasn't a necessity.
Our latest NFC West chat hopefully provided relief from the pre-draft smoke. A few highlights:
Dre from San Francisco asked which round the 49ers might draft a running back.
Mike Sando: Probably middle rounds or later. The short-term need isn't great, particularly with Brandon Jacobs joining the mix. But life after Frank Gore has to be a consideration. The 49ers have drafted seven running backs since general manager Trent Baalke joined the team. Two in the third, two in the fourth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh. When Baalke was with Washington, the Redskins took backs in the first and seventh rounds. When he was with the Jets, they took one in the sixth. The 49ers have taken them in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds over the past couple years. Teams do not take many of them early. I'd be surprised if the 49ers broke from that.
Rahim from Hackensack, N.J., thinks the Cardinals should get a "decent No. 2 receiver" for quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. He asks why teams expect their quarterbacks to succeed with limited talent. He put the word "limited" in caps and asked why Arizona hasn't addressed "the receiver problem" in free agency.
Mike Sando: The receiver problem? For a team with Larry Fitzgerald? I saw a quarterback problem last year and think Andre Roberts would put up decent numbers with a better QB. Sure, the Cardinals could use another wideout, but I don't see that as their primary problem. They need an offensive tackle more than they need another receiver. Remember, they loaded up at tight end last offseason, too -- all to help the quarterback.
Mickey from St. Louis asks if the St. Louis Rams should feel "the league has it in for them" regarding strength of schedule.
Mike Sando: There is something to your point at the end. The other NFC West teams get to play the Rams. The Rams do not. That hurts the Rams' strength of schedule. As for the league having it in for the Rams, it's hard to say that. One, the opponents are determined by a formula that applies to every team in the NFL. Two, the schedule looks better for the Rams early in this season.
Chris from Rochester, N.Y., asks if I'm buying the "hype" that suggests Seattle has interest in Ryan Tannehill at No. 12.
Mike Sando: I'd add context to the interest by saying most of these scenarios go like this: If Ryan Tannehill were there at No. 12, the Seahawks would take him. That is different from saying they are going into the draft targeting him. Yes, I think they would consider Tannehill at No. 12, but they might also be willing to trade out of there in that case. I don't see it as a quest to get Tannehill.
On that last question, Schneider said Thursday there's no way Tannehill will be available at No. 12, making the subject pointless. His team might want Tannehill. His team also might not have that much interest in taking a quarterback in the first round this year, in which case having Tannehill go earlier would help Seattle by giving the team one additional non-quarterback to consider with the 12th pick.