Chat with Mike Sando
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we'll have ESPN.com NFL Insider 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 3 p.m. ET!
Mike Sando (2:59 PM)
Greetings. Really happy to be here. We've got beautiful weather here in my parts, which is not the norm, and I've got a taco salad here on my desk. Doesn't get a lot better than that.
Mike, looks like TB will look to move Glennon especially if they draft Manziel. Do you think he is a nice fallback option for teams that don't draft a QB in the first couple of rounds? Can you see a trade like Glennon to the Raiders for D. Moore and a round 4 happening?
Mike Sando (3:02 PM)
I do think Mike Glennon has some developmental upside and has certainly played well enough in his 13 starts to upgrade someone's backup situation. Anytime you can upgrade the backup QB position while adding a potential future starter, it's a good thing. Glennon is an asset, in cold terms. I saw him go into Seattle against the NFL's toughest defense and show a lot of mettle in helping his team to a 21-0 lead. That impressed me. As for the Raiders specifically moving for him, I don't know about that.
Hi Mike, do you think the Dolphins will regret spending all that money on Mike Wallace?
Mike Sando (3:03 PM)
I'd say there's a good chance of that. They had to know they were overpaying. That's the deal in free agency. It will be tough for Wallace to be a good value for them at that price. At the same time, if they had not made that move, people would rightly say they haven't done enough to help their young quarterback. There's no substitute for drafting well, though. And this draft has some appealing wideouts. That's the route to go.
What should the Rams do in the first round? Think the best scenarios are Watkins at #2 and either Lewan or Martin at #13 or trade down to 5-7 and select Matthews or Robinson with first pick and then Dennard at 13. Thoughts?
Mike Sando (3:06 PM)
From a Rams standpoint, I think it's imperative to help their offense, including the line. I was talking to a GM from another team about that this morning, going back and forth about whether Sam Bradford is going to be any good. He was skeptical but allowed that the Rams really have not given him a good enough line. A coach I spoke with early in the week thought Bradford and the Rams were just badly, badly in need of a true outside threat, and that Tavon Austin was not that threat. If they came out of this draft with the best offensive tackle and one of the top three wide receivers, that would be great, I'd say. I know people want to give them a safety early, but I think the defense should be better with Gregg Williams. They have a very good front four already. Yes, draft the safety and maybe corner, too, but if you can amp up that offense with the two first-rounders, that would be nice. They face so many tough defenses in the NFC West and they are outmanned.
Evan (Saratoga Springs, NY)
In order my draft board for the Jets pick at 18 is Beckham, Dennard, Ebron, Cooks. What do you think?
Mike Sando (3:09 PM)
I'm with you on having Beckham in the mix atop the list. If I were a Jets fan, I'd really like to see them add weapons. They almost cannot take another defensive player in the first round while keeping a straight face. They know that. I question whether Eric Decker is going to give them great return on investment without a better quarterback situation, but if they added a more dynamic receiving talent to the mix, that could help them get better return on Decker and whatever QB is behind center.
Which team will make the biggest suprise pick in the first round?
Mike Sando (3:11 PM)
I might look for teams that have established or seemingly semi-established quarterbacks. Would one of them take a QB earlier than anticipated? I'm not sure that would be a wise move given what we think about the QBs in this class, but that would get someone's attention. Some of the teams with a lot of draft capital -- Cleveland, St. Louis -- are in position to wheel and deal a little. I'd watch for those types of teams.
Mike last year the Raiders traded the number 3 pick to the Phins for much less than the trade chart says was equal value. Now i know a new chart is out there with different values, but would the Raiders possibly consider something like that this year as they are still in desperate need of players and not just one. Would it be conceivable for the 49ers to give up 30,56, and 61 to get Watkins?
Mike Sando (3:15 PM)
I think the Raiders should be amenable to adding picks. Now, if they love one of the QBs and have to have him early, then it's tougher. But if they feel pretty good about Matt Schaub for the next couple years, why not add picks? You're right about the situation they are in. On the 49ers part, we can look to see what the fifth pick fetched in the past. It got the seventh and 83rd picks one time. It got the 12th, 71st, 107th, 144th, 179th, 218th, a future first and a future third another time. Pretty big difference! I'd have to look at the details, but if you Google "adamjt13 draft pick values" you should find the reference I sometimes consult in looking at what picks have fetched. I think it's tough coming up from the 30th pick to the fifth pick and do not think it appears feasible.
