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!
Terrance (St. Louis, MO)
What are the Rams' most important needs heading into tonight's draft? What is your gut feeling on who they take in the first round?
Mike Sando (12:58 PM)
Hi Terrance. Thanks for kicking off this 2013 NFL draft edition of the NFC West chat. I see safety, guard, receiver, running back and outside linebacker as need areas for the Rams. I would expect the team to use one of its first-round selections while making a strong effort to trade the other one for additional picks. The Rams have only 52 players on their roster. They need additional picks. I would think the team would get a safety or receiver with one of the first-rounders.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the 49ers first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?
Mike Sando (12:59 PM)
I don't know.
sam (folsom, ca)
Mike, The Niners keep everything so close to the vest... have you heard anything on what their approach is going to be? With so many picks will they be moving around to target a couple players or take some chances on the likes of Lattimore and Mathieu?
Mike Sando (1:00 PM)
I definitely expect the 49ers to move around. They could be in position to move up this year and still acquire picks for next year. When the draft ends, I think they will have selected help at defensive line, tight end and the secondary, starting at safety.
josh(buff) [via mobile]
i here alot of teams want to move down anything on 49ers moving up or trading some picks we draft all these guys and give them spots thx sando
Mike Sando (1:01 PM)
Adam Schefter reported that the 49ers are looking to trade up, presumably for a defensive lineman. That would make some sense on the surface. The 49ers have enough picks to trade up. They could use an impact defensive lineman for the long term. They would have an easier time finding one earlier in the draft than at No. 31.
How do you see the Niners grabbing if they trade up?SS or DT?
Mike Sando (1:03 PM)
My guess would be defensive line based on the overall value of that position. But I do not know if the 49ers have one of the safeties rated off the charts.
Last chance hypothetical for the draft. It's time for the Rams at 16. Austin went early, someone moved up to pick up Vaccaro, there was a run on OTs and nobody wants to move back up that high for one of the remaining QBs. Snead calls you and says "I don't know Sando, what do you think?"
Mike Sando (1:04 PM)
That's what happened last year and I told Les to take Michael Brockers. Haha. I'd consider one of the other safeties such as Eric Reid -- based on what I've read about him in the scouting reports, not based on my own scouting (I do not do scouting).
In general, why aren't more veteran players traded on draft day? It seems very rare in the NFL as opposed to the NBA where even stars can be traded on draft day.
Mike Sando (1:05 PM)
I don't know about the trade landscape in the NBA. Salary-cap implications come into play for some veterans in the NFL. We do sometimes see teams dump players they were going to release anyway. LenDale White comes to mind a few years ago.
Short-term me says Niners trade up in 2nd and address DL, S, TE with three high picks. Long-term me says the QBs in this draft will be in demand precisely where Niners have a couple of picks and they will parlay this into a '14 first rounder. Both sound like possible scenarios to you?
Mike Sando (1:06 PM)
Yeah, they have so many picks that I wonder if they could have it both ways. Maybe not address all three of those positions early, but why not get the defensive lineman and safety earlier, trade for a 2014 first-rounder and then get a tight end closer to the the middle rounds?
How is Richard Sherman viewed by journalists, scouts, and NFL personnel outside of Seattle?
Mike Sando (1:07 PM)
I think there's a perception he's a loudmouth player who lacks maturity. The reality is that he works hard, prepares extremely well and seems to have things together. But his penchant for speaking out trumps all that, creating a negative perception of him as just another cornerback with a mouth.
Gowazzu02 (Getting ready for the draft)
Really enjoyed your snarkyness in the all bloggers mock the other day!!! Do you think the 5 10 am starts for Seattle will be a big disadvantage in a highly competitive race for the division with SF who only has 1?
Mike Sando (1:10 PM)
Surely you've confused me for someone else. Haha. I do think the early starts are a disadvantage in those cases when Seattle faces potentially strong opponents. However, I think this Seattle team is good enough to battle overcome the disadvantage more of the time. We saw the 49ers do that in 2011 especially. San Diego has been a pretty good 10 a.m. PT team over the years. Pete Carroll does a good job with his approach to the early starts, I think. He doesn't whine about them.
