GRADING THE DRAFT: NFC WEST

 

Now that the dust is settling and the "priority" is being take out of priority free agents, I want to reflect back on each teams' draft class and share initial thoughts. The number in the parentheses next to the player names is where they were selected vs. where they were on my final big board; a positive number means value, negative number means reach. I added the total numbers up for a total grade for each team, and it means absolutely nothing besides letting me know how I off I was in my evaluation for each players, so take it for what it's worth.

 

While this article focuses on the AFC South, you can click on a different division below.

 

AFC West | AFC South | AFC North | AFC East || NFC West | NFC South | NFC North | NFC East

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS - B (-561)

QB Josh Rosen (+4)

WR Christian Kirk (+18)

C Mason Cole (-1)

RB Chase Edmonds (-110)

CB Christian Campbell (-43)

OT Korey Cunningham (-429)

 

Notable UDFAs: QB Chad Kanoff, FB Austin Ramesh, WR Trent Sherfield, DE Alec James, LB Frank Ginda, CB Deatrick Nichols, SS Ezekiel Turner

 

Like the Browns, Jets, and Bills, this whole draft class hinges on the success of Josh Rosen. I loved that they moved up to get their franchise QB of the future and like it even more that they didn't give up much draft capital to move up to the 10th pick to do so. Personally, I think Rosen is smart enough ton conquer Mike McCoy's offense and will be a great fit in the desert. I really liked the selection of Christian Kirk in the second round not only to give Rosen a good, young WR to grow with, but also gives them a bona fide return specialist. Mason Cole should challenge AQ Shipley for a starting center position and is another important relationship for Josh Rosen to grow with. As much as I loved the first two days of the Cardinals draft, day three was just lukewarm for me. Chase Edmonds was a reach for how oft-injured he is, and if you get hurt at Fordham, chances are you'll struggle staying healthy in a 16-game NFL season. I liked the Christian Campbell selection and he can challenge for a starting CB spot opposite Patrick Peterson. Korey Cunningham doesn't do anything for me as a prospect, but as a late 7th round pick, I won't hold it against them much. In free agency, Austin Ramesh is a dude at fullback and Alec James and Zeke Turner should have a good shot of making it through final cuts. After an A first day, I'm giving the class a B overall simply because they have an enormous hole at middle linebacker that they didn't address, and that is a crucial position in Steve Wilk's defense.

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS - C- (-810)

OT Joseph Noteboom (-68)

C Brian Allen (-164)

DE John Franklin-Myers (-325)

LB Micah Kiser (+13)

LB Obo Okoronkwo (+96)

RB John Kelly (+64)

DE Sebastian Joseph (NR)

LB Trevon Young (-103)

SS Travin Howard (-349)

LB Justin Lawler (+26)

 

Notable UDFAs: WR Steven Mitchell Jr. WR Ricky Jeune, DT McKay Murphy, LB Tegray Scales, CB Curtis Mikell

 

The Rams draft was riddle with a lot of "man, what?" picks followed by some "hell yeah!" picks. Joseph Noteboom is a nice swing tackle prospect but needs to add some nastiness to his disposition to succeed in the NFL. I realize John Sullivan is old, but Brian Allen was a big reach at 111, but if Sean McVay feels he is a good fit for his offense, so be it. John Franklin-Myers was one of those curious picks that I felt was more suited for a late round project as he is a raw player at a position that is already pretty strong for the Rams. They next three selections were slam dunks. Micah Kiser will fill the Alec Ogletