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 (1:01 PM)
Good morning/afternoon. Anything going on today?
Sando whats good? As a 49er fan I thought they should have made a play for Asante Samuel which would allow them to grab the guard from Wisconsin if he were still available and kill both needs. Now do you think they still grab the guard or take a strong look at someone like Janoris Jenkins instead, both are big needs?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
Yeah, the trade for Samuel wound up costing little, and the salary stacked up as well. This could simply be a case of the 49ers not really liking Samuel all that much. The Eagles seem to have a decent feel most of the time for when to part with a player. They were wrong on Chris Clemons but right on others, Donovan McNabb included.
What up Sando, I know every mock in the world has my Cards taking either an O-lineman like Reilly Reif or a WR in Michael Floyd, but the one position I haven't heard talked about once is cornerback at No. 13. Other than Patrick Peterson, we have Greg Toler, who is coming off IR, and we lost Richard Marshall in FA, not to mention we were pretty weak against the pass last year. I'm calling my shot now, if Reif is off the board at 13, the Cards are gonna select Stephon Gilmore or Dre Kirkpatrick if available.
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
That would be purely a value pick, Birdman. The Cardinals like their corner situation. They think they have four starting corners (Peterson, Toler, A.J. Jefferson and William Gay). They also have Michael Adams, who has played a lot in sub packages. Corner is not really a big priority position for the Cardinals right now. I think we saw that in the value decision they made on Marshall. So, if they take a corner that early, it's because the value screamed at them, not because the need was primary.
Christopher (Sacramento, CA)
Hey Mike. With seemingly everybody picking a different player for the 9ers at 30, who do you think of all the names you've heard is the wrong choice?
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
They could all be "right" choices but it depends upon which players remain available. And we have only a rough idea which players will be available.
Do you see any big trades coming down in the first round of the draft tonight?
Mike Sando (1:08 PM)
Yeah, I think we'll see one or two. Most trades tend to involve moving only a few spots. They aren't as dramatic, in general, as the one Atlanta made with Cleveland in jumping from 27th to sixth last year. But I could see one or two fun ones, yes.
Who should the Rams target with their 2 early second round picks?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
Well, if they get Justin Blackmon at six, I'd want to fill needs at outside linebacker and defensive tackle in the second round. That would be the goal while remaining flexible. Would not want to reach for need, obviously, but filling those needs would feel pretty good for the Rams.
Kyle (St Louis)
Do you see the rams staying at six tonight or trying to get more picks?
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
My general feel is that the Rams have moved back enough in the first round, and now they need to maximize the value of the pick (unless someone makes a crazy offer). Right now, the Rams have the best of both worlds: a pick high enough to get the top-rated player at a position, but also additional picks (this year and in the future).
Supppose the Seahawks decide not to trade down/don't find a suitable trading partner. Then imagine that Melvin Ingram (unlikely), Quinton Coples and Chandler Jones are all still on the board, and the hawks decide to go DE in the draft. Who would they take and why? Are there any other guys that might be a better pick at 12?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
I'd rank Coples as third on that list of three, just based on what I've heard. From there, I would probably go with Ingram, based on the feeling among most that he would be the higher-rated player. Of the three, I would say Jones is the most likely pick, based on the likelihood that he would still be available at No. 12. We've talked about how Jones' ranginess could fit the Seahawks and appeal to their defensive coaches (based on other selections the team has made). Pete Carroll likes to use the word "unique" when describing prospects. Jones' arm length might fit under that heading. Ingram's versatility might also fit.
Drew (Roseville )
Mike, if David DeCastro falls out of the top 10-15 range, do you see the 49ers making a move and trading up to grab him?
Mike Sando (1:20 PM)
No, because they would have to trade up quite a ways from No. 30 under that scenario. I don't think a right guard would be perceived as that much of a difference maker.
Julian (Frankfurt, Germany)
Hey Mike, appreciate your work as always. I'm surprised that nobody expects the Cards taking a defensive player other than Ingram who is expected to be gone at 13. I can see the offense needing an overhaul, especially on the offensive line, but making an already progressing defense better could bring better results in my view, given the questions surrounding Kevin Kolb and him possibly getting better with just an entire off season to work with.
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
I had them drafting Courtney Upshaw in the mock we did a month or so ago, figuring they could use a dominant pass-rusher (every team could use one of those, of course; by dominant, I mean someone to lead the team in sacks with 10-plus, something the Cardinals have not had lately, despite pretty good team sack totals recently). Upshaw, on the shorter side, also seemed to fit the profile for OLB types drafted by Pittsburgh when Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton was a Steelers assistant. Doesn't seem like many people are projecting Uphsaw to go that high, though. And he did have an off-field incident in college, raising questions about character, too.
Battles for Seattle (Tukwila)
Lookie lookie from RedRum: "NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that the Patriots have reached out to the Seahawks about the availability of the No. 12 pick. Specifically, Breer reported that New England asked "what it would take to get to 12." The Pats have the ammo with two first-round picks and five selections in the top 93. They have nothing after the fourth round, however. NFL Network's Stacey Dales has reported that New England is strongly interested in Syracuse DE Chandler Jones, and he may be their target in any potential move up. Related: Seahawks, PatriotsSource: Albert Breer on Twitter Apr 26 - 1:01 PM"
Mike Sando (1:28 PM)
Had to laugh when I saw that given that James Walker and I came up with a very similar scenario in our recent Blogger Mock Draft -- based solely on logic, not anything we'd heard directly from the teams. In our mock, the Patriots sent the 27th and 31st picks to Seattle for the 12th and 106th picks. New England took Mark Barron at 12. Seattle took Chandler Jones at No. 27. This was on Monday. Since then, Jones' name has been popping up as a possibility for Seattle even at No. 12. That was totally unexpected by me. Maybe we blind-squirreled our way into something.
Gus (Seattle via Fife, WA)
Hey Mike, everyone has the Hawks going defense (for obvious reasons looking at the lack of pass rush last year). But Pete also mentioned the need for a "touchdown maker." Does any part of you think they are playing possum and may jump on a Floyd or Kendall Wright or Doug Martin instead?
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
Yeah, I could see them going in that direction. Mostly, I think they would like to trade back and then take what falls to them. We should account in our minds for the fact that Jason Jones' addition in free agency was seen by the team as a move to upgrade the pass rush. They could also get Dexter Davis back, with some thought he could help their pass-rush. So I would not lock in a pass-rusher as the pick in the first round. It would make a lot of sense, however.
Any chance Baalke shocks everyone and goes RB at #30 and finds Gore's replacement?
Mike Sando (1:33 PM)
That would surprise me given these factors: the presence of Kendall Hunter and now Brandon Jacobs on the 49ers' roster; the ability to find good running backs later in a draft; the overall devaluing of the position across the league (even though the 49ers do value the run game, obviously).
Sando, have you gone to teams other than the Seahawks for draft day? Do you think you might mix it up in the future? Thanks
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
In general, there is no advantage to making a road trip this time of year. I basically need a place to watch the draft. I've thought about mixing it up, but I'd rather make a trip to a minicamp down the road.
Chex Norris (San Diego)
Do you like the new format of just the first round on Thursday? I think it would be much better if they did at least the first 2 rounds, and they could still get the interest from viewers for rounds 3 and 4 the next day.
Mike Sando (1:37 PM)
Love the format. It allows us to fully process the first round, then reset for the next day. On a personal level, I also like having the draft wrap up Saturday. That leaves Sunday to tie up loose ends, spent a few hours with family and reset again before heading into the week.
Montana Mike (Burien)
Totally agree w/ Gus. The Seahawks' offense wasn't very explosive last year. I'd love to see this defense play with a lead more often. I'm starting to like Michael Floyd if he's there No. 12. If not, I say trade back. I'd like to see them possibly pick up Chris Polk in a later round if he's available. Do you think a) Floyd would even start Game 1 and b) Chris Polk would make a great compliment to Lynch, especially with his receiving skills out of the backfield?
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
The Seahawks have improved their roster to the point where they do not have to go in any one direction in this draft. The Rams feel pressure to get a No. 1 receiver. The Cardinals feel pressure to get a tackle. The Seahawks would have felt pressure on the QB front, but Matt Flynn solved that problem for at least a year, perhaps a lot longer. Seattle has the flexibility to consider moving back, in other words. Floyd would start in Week 1, I think. As things stand, I'll be surprised if would-be starter Mike Williams earns a roster spot, simply because the position has evolved and the team should have some younger players (Kris Durham, Ricardo Lockette) factoring to a larger degree. Polk does look like he would be a good backup for Lynch and a player with the receiving skills to contribute on third down right away (Leon Washington has some value on third down as well). I like your thinking.
Chex Norris (San Diego)
Both Kendall Wright and Stephen Hill are available at 30 for the 49ers, (Zeitler and Jenkins are off the board) who ya got?