Do you have any idea what draft Schneider is trying to get in the first round? Is he an IPA guy or is he more interested in something boring like a Miller Lite?
Mike Sando (1:12 PM)
John Schneider did joke about spending the first round across the street at Dino's bar, presumably tipping back a few cold drafts (draughts?). I don't think he's a beer snob.
Ricky M (Cashmere, WA)
Hey Mike, I know it's not really their respective styles but do you think the Hawks or Niners move up in this draft? With both rosters stacked the way they are, I have a hard time believing the Hawks will have 7-9 rooks make the team and San Fran has no chance whatsoever of carrying 11-13 freshmen. Your thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:13 PM)
I really don't think the Seahawks have enough picks to move up in a significant way. I'll be surprised if they move up. The 49ers have a lot more flexibility that way. It could make more sense for them. Both rosters are strong but there are always positions where these teams could upgrade some.
Gowazzu02 (Getting ready for the draft)
Do you think the "experts" will once again scoff at the Seahawks picks this year or will they learn that John Schneider is smarter then they are. And admit its probably going to work out like Sherman, Kam, Wilson, KJ etc.
Mike Sando (1:14 PM)
I definitely think Schneider and Pete Carroll have earned the benefit of the doubt and will get it from this point forward. People don't want to have their analyses thrown back in their faces, as the case was with Russell Wilson and other picks.
Do you see any NFC West teams trading any players for picks or trading for players?
Mike Sando (1:16 PM)
Arizona comes to mind as a possibility because there's a new coaching staff just getting to know the players on the roster. We saw Seattle's leadership make trades involving veteran players back in 2010, when John Schneider and Pete Carroll were new to the team. In Arizona, Steve Keim has been there a while, but not as GM. Bruce Arians is new. I don't know of any planned moves involving veterans but I'll be watching to see if the Cardinals in particular have plans that way.
Steve (Lakeville, MN)
Is there a rule that blocks a team from using their compensatory pick on a player then trading that player to another team during the draft?
Mike Sando (1:17 PM)
I do not know the answer to that question. The picks themselves cannot be traded, of course. I know of no rule preventing a team from trading one of the players it picks.
After the 49ers get done with the draft, will you and Williamson finally admit they are the most talented team in the NFL?
Mike Sando (1:18 PM)
We'll definitely reassess after the draft. The Rams have two first-rounders as well. Seattle has very little draft capital. Perceptions could change.
With the 49ers having so much success in the previous 2 seasons, will teams be less likely to trade picks with them?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
I doubt it. These trades serve both teams. Every team will make deals that benefit themselves.
Any chances of the Rams trading down the #16 pick if Austin is not available. There are a couple of WR's that could be available with the 22nd, and like you said the Rams need bodies. If they trade the 16th, what would they get?
Mike Sando (1:19 PM)
Yeah, I think it would make sense for the Rams to use one of the first-rounders and then move back from the other slot to get additional picks. The team has eight choices but could really use 10 or more.
Gowazzu02 (Getting ready for the draft)
Did you catch the Elway to Marino 30 for 30? Great watch. Man that draft was LOADED.
Mike Sando (1:21 PM)
Yes, and loved it. Kevin Seifert and I were discussing Wednesday how the perceived lack of top QBs in the 1984 draft increased the urgency to draft the good ones available in 1983. It's looking like the 2012 draft could be closer to 1983, while the 2013 draft could be closer to 1984.
Aaron (Des Moines, IA)
Do you recall the closest to the real thing "mock" draft from either Kiper or McShay? I read all the mocks each year but, unless I missed one along the way, I don't recall there every being a "perfect bracket" if you will.
Mike Sando (1:24 PM)
There are too many possible combinations to accurately predict how a draft will go. Regular readers of the block know there are 263,130,836,933,693,530,167,218,012,160,000,000 possible combinations in the first round if we knew which 32 players would be first-round selections. We might be able in a good year to predict, say, 28 of the 32 players who will become first-round picks. There is simply no way to get the order right. You would have a better shot playing the lottery.