Do you think Mack or Watkins will be there for the Raiders at pick #5?
Mike Sando (3:16 PM)
I'd think Mack would be more likely than Watkins based on the people I've spoken with regarding general feel on players in this draft.
Rey(Seattle) [via mobile]
I know the Seahawks don't usually move up in the draft, but given the comp picks they'll be getting next year, if there's a dynamic playmaker or OL player they feel may come off the board early. Could you see them moving up for him?
Mike Sando (3:17 PM)
I'd think they would be more amenable to moving back so they could possibly pick up a third-rounder, which they are lacking. They already traded a seventh to Oakland.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
Mike, why don't teams trade guys on their last year of their contract who the team probably won't re-sign, more often (like the Vikings did with Harvin)? Every GM talks about looking long-term, but it sure doesn't seem like their actions back that up in this instance. For example, Mike Iupati isn't likely to come back to the 49ers next year. In my opinion, getting a high 2nd round pick or even potentially a late 1st rounder is better for the overall health of the franchise than having him only one more year and then getting a 3rd round comp pick the following year (and that's IF we don't sign any free agents that year).
Mike Sando (3:18 PM)
The reason is because the acquiring team would be getting a player with just one year left in free agency. If the 49ers weren't willing to pay one of their own guys for the long term, why would another team want to pay him for the long term?
Scott (Westminster, CO)
More likely to draft a QB in that late 1st/early 2nd area - Broncos or Pats?
Mike Sando (3:19 PM)
I'd think Patriots because Ryan Mallett is nearing the end of his rookie deal. Denver has Brock Osweiler there and could still get another year or two from Peyton Manning.
Moose (Buffalo) [via mobile]
Thoughts concerning the Bills moving up? Most likely target and why?
Mike Sando (3:21 PM)
I wasn't thinking of Buffalo as a likely move-up team. If they did move up, would it make sense to target an offensive tackle or wide receiver? It could if someone falls unexpectedly. And then, of course, everything goes out the window if there is a QB they absolutely love. That goes for almost any team without an established top QB.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
Mike, was there any actual soundage of Aldon Smith's incident at the airport? If not, am I the only one who is kind of against the grain from the general population in this situation? Unless Aldon was actually threatening with a bomb and not being sarcastic, I think people are blowing this way out of proportion (no pun intended). I just don't think that an airport security team should feel legitimently threatened by an NFL player being upset by a situation and making a sarcastic comment. It was certainly childish on Smith's part, but outside of that...
Mike Sando (3:24 PM)
It's more about a pattern of behavior and potential instability. I'd say that is the issue. I could definitely see this being a situation where he unwisely made comments out of frustration. Highly doubt he was seriously threatening anyone. So, if another player with no off-field concerns were in this predicament, we might cut him some slack. In this case, it's more troubling.
Keith H (Seattle)
I thoroughly enjoy your segments with John Clayton on the Brock & Danny Show (710 AM in Seattle) and just wanted to say Thank You. Please keep the segment going.
Mike Sando (3:25 PM)
Thanks. Love doing that show and think we'll continue doing it.
Do you think the Hawks would trade their Round 1 pick to the Raiders for their 2nd and 3rd so the Raiders jump ahead of Jax and Houston to grab a QB?
Mike Sando (3:25 PM)
I could see teams picking early in the second-round order trading into the later stages of the first round to get a quarterback. It makes a ton of sense because the QB would then be on a five-year deal, which is great for developmental purposes.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Seems like the Steelers two big needs are CB and WR. If they draft those positions 1 & 2, which makes the most sense? Seems like WR depth is much better than CB. Getting Gilbert/Dennard + say Moncrief or Benjamin looks alot better than Beckham Verrett, or some similar combination. Agree?
Mike Sando (3:27 PM)
Yeah, I think you nailed it. If there is a CB and WR good enough to be worth the Steelers' first-round slotting, take the corner because of scarcity at that position. And I do think corner is not as appealing a position in this draft from the standpoint of evaluators.
I think there is a big slow play on QB's this year, but ultimately 5-6 will go in the 1st round as teams move back in to get the 5th year option on a guy, rather than wait and take them at the top of Round 2. Is there a giant swerve coming from teams like Dallas, AZ and SF?
Mike Sando (3:29 PM)
I tend to think we'll see four QBs in the first round, with three of them gone in the first half of the round, but it's a difficult one to size up. The general feel is that the QBs aren't really appealing enough to justify that type of investment, but when you need a QB, you make exceptions. It's like dieting. You might write off carbonated beverages, but after two days in the desert without fluids, you'd happily guzzle Mountain Dew. Surviving in the NFL without a quarterback is nearly impossible. Even the decent ones look great when you don't have one.
Last year the EJ Manuel pick seemed to come out of nowhere. Do you see a QB this year projected in rounds 3-4 to be reached for in the mid-first round?
Mike Sando (3:31 PM)
When I ask people in the league that question, some of them have said St. Louis. Now, the Rams wouldn't have to reach that much because they have early picks. But if they took one relatively early, it would not surprise others in the league. That doesn't mean it is likely; the Rams have their own opinions on Sam Bradford and the position overall.
Me (Not Sure)
TSA doesn't care who you are. The first person they take for granted could be the next terrorist act. You don't get off the hook for being famous or frustrated.
Mike Sando (3:32 PM)
Right. I would like to know why they did not detain him immediately, however.
Cleveland seems to be one of the keys to this draft with all their picks and an obvious need at QB. What's your best guess at what they do at #4 & 26?
Mike Sando (3:33 PM)
I could see quarterback or wide receiver with that fourth pick. If they don't do the QB there, mayve the 26th pick is involved in that position. But I'd think they would get a QB with one of those picks (or by trading one of those picks for additional picks and then using one of those for a QB somewhere early in the draft).
Ed (Queens Village)
Should NFL Draft to to a fourth day?
Mike Sando (3:36 PM)
I would prefer a shorter draft, but I think the league would have no problem marketing another day. What if the first day consisted only of the first 10 selections? They could market that to death and still have tons of interest. To me, they would have to leverage the early choices into another day.
Any thoughts on the Seahawks' long term strategy at linebacker? As a position group, it doesn't seem to be as instrumental to their scheme and success as their defensive line and secondary. At the same time, they've got to be pleased with the play from Wagner/Wright/Smith/Irvin. (Irvin, obviously, may find himself back in the mix for LEO/edge rusher.) Can they afford to keep the band together, do they even want to, or will they retain a core guy like Bobby Wagner and let the others walk?
Mike Sando (3:38 PM)
They would probably only pay a three-down linebacker. Bobby Wagner is the one I thought about right away, but K.J. Wright is valuable as well. I could see them going to one of those guys early enough to get more favorable terms. Wright comes to mind on that front. We need to see what happens with the salary cap and with their existing players. Others are in front of them in line. Also, now that they are paying guys, there are guys with existing contracts who could be thinking, hey, what about me?
Aaron (Des Moines, IA)
Hi Mike! Having followed the 49ers in the past, do you see Baalke and company more likely moving up for a sexy pick like a stud WR or to grab a more pressing need (IMO) like CB?
Mike Sando (3:39 PM)
I would think corner would be the position because of scarcity in terms of top corner prospects. Also, the need is more pronounced.
Is there a riskier position for an NFL club to draft in the 1st round than WR? When I see other NFC West clubs go WR in the 1st I always cheer. SO I be scared that SF is considering moving up for a wide out?
Mike Sando (3:40 PM)
QB is still riskier because that guy can bring down the whole team. The WR cannot do that generally.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Mike, Do you see RaShede Hageman of Minnesota, Kony Ealy of Missouri and Demarcus Lawrence of Boise State going in either the first or second round and where will they go ?
Mike Sando (3:43 PM)
That would be a great question for Mel Kiper Jr. I've seen all three rated as in that second-round range. Matching teams is total guesswork, though.
Raider Fan (PA)
Any chance Bridgewater falls to Oakland with their pick in the second round?
