Meetings mailbag: Curry and the Rams

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Scott from New York writes via Facebook: Two Questions, 1) Most fans on the PD's Bulletin Board are confident the Rams will draft [Aaron] Curry unless Detroit does, what do you think? 2) Any chance Rams leave meetings with a WR, maybe [Marvin] Harrison?

Mike Sando: The buzz on Curry has been substantial, but I've heard differing views. A general manager I spoke with about a range of issues here at the NFL owners' meetings said he wouldn't feel comfortable drafting Curry among the top five picks. He said he would feel more comfortable drafting Curry between the eighth and 12th picks.

That surprised me because Curry projects as one of the safest picks in the draft by most accounts. The GM's thinking reflects the lack of consensus at the top of the draft. Teams aren't excited enough about any of the prospects to feel great about selecting them among the top five or so choices.

As for Marvin Harrison, I would see no reason for the Rams to release Torry Holt and then add another receiver who might be closer to the Hall of Fame than his prime. Harrison would come cheaper at this point, presumably, but I think this is the time for the Rams to breathe some life -- and by that I mean youth -- into their roster.

The team has already made great strides in that area. The Rams have gone from one of the five oldest teams in the league to one of the five youngest, all in a matter of weeks.

Sam from London, Ontario writes: I have a few questions about Seattle.
  • 1. Why would they try to make Cory Redding into a defensive end when he's needed more at defensive tackle? Patrick Kerney, Lawrence Jackson, Darryl Tapp and Baraka Atkins seems like a solid rotation. It would make more sense to start him alongside Brandon Mebane. I don't have confidence in Colin Cole yet, while I like Jackson and Tapp I think they can really break out.

  • 2. What's all this about drafting an offensive playmaker? They're stacked at wide receiver with T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, and Nate Burleson so why throw Michael Crabtree into the mix when there are far greater needs? Walter Jones and Matt Hasselbeck are in their mid-thirties and dealing with injuries and with the foolish decision to trade Julian Peterson, I think they have to consider, in order, Aaron Curry, Jason Smith, Matthew Stafford and Eugene Monroe. Since Monroe and Crabtree will likely be available, why not take Monroe [not an 'offensive playmaker']?

  • 3. I like Connor Barwin and Michael Hamlin in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Seattle's shown interest in both, I've heard. Monroe, Barwin, Hamlin. If they're available, three needs are met with first three picks. What is your take?

Mike Sando: Great questions. The Seahawks thought Redding was at his best playing defensive end for the Lions at a lighter weight. He would then move inside on passing downs, at which point his quickness allowed him to become an effective rusher. Seattle sees Redding as a player with the versatility to help at more than one position. But at the lighter weight, they think he can be more effective rushing the passer.

The 'offensive playermaker' talk stems from the thought that the fourth overall choice in the draft needs to help your team right away, unless he is a quarterback. And I think that could become an interesting decision for the Seahawks. If they aren't completely sold on the prospects at the top of the draft, they might ask themselves which player stands to have the greatest impact over the long term if he pans out. The quarterback would be that player.

If you take a tackle at No. 4 and then he sits behind Walter Jones and Sean Locklear for two seasons, is that the best use of the pick? I think that's a fair question. At the same time, can the Seahawks really count on Jones to hold up for two more seasons? There is risk either way.

On your third question, I do think the Seahawks will look for a young safety in this draft. They feel better about their safeties -- Brian Russell in particular -- than the fans who almost invariably criticize Russell in particular. They think their diminished pass rush exposed the secondary. For that reason, Seattle was not aggressive in the safety market during free agency, taking a look at Jermaine Phillips almost in passing.

Jay from Gainesville, Fla., writes: Does the Niners' recent interest in possibly finding a tackle in free agency tip their hand to their plans for the 10th pick in the draft? If so, does it mean they're thinking quarterback, pass rusher, or trying to trade for a certain disgruntled quarterback?

Mike Sando: I wouldn't necessarily make those connections. The 49ers were even more proactive than previously thought in their attempts to upgrade at tackle. They made plays for Stacy Andrews and Ray Willis, according to league sources here at the NFL owners' meeting. In the end, Andrews wanted to play with his brother, Shawn, in Philadelphia. And Willis apparently wanted to stay in Seattle if he wasn't going to command a lucrative long-term deal elsewhere.

The 49ers were willing to go only so far in pursuing those players. If they sign Marvel Smith, I would expect the contract to protect them from Smith's injury history. It would be a short-term deal without a great deal of guaranteed money.

The 49ers appear eager to upgrade at tackle, but they do not appear desperate. They could probably live with having Adam Snyder start in an offense better suited to his talents. I think the 49ers will strongly consider a tackle in that 10th spot. If they can find a player good enough to start over Joe Staley
at left tackle, they could move Staley to the right side and emerge with bookend tackles for the long term.

Brent from Missouri writes: Mike, I'm not a huge football officiado, and probably don't understand all the details that go into these decisions, but if Edgerrin James "has value" because of his ablility to catch the ball, why don't the Cardinals keep him?

Say he's a good back, not a superstar. Is there enough talent to upgrade the offensive line and tight end to complement James, and give Warner one additional option? Is $5 million just too much for a "good" back or what?

Mike Sando: The relationship has been damaged, so we start there. It's not a great situation. The team wants a younger, more dynamic alternative to build around. And then, yes, the $5 million price tag is probably too much for a situational player.