My guess is that the Cards would pick Dion Jordan if he fell to them but somehow, I feel that he's a perfect fit for Ray Horton in Cleveland. What do you think?
Mike Sando (1:25 PM)
The Cardinals need more help on offense than defense, by most accounts. With that in mind, I think it would be ideal if the team leaned toward drafting an offensive player, all else equal.
Alright mike which FO would you take if it could only be one. SF or SEA?
Mike Sando (1:27 PM)
Great question. I think it's nearly impossible to beat the connection between John Schneider and Pete Carroll. They have a great thing going. The 49ers just lost Tom Gamble to Philadelphia. So, I might lean toward Seattle but that is with all due respect to Trent Baalke, who has done a great job.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Mike, as a Vikings fan, I'd like your opinion on the Seahawks' signing of Antoine Winfield. Winfield was one of my favorite Vikings players for years. Do you feel he will have a starting role in the Seahawks' defense?
Mike Sando (1:29 PM)
I was skeptical about a team adding a nearly 36-year-old corner who had been on the market for a month. In general, that age-to-availability ratio suggests the team will get nothing in return for the player. However, I do think there is evidence Antoine Winfield can play well from the slot at this stage of his career. Seattle says that is where Winfield will play. So, with that in mind, I would say this could be a good move for the Seahawks.
Most seem to be saying this is a weak first round - do you think that will keep teams from trying to trade back into the end of the first round
Mike Sando (1:31 PM)
That could hinge upon the quarterback situation. I could see a team moving into the late first round if the top quarterbacks were available.
Tribe WOOOT (7-9 Miles south of Seattle)
Would the Rams possibly take two safeties in the first round?
Mike Sando (1:32 PM)
Our NFL scout, Matt Williamson, said he could justify going that route. I'd be quite surprised. Odds are against it. I do remember the 49ers taking two offensive linemen in the first round a few years ago, and that worked out well. Just think it's tough taking two safeties after spending big for Cortland Finnegan and using a second-rounder for Janoris Jenkins. The Rams have too many other needs.
Let?s say the Rams draft really well again this year, and their current young players round into form entering their 2nd and 3rd years. Do three teams get into the playoffs out of the NFC West next year? Feels good to have the possibility of meaningful inter division battles again. It had been awhile!!
Mike Sando (1:34 PM)
I'd say outside chance of it. Tell me how Sam Bradford plays and we might have our answer. This needs to be a "next step" season for him in my view.
Newell (Queen Creek)
What do you know about the defensive system Bowles will be implementing for the Cardinals?CArdhawkninerrams
Mike Sando (1:35 PM)
They have indicated they will be "multiple" in their approach to formations. They have indicated Darnell Dockett will have more of a traditional 4-3 role in some cases. I would expect less of a pure 3-4.
Ken(AZ) [via mobile]
I'm thinking the Cardinals will trade down to still get a guard. What are your thoughts?
Mike Sando (1:38 PM)
That would be a good scenario for the team, in my view. The Cardinals have seven selections and could use more. This doesn't seem to be a draft where there are clearly defined players at the top. GM Steve Keim indicated there were quite a few talented prospects with thin resumes in terms of experience and game production. So, why not move back? The question is, who will want to move up into that spot? I'm interested in seeing how the teams value the quarterbacks in particular. Conventional wisdom says this is a poor draft for QBs, and there might not be any taken in the first half of the first round or even in the first round entirely. But we've seen in the past teams will overdraft that position because of its importance.
Percy Harvin (Sunny Seattle)
I know I'm a good player and can be special. But damn, am I 11 million good?
Mike Sando (1:39 PM)
High price. I think with Russell Wilson there, and with Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell there, and with Sidney Rice there, this can work well -- better for Seattle than it worked for Minnesota.
Seen some mocks sending Denard Robinson to the hawks. Thoughts on how he would fit?
