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Thursday, April 28, 2011
Chat wrap: 49ers fan fretting Blaine Gabbert

By Mike Sando

The final NFC West chat before the 2011 NFL draft came and went amid a flurry of NFL developments. I'll break out some highlights here and offer additional thoughts afterward.
Keith (Dallas, TX): If the 49ers draft Blaine Gabbert (aka less-intelligent Alex Smith) at #7, should I burn all my SF gear at the end of the first round tonight or wait until the final pick of the draft Saturday?

Mike Sando: You should hope that Jim Harbaugh's feel for quarterbacks and ability to work with them allows Gabbert to become a successful quarterback. And you should feel grateful the team finally appears to have some philosophical stability on the offensive side of the ball. There's no reason to compare Gabbert to Alex Smith, because the 49ers are in a much different situation now.

Jordan (STL): Mike, love the blog. I'm finding too much of the analysis by the 'experts' way too one-dimensional on Rams needs. This is a team that is still rebuilding and is more than a WR away from taking the next step. They need a replacement for Atogwe, a guard to move the chains on short yardage, two LBs and youth and depth on the DL. Personally, I'd like to see them move up to the 8-10 range to go get Robert Quinn, who I think will be a Pro Bowler and team up with Chris Long to make an awesome tandem. But my point is this: isn't Rams nation getting carried away with Julio Jones?

Mike Sando: It's hard to quantify what "Rams Nation" is thinking overall. The need for a receiver is obvious, but not overriding. Your knowledge of the team lets you see some of the other needs clearly. I'd love to know what Steve Spagnuolo thinks of Quinn's game against the run. As a pure pass-rusher, though, Quinn gets high marks. One consideration: Should a team move into the top 10 for a higher-risk player? Quinn missed the 2010 season. He has a benign brain tumor that may or may not become a problem in the future. He does not help the situation at defensive tackle. He does not give Sam Bradford another weapon. These are some of the issues the Rams would have to weigh.

Zona fan (Arizona): Hey how is in more of a need of a QB, the Seahawks or Cards? And who drafts one rather then gets one in FA?

Mike Sando: The Cardinals' need is greater, in my view, because Seattle could still re-sign Matt Hasselbeck and also because Pete Carroll is entering only his second season with Seattle. He has a little time. Ken Whisenhunt has job security and a deal through 2013, but after the whole Matt Leinart-Derek Anderson-rookie quarterback fiasco last season, I think the stakes are higher for Arizona -- particularly with Larry Fitzgerald on the verge of possible free agency. Seattle is more likely to draft one because the Cardinals do not seem to have a later-round need; John Skelton and Max Hall are already developmental prospects.

Derrick (Tacoma): Hey Mike, I've heard a lot about Ryan Mallett and his character issues, problems being a leader/getting along with guys in the locker room, and how his lack of mobility doesn't fit with what the Seahawks want in a QB. I've also been hearing about how amazing his arm is. It sounds like he could fall quite a bit so my question is, how far would he have to fall for the Seahawks to not be able to pass on him despite all the perceived negatives? Mid 2nd round? late 2nd round? Or would it HAVE to be 3rd round?

Mike Sando: First we would need to ask whether Mallett's limitations on the mobility front would disqualify him altogether. I suspect it would have to be late second round or third round, but I question whether they would have interest at all.
Coming soon: I'll be breaking out selections associated with six recently updated mock drafts, while adding my own NFC West projections. I've got the Cardinals taking a cornerback, the 49ers taking a pass-rusher, the Rams taking a defensive lineman and the Seahawks taking an offensive lineman. The goal is to entertain enough scenarios over a long enough period of time to enable linking back to the ones that wound up making sense. There are far too many possible scenarios to predict them with any certainty.