The NFC West fell silent for a few years after the San Francisco 49ers collapsed. It was the Seahawks division, with the exception of a few flash years from the Arizona Cardinals. But last year, the Rams emerged from the shadows and took the top spot within the division.
And even more interestingly, after a trade deadline deal that saw the Patriots ship beloved backup Jimmy Garoppolo to the Niners, San Francisco went on an absurd winning streak to close out the season and hint that the 49ers may be back.
Then there is the retooling in Seattle, that saw the team shake up the Legion of Boom. Cornerback Richard Sherman was released and he signed on with the Niners, partially in an effort to seek revenge on his old squad. With all this exciting turnover in the NFC West, how else did the teams add to the equation over draft weekend? Well the answer is below…
Arizona Cardinals: A
1.) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
2.) Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
3.) Mason Cole, C, Michigan
4.) Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham
6.) Chris Campbell, CB, Penn St.
7.) Korey Cunningham, OT, Cincinnati
Entering the offseason the Arizona Cardinals said they were going to be aggressive in addressing their quarterback situation. Well, they did just that. The Cards traded up to the No. 10 spot and selected Rosen. And most interestingly, they didn’t have to give up a lot to move up five spots, only handing over a third- and fifth-round choice. Rosen, is arguably the best pure passer in the draft, but questions about his character bumped the other top prospects above him. With veteran leadership like Larry Fitzgerald in house, I doubt Rosen’s character will be an issue. And speaking of the future Hall-of-Famer, he finally has another quality receiving partner in Kirk. Kirk, isn’t the biggest target, but he makes plays and, really, what more can you ask for? He is a consistent playmaker and will really benefit having the opportunity to grow with Rosen. Cole and Cunningham provide needed depeth along the line. Cole, could start sooner than later. Edmonds, is a small back, but hyper productive. He should excel in a third down role.
LA Rams: C
3.) Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU
4.) Brian Allen, C, Michigan St.
4.) John Franklin-Myers, DT, Stephen F. Austin
5.) Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
5.) Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma
6.) John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
6.) Jamil Demby, OG, Maine
6.) Sebastian Joseph, DT, Rutgers
6.) Trevon Young, OLB, Louisville
7.) Travin Howard, LB, TCU
7.) Justin Lawler, DE, SMU
The Rams traded their first-round choice to the Patriots for Brandin Cooks, which left them out of the draft until the end of Day Two. When finally they got on the board they reached, to say the least, in selecting Noteboom. While he is massive, but struggles versus speed rushers. He may have to move inside. Adding Allen and Demby later on Day Three, shows how much depth the Rams wanted and needed to build along their offensive line. The line isn’t getting any younger and they need to develop some players to keep Jared Goff upright. The Rams really hit it out of the park in Round 5 with the additions of Kiser and Okoronkwo. Kiser is the ideal thumper for the Rams 3-4 defensive scheme. He should be an immediate help. Okoronkwo, should similarly help albeit on the outside. He lived in the opponent’s backfield the past two seasons at OU, raking up 17 sacks and 29.5 tackles-for-loss. He should excel under defensive coordinator Wade Phillip’s tutelage.
San Francisco 49ers: C
1.) Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
2.) Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
3.) Fred Warner, LB, BYU
3.) Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Miss
4.) Kentavius Street, DE, NC State
5.) DJ Reed, CB, Kansas St.
6.) Marcell Harris, S, Florida
7.) Jullian Taylor, DT, Temple
7.) Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee
Mike McGlinchey, is a good pick. With a young, new franchise quarterback under center like Jimmy Garoppolo, you have to protect him. McGlinchey, could start on right side and eventually could play on the left side. Either way, Garoppolo now has a pair of bookend tackles protecting him. He also had a new weapon in Dante Pettis. Pettis, is a playmaker who can be a big factor in the return game as well. He is a good compliment to Pierre Garcon. With the the 22nd ranked pass defense in the league last year, the Niners clearly wanted to bolster their secondary. Moore, Reed, and Harris all have the potential to contribute. Warner, is a needed addition to the 49ers linebacking corps. He is a bit undersized, but can fly around the field and drop into coverage. A good class, but one seemingly with reaches all over the board.
Seattle Seahawks: C+
1.) Rashad Penny, RB, San Diego St.
3.) Rasheem Greene, DE, USC
4.) Will Dissly, TE, Washington
5.) Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
5.) Tre Flowers, S, Oklahoma St.
5.) Michael Dickson, P, Texas
5.) Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio St.
6.) Jake Martin, DE, Temple
7.) Alex McGough, QB, FIU
I would really like to give this draft class a higher grade, but the offensive line has been in shambles the past few years and spending just a single Day Three draft pick to address it won’t get the job done. That being said Jones is a great value addition. He started 27 games at left tackle for the Buckeyes, that is consistency the Seahawks need up front. Maybe he plays on the right side in the NFL, but regardless he has starter upside. The selection of Penny in Round 1 was surprising. He is a big back who rushed for over 2,000 yards in his final college season. For a back his size, his production in the passing game is a considerable bonus. The Seahawks moved on from inside/outside defensive lineman Michael Bennett and replaced him with Greene, a near clone of Bennett. Greene, had 16 sacks over the past two seasons and could really excel in Seattle’s scheme. Griffin, a two year starter at UCF, has the ability to really excel. He has good awareness and can drop into coverage. He had an absurd 18.5 sacks and 10 interceptions over his final two seasons.