Mike Sando (1:41 PM)
Scouts say he would be a jack-of-all-trades type player and maybe a luxury pick. Later in the draft, why not?
Do you think Harvin stays healthy for Seattle? Tell us 49er fans the Boldin trade was better. Hey may be getting old but his production hasn't slowed.
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
Those are two totally different moves. As for health, I cannot predict injuries.
With this year's draft being so weak early, but having more value picks in the later rounds. Do you think it would be better for the 49ers to stay put, and work on trying to get early picks for next year's draft?
Mike Sando (1:42 PM)
That is my initial impression, yes. But that all depends on which players are available at a higher slot, and how the 49ers have those players ranked. It's hard to critique moves without knowing how good the players are going to be relative to one another, right?
Mike, from your experience, have you noticed a pattern with 49ers fans' general inability to spell or create grammatically sound sentences?
Mike Sando (1:43 PM)
No. What I have noticed is a hypersensitivity and a sense of insecurity among some fans of both teams. It's like one team's fans is threatened by any potentially positive development for the other team.
Do u see awesomeguy playing safety if we dont address that need early?
Mike Sando (1:44 PM)
No, do not see Nnamdi Asomugha playing safety for the 49ers.
Rob (Augusta, Ga)
It seems like Chancellor took a deal that could be said to be less than what it was thought he could get. Do you think he got what his market value truly was or gave a discount to stay on the Hawks?
Mike Sando (1:47 PM)
I think the deal works for both sides. Kam Chancellor gets financial security one year before free agency and coming off a season in which injuries slowed him. Seattle gets one of its core players re-signed, freeing up the franchise tag for others, if necessary. I really do not agree with the way these extensions are valued. Chancellor is said to have gotten $7 million per year by those who would divide new money by the number of years in the extension (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). But the bottom line to me is that Chancellor gets about $29 million for the 2013 through 2017 seasons, which works out to less than $6 million per season.
Brandon (Pullman, WA)
For all the talk of the Seahawks not changing their offensive philosophy, still being a run first team, do you get the impressions that they will be quicker to abandon the run if need be than they were in 2012?
Mike Sando (1:49 PM)
I think we will see more enterprising game plans than what we saw from the Seahawks early in the 2012 season. But we already saw those game plans late last season. I expect a continuation from the second half of last season, with changes relating more to Percy Harvin's arrival and Russell Wilson's development than to philosophy. Personnel dictates approach.
Will SF address their WR situation in the draft? After Crabtree, who will be a FA shortly, and Boldin, who is old, who do they have long-term? Mario and KW are both coming off injury. If they want to keep pace with Seattle they need to address their WR situation.
Mike Sando (1:50 PM)
The 49ers have 13 picks. Odds are, they'll take a receiver somewhere along the way. I think the team is fine at receiver this season, but there are some potential issues in 2014 with Anquan Boldin becoming a free agent. The 49ers can feel much better if A.J. Jenkins has a good 2013 season.
WaterTribe_Nav (Davis, CA)
Really surprised with the lack of moves from the Rams this offseason. Apparently there were rumors about them shopping the #22 pick. With Amendola and Jackson gone, I thought they would be more aggressive in getting quality players, instead of moving back in the draft every year.
Mike Sando (1:51 PM)
It's pretty clear the Rams are sticking to a three-year plan here.
Ben (San Jose)
Mike, I think that the Niners should look at DB after their primary needs. I think they struggled when they faced teams that went 4 WR on them. What do you think?
Mike Sando (1:55 PM)
That sometimes speaks to the nickel pass rush as well. Improve that and the secondary looks better.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Unrelated to questions posed here, it is looking as though Mel Kiper Jr. has gotten at least the last three first-round picks right for the Cardinals. I know he also had Beanie Wells projected to Arizona in a March 12 mock from 2009 but I'm checking to see if he had Wells there in his final 2009 mock. Update: Nope, he changed it on his final mock.
Mike Sando (1:58 PM)
Have a good day. See you on the blog.