Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando stopping by to talk about the latest NFL happenings.
Sando joined ESPN.com in 2007 after nine seasons covering the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. He previously covered Washington State University football and basketball for the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review. Mike grew up in Northern California before attending Whitworth College, graduating in 1992 with a B.A. in political studies. He lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area with his wife and their two sons.
Send your questions now and join Sando on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
Greetings. Let's get this thing rolling.
Caleb (Couer D'Alene)
Would the Rams be wiser by trying to trade down again and grab more picks with all the positions they need to fill?
Mike Sando (1:02 PM)
Well, they already did that once, so I'd be a little careful. They have lots of picks for the coming years. They need impact players too. I guess it comes down to what it always comes down to: Who is there when they are scheduled to pick (at No. 6, in this case)?
Matthew (Spokane, WA)
Which, in your opinion, is the better prospect for Seattle; Kuechly, or Coples?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Have not personally scouted the college players. My opinions are based on conversations with people who have scouted them. Have heard things lately that steer me away from Coples for Seattle. The feeling, also, is that Kuechly will be gone. Might not get past Carolina at No. 9, and if he did, might not get to No. 12 anyway.
Chris (Rochester, NY)
Are you buying into any of the hype about the Hawks' interest in Tannehill at 12?
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
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.
Any guesses who the "one guy" is that SF has their eye on?
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
I don't buy the line from Trent Baalke saying they have one guy in mind. Bet they have 15 guys in mind.
Aaron [via mobile]
Who do you like more for the 49ers? Fleener or trading up to grab a stud at their biggest "need" postion of RG.
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
Coby Fleener could very well be gone when the 49ers are scheduled to pick at No. 30. I'd rather draft him than trade up for a guard. They should be able to draft a guard elsewhere in that case.
With Asante Samuel apparently being shopped around by Philly, do you see any NFCW teams making a play for him?
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
No. His salary is $8.4 million for 2012, right? Who would want that contract?
Matt (Gilbert, AZ)
Alright Mike, you're Rod Graves next week. Michael Floyd and Riley Reiff are both available at #13. Who ya taking?
Mike Sando (1:09 PM)
Probably taking Reiff out of need, figuring you still have Larry Fitzgerald and some decent tight end options on the team.
Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)
Sando, in your blogger's mock, you had the Cards picking a pass rusher, which I am not adverse to per se. However, I do think the Cards 8-8 record is not indicative to how good the defense was; our idiot offense kept putting the defense in bad spots and we still finished 8-8. I believe the Cards should focus on improving the offense first, add some depth later in the draft on defense, and see what Kolb is made of with a decent O-line. PS: Peyton, when one of your Broncos' receivers drop that game-winning TD pass, just remember: Larry Fitzgerald would have caught it!
Mike Sando (1:11 PM)
Those are fair points. We'll do another blogger mock at some point and I'll revisit my thinking for Arizona. A strong case can be made that Arizona needs to take an offensive tackle in the first round. To me, though, the quarterback is what will determine the trajectory of the offense. The Cardinals are set (or stuck, depending on your view) with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton as their options there. Their offense will go as those players go.
In what round do you see the Niners taking a RB?
Mike Sando (1:14 PM)
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 last couple years. Teams do not take many of them early. I'd be surprised if the 49ers broke from that.
Why is that whenever Seattle is tied and has a coin toss they lose? We lost once to N.E. when they took Bledsoe didn't we? Anyway, just curious if Sea ever one of those for draft picks. The teams ahead of us 'always' seem to have the same needs we do.
Mike Sando (1:15 PM)
Clearly Bill Leavy's fault. He was flipping the coins.
Caleb (Couer D'Alene)
All talk on the sports networks has Seattle taking defense at 12. If DeCastro is there do they pass him up?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
I think they would prefer to take a guard later than that. Tough to name guards taken higher than 15th because none have been taken that early since Chris Naeole back in 1997 or so.
Should rams take Michael Floyd or Justin Blackmon at No. 6?
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
Would have said Blackmon in the past, but increasingly considering Floyd -- perhaps after moving back. Floyd fits the mold for the highly drafted wideout. Physically imposing. Look at all the receivers drafted in the top three for the last 20-25 years and you'll see the pattern. All were big, big guys. Floyd fits that mold better than Blackmon does, at least on size.
Mickey (St. Louis)
Regarding the Strength of Schedules, should the Rams feel like the league has it in for them over the last few years or is it because the Rams have been so bad that whoever they play seems to add to the 'strength' of their schedule?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
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.
Should we expect to see any major moves by the teams in the division before the draft? (i.e. 49ers signing Mike Wallace, Rams trading Steven Jackson)
Mike Sando (1:23 PM)
Teams have til Friday on Mike Wallace. There is no sense anyone is going to suddenly move on him. A trade involving Steven Jackson would make little sense right now; the Rams want to run the ball, and they do not know whether Trent Richardson or another preferred back will be available to them in the draft. The two obvious moves to make in the division would involve St. Louis acquiring a receiver and Arizona acquiring an offensive tackle. Don't see anything on the horizon there, but those would be the two primary areas to address heading into the draft, if possible.
Rahim aka rah-steam (hackensack, N.J.)
Since Zona is stuck with Kolb and Skelton, why not get a decent number two reciever? Why do teams expect qb's to do good with LIMITED talent? Wouldn't it make sense to give them the best chance to succeed? Thus the sadness Zona didn't address the reciever problem.
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
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.
Every somebody falls hard on draft day who do you see being this year's guy in the draft that falls from mid-first to early second round?
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
Just positionally speaking, I wonder about David DeCastro. How much will teams really value a guard in the draft? What if the 49ers got him at No. 30? Just thinking out loud. Conventional wisdom says he'll be gone way earlier than that.
