Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC West [Print without images]

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Mailbag: Never too early for draft talk

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kyle from Austin, Texas, writes: I know it's a long way off and a lot can happen between now and the draft. But, for the sake of argument, if you're Mike Nolan and the rest of the 49ers brass, where do you try go with your number one pick next year? QB? WR?

Mike Sando: I would seek pass-rush help or a dominating nose tackle, with the offensive line as a fallback. First-round quarterbacks and receivers fail at a high rate. Rarely do they produce good things as rookies. Offensive linemen tend to become at least serviceable starters. Ideally, the 49ers would improve their pass rush or find the anchor they need to run the 3-4 and still hold up against the run. Imagine how good Patrick Willis might become with a dominant nose tackle in front of him. Scary.


Jeff from Virginia writes: Mike, call me optimistic, but this whole Seattle 'is in trouble' or 'lost it's identity' is becoming annoying. I looked at the schedule before the injuries and I had the Seahawks at 2-2 after the Giants game (losing to the Bills and Giants). With the injuries they will most likely be 1-3. I think they will beat GB at home due to the Packers' injuries at CB. Everybody wants to hit the panic mode because of the 49ers game. Yes, the defense gave up 33 when they shouldn't have. Just because the Seahawks scored 30 (23 offensively) let's not give those 3 (there were only 3 healthy that game) wide receivers a pass. Both of their turnovers were caused by Billy McMullen. The fumble and that one tipped pass.

If that pass was to Engram, Branch, or Burleson, they would have adjusted to the pass to knock it down. There is a reason he didn't have a job. There were so many drives in that game that stalled due to the wr's not running correct routes, dropping passes, or just playing badly. If Burleson and Engram were playing (as Branch would still be out) Seattle would have beat the 49'ers with a score of like 42-21 or something like that. I believe the wr's will struggle a little bit vs the Giants (well Branch definately will). I think the Seahawks will be back in form for the GB game with the injuries only costing them 1 game. I had them with 11/12 wins, I see them now with 10 maybe 11 wins. I believe you're spending to much time at ESPN and their cynicism of the Seahawks is getting into you! Stop hanging around Keyshawn Johnson (the only person that had the Seahawks losing to the Rams) Ohh on a side note.. Marshall is a terrible defensive play caller and is wasting the talent he has on the field.

Mike Sando: I've spoken to Keyshawn Johnson once in the last year and we didn't talk about the Seahawks, so no need to worry there. I'm just being realistic. The problems at receiver haven't gone away. They might go away, but they haven't yet. If Seattle gets to 11 victories this season after likely being 1-3, Mike Holmgren should be coach of the year. I think it's going to be a tough task.


Blaine from Seattle writes: Hey Mike! Just wanted to say that you do a great job keeping me informed, nowhere else do I get the awesome breakdowns. My question is about the Seahawks RB situation. Julius Jones has really stepped up I believe to prove he is the feature back he proclaimed to be. With Mo Morris coming back and Duckett taking all of the shortyardage/goaline carries, I am a little worried the hawks are going to stick Morris in and not ride this lightning behind Jones. Have you ever before seen a RB (Jones) break so many YAC after spinning? Seems like he is always spinning. Sometimes worry about ball control. Thanks Mike!

Mike Sando: Thanks much, Blaine. The Rams had something to do with Julius Jones' ability to spin away from tacklers. I do think Jones is a more seasoned back than Morris at this point in their careers. He has more playing experience and he has been forced to work on his game while competing for playing time. I think Morris can complement him nicely, but Jones has done enough, in my view, to get the bulk of the carries for now.


K.C. from Wenatchee, Wash., writes: Hey Mike, Yahoo! Sports reported in their Seahawks Team Report that Seattle coaches were at the practice facility to work out Free Agents on Wednesday. Any idea who they were and what positions they might be looking to fill? Offensive Line comes to mind but I'd be interested to see who they would work out there. Thanks, K.C.

Mike Sando: NFL teams routinely bring in free agents for tryouts during the season, often on Tuesdays. Seattle brought in receiver Maurice Price, running back Omar Cuff, running back Keon Lattimore, punter Tom Malone and punter Chris MacDonald, according to my sources. Price subsequently signed with New England. Seattle was probably taking inventory of available talent. They brought in quarterback Alex Brink earlier in the month.