Mike Sando (3:44 PM)
Yeah, I could see there being a chance of that. Hard to say. It just takes one team to like a guy enough to take him earlier.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
I know I'm bucking the trend on Sammy Watkins here, but it just seems to me that the receivers that are the most feared are all quite taller than Watkins. Quick, name your top 10. Probably has Calvin, AJ, Demaryius, Dez, Fitzgerald, Marshall, Jeffrey.... All guys taller, longer arms, and better natural jumpers than Watkins. Guys like Reggie Wayne and Victor Cruz are certainly great receivers, but the receivers that defenses double and triple team are the ones that just physically outmatch their corners, especially in the Red Zone. Watkins just isn't that. What do you think?
Mike Sando (3:45 PM)
Watkins is almost 6-1, so it's not like he is 5-9. I tend to agree with your thinking overall but do not think it seems to apply in this particular case. It's a good rule of thumb, probably.
Hi Mike, thanks for chatting! Where do you think the Cardinals will go at 20? Arians continues to say that they have no "glaring holes," but in my opinion they could really use a pass rusher (can't count on Abraham). Thoughts?
Mike Sando (3:47 PM)
Hi Max. I'm with you, the more I think about it. Getting outside pass-rush help would make a lot of sense for Arizona. That would be ideal. I see other options, though. What if a quarterback they love is there? What if the top tight end is there? Safety is another possible position to consider. I will want to see if the No. 1 player at a specific position remains available at No. 20.
Raider Fan (PA)
Are the Raiders at pick #5 really in as bad as a draft slot as people are saying?
Mike Sando (3:48 PM)
I don't think it's a horrible slot, but they could wind up not getting their first choice at some of the marquee positions. It just seems like the Raiders have fewer young impact players than, say, Cleveland, yet they have to pick behind the Browns. It's not a horrible spot, though.
How awesome would it be if all four NFCW teams were plus .500? and how probable would it be?
Mike Sando (3:49 PM)
They have to play one another, though, and that will lead to some defeats. I'll be impressed if the Rams get above .500 playing their schedule.
Joey Higgins-Luckow (Madison, WI)
In regards to my first question about trading guys in their final year, Iupati is a top player at his position with no off the field incidents. It's just not financially feasible for the 49ers to keep all their good players every time - that would be the reason they are getting rid of him. And I'd venture to say quite a few teams have this situation - where they know financially, it would be very difficult to keep a player, even if they want to.
Mike Sando (3:50 PM)
Right, but the other team is not going to trade for one year of Mike Iupati. They are not going to trade for him AND give him a big contract when they could just pay him in free agency next year.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Better fit and better player for the Broncos - CJ Mosley or Ryan Shazier?
Mike Sando (3:51 PM)
Maybe Shazier for the sheer speed factor. Seems like that defense might benefit from that. Now, I have not studied the players closely. I don't do scouting reports. But that was my first thought.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Seems Cleveland is a complete mystery at 4. What do you think Farmer does with his first ever draft pick?
Mike Sando (3:52 PM)
I wonder if he has to listen to the owner regarding a quarterback. That comes to mind.
Better picks for the Rams in the first round: 2-Watkins, 13-Martin or 2-Robinson/Mathews, 13-Beckham?
Mike Sando (3:55 PM)
My first inclination was the second scenario if it's Greg Robinson, based on what people think his ceiling could be, and also based on the thinking by some that Martin could project to one of the interior line positions.
Minus two teams, don't they all have the same schedule? So wouldn't it be an equally impressive feat for all teams, not just the Rams?
Mike Sando (3:57 PM)
The Rams don't get to play the Rams, though, and the Rams are not as good as the top two teams for sure.
Raider Fan (PA)
How do you think Reggie McKenzie has done thus far in his first "reconstruction" year?
Mike Sando (3:58 PM)
I didn't like the push to add older players while parting with some younger ones, but he's in a tough spot because he is general managing for his job in 2014, most likely. It's easy for me to say he needs to plan long term. I just think they got older than I would have liked.
Mike, regarding the Iupati references where a team wont trade a high pick for a player and still have to sign him to a huge contract, isn't that what Seattle did last year with Percy Harvin, traded a #1 and paid him!
Mike Sando (3:59 PM)
Percy Harvin, at his best, is a game-changing talent. Mike Iupati, at his best, is not noticed by 99 percent of the people in the stands and is not mentioned by name in 99 percent of opposing game plans.
Mike Sando (4:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by the chat this week. My pleasure as always.