Why do people even talk about strength of schedule? Based on last year's record, many teams are better or worse and last year's record is against approximately eight teams that the team won't face this year. Are we that hard up for NFL things to talk about?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Strength of schedule is not worthless. I know John Clayton tracks it closely every year and has concluded that a big change in strength of schedule from one season to the next generally correlates with a change in team record one way or the other. He uses strength of schedule as one variable in making comparisons, but the key is really when a team goes from a very easy one to a very hard one, or vice versa. It's not the strength of schedule itself in any given year.
Hi Mike, big fan of the blog down here in Panama (the country just in case)... Quick question regarding the Saints bounty topic ... why hasn't the league removed them from playing in the Hall of Fame game? I think participation in this game is kind of a reward for the teams involved, and the scandal sure seems to make the Saints "unworthy" ... Go Niners!!!
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
Thanks, Roger. I thought it was interesting that the NFL announced its bounty punishment so closely after announcing the Saints' participation in that game. It made me think the football people were scheduling the Hall of Fame game while not fully aware of where the legal people were heading on the Saints. I don't think the Saints would complain about being pulled from the game, though. It would give them four preseason games, not five, and an easier road. Making them play in the Hall of Fame game might be worse under the circumstances. It'll draw additional attention to the bounty story and the NFL's response to it -- a response Roger Goodell hasn't shied away from emphasizing.
Caleb (Couer D'Alene)
A question for the end. Who is the best Stooge out of the 3?
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
We can handle this one now (for those unaware, my sons took me to the new Three Stooges movie for my birthday yesterday). I would have to single out Moe. That's the one we aspired to be as kids -- the enforcer who ran the show. Or maybe that was just me. I was the oldest kid, after all.
Dugan (Spokane, WA)
Why is Bill Leavy allowed to do anything associated with Seattle?!?!?!
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
He was not really the one flipping the coins to affect Seattle's draft order, fyi.
Can you see Carroll taking a "TD Maker" at WR in the 1st round?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
Yes, I could see that. Michael Floyd?
Joe (Fort Worth)
Coach Whis has publicly acknowledged that he learned his lesson regarding passing on great talent (Adrian Peterson) to draft need (Levi Brown). If my memory serves me, he cited this when discussing the selection of Ryan Williams last year. So with this in mind, I have two questions a) Which tackles do you think are NOT a reach at pick 13; and b) what do you think are the odds the Cardinals will reach for a LT, ignoring the "lesson" they learned about reaching?
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
Good reminder, Joe. I haven't scouted college players, so I cannot rate the tackles. Sounds like Riley Reiff is the only offensive tackle after Matt Kalil to take in the top 13 picks.
Dugan (Spokane, WA)
Why isn't St. Louis looking to add a DC? Is it simply too late and they'll wait til next year, and what if Williams comes back, would his job be made open for him if someone else has recieved it?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
They are leaving open the door for Gregg Williams and comfortable in the interim with Jeff Fisher, Dave McGinnis and Chuck Cecil on staff -- all former defensive coordinators.
If the Hawks draft DeCastro would they be admitting that drafting Carpenter/Moffitt last year was a mistake? And do you thing the organization would be gun shy drafting Kuechly with the 12th pick after the Curry debacle?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
I don't think worrying about a perceived admission of mistakes comes into the equation for the Seahawks, based on what John Schneider's attitude seems to be. But the presence of those players on the roster could affect how early the Seahawks feel as though they need to address the line. The Aaron Curry selection is irrelevant to the team now because the decision to draft him fourth overall predates the current leadership.
Who do you see winning the week 1 rematch between the Seahawks and the Cardinals. That was a tough game in week 17 and which way you look at it, and I think the 9ers are going to have their hands full with either of these teams and their physical style of football.
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
Cannot argue with the premise. Just look at the score differentials for the first and second meetings between the 49ers and the other NFC West teams. From plus-26 to plus-7 against the Rams. From plus-16 to minus-2 against the Cardinals. From plus-16 to plus-2 against the Seahawks.
Brian (Sandpoint, ID)
I'm reading comments about Kuechly where people are saying he is good enough to play outside. Do you think the Cards consider him at OLB with an eye at playing him both ILB and OLB since Stewart Bradley has not played up to his contract yet and Acho/Schofield could use some help?
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
That sounds unlikely to me. They have to try to get something out of Bradley this season, with a full offseason to get him up to speed and make that investment pay off better. Kuechly might not be there at No. 13 anyway. Seattle would have to consider taking him if Carolina or another team did not take him first. If you take Kuechly that early, play him at his intended position, I say.
With the Cards having the weakest SOS in 2011, 2010, and 2007 and posting substandard records is there any reason to think that this is the result of lackluster drafting vs weakness in SOS ranking?
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
Would say QB play had a lot to do with that the past two seasons. Sure, they've missed on some draft picks, too. But everyone has.
Jim (Bald Knob (Arkansas))
Do you see any of the other NFC West teams trading down besides what the Rams did?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
I see NFC West teams wanting to trade down. Seattle and Arizona come to mind. But who wants to move up?
Leonardo (The Sewer)
When the 49ers acquired the late first round pick for Joe Staley a few years ago, what did NE walk away with in that trade? I'd like to see the 49ers be "NE" this year and shop the 30th pick for a 2013 1st plus a 2012 2nd or 3rd. Is it possible?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
The Patriots received the 110th pick, which they traded for Randy Moss. They got the seventh overall pick and another pick, then traded down to take a couple linebackers, Jerod Mayo and Shawn Crable. The 49ers came away with the 28th choice, which they used for Staley, as you indicated. Is it possible do do something like that? Why not?
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat. Gotta run. See you on the blog! Thanks again.