Mike Sando (1:44 PM)
Wright was the projection to the 49ers at No. 30 in our initial Blogger Mock Draft. Hill might be the better fit from a physical standpoint. I might lean toward Wright on overall value, but Hill as the more likely fit because of his physical dimensions. Maybe they could move back a couple spots if faced with that dilemma? Thinking out loud here.
What is the deal with Golden Tate? He catches everything (no drops last yr out of 40 something targets). He is elusive. He was amongst the league leaders in broken tackles even with few touches. Can he just not run routes?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
Give him time. This might be his year.
49ers lockeroom is strong enough to handle a Janoris Jenkins. A top 10 talent that they can't pass up on at 30 right?
Mike Sando (1:45 PM)
That was my thinking early in the week. No one has talked me out of it.
Kevin (New jersey)
Sando, do you ever grow tired of all this draft talk? Four months of mock draft updates and stocks of players going up and down, I know I can't stand this time of year.
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
Yeah, I used to feel that way as a beat reporter years ago, mostly because I found speculation frustrating. But I've changed my thinking. The blog encourages discussion. Mock drafts become starting points for discussions that do have value ultimately. I'm glad the draft is just about here. We don't need any additional time to speculate. Overall, though, I enjoy the conversation.
Is there anyway the Cardinals could trade down to get a second round pick? The most logical partner I see is Denver at 25 who depending on Peyton may want to win now and grab someone as talented as Floyd. I think this makes a lot of sense for the Cardinals as they good grab a pass rusher like McCellin/Perry/Jones or a right tackle like Martin in a spot that better corresponds to those picks talent and value.
Mike Sando (1:53 PM)
That definitely makes sense to me. In 2010, the Eagles traded the 24th, 70th and 87th overall choices to Denver for the 13th choice. I would encourage that type of move for the Cardinals if they feel as though any tackle would play the right side.
B (Glendale, AZ)
Sando, if Kalil somehow drops to #7 where Jacksonville is picking, do the Cardinals entertain the idea of trading up to select him? Thanks.
Mike Sando (1:54 PM)
Wow, that would be tempting, but Arizona already lacks a second-round pick. The Cardinals might not have the ammunition to feel good about that type of trade.
I get what your saying about CB being not being a need position but doesn't every coach say they think their players are capable starters? I mean, do you believe Jefferson, Toler and Gay are anything other than backups? I'm just getting this feeling that the Cards are not going to be taking Reif or Floyd cause every mock has them there and it seems on draft day it never happens as expected. Anyways who could you see being a surprise pick for the Cards?
Mike Sando (1:56 PM)
That's a fair point on Jefferson, Toler and Gay. The team does have Patrick Peterson, obviously, and you figure those other three guys are going to play a lot regardless. Maybe corner would be a surprise position for the Cardinals to target. Any choice for a tackle, receiver or pass-rusher would not surprise me at all.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Mike, I am sorry but I disagree with you. If the last "elite" player at the top is Blackmon, then I think the Rams should trade out and pick up more depth in their roster. Wide receivers miss more often than they hit in the first round, and I have read that Blackmon, although the best receiver in this draft, is not a "cant miss" prospect. There are so many holes on this roster, get quantity out of it if the star power is missing.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
That is reasonable thinking as well, I'd say. I'm not absolutely sold on getting Justin Blackmon at No. 6. But if he looks like even a good No. 1 wide receiver, the Rams could sure use him. I also look at the other positions and wonder if the value lines up at No. 6, based on the players we feel will be available. Now, having Matt Kalil there might make it easier to justify going in a direction other than receiver with that pick.
AndyStandsUp (NFL Purgatory)
Morning Mike. If by some odd chance the Vikes choose Claiborne over Kalil and Browns take Blackmon, where do the Rams look?
Mike Sando (1:59 PM)
Maybe they look to move back a little, allowing someone else to take Kalil?
carlos [via mobile]
Any possibility the Rams regret not taking Robert Griffin III and keeping the second pick?
Mike Sando (2:02 PM)
There should be none, no matter what happens. The Rams made the only logical decision available to them in this situation. They were financially committed to Bradford. Parting with Bradford would have carried significant costs. There were no guarantees at all that RG3 would become a better player. Now, if Bradford were a flat-out bust or had never shown promise, maybe there's a different line of thinking. I suspect some GMs would take Bradford over Griffin right now if given the chance.
Mike Sando (2:02 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the NFC West chat. Should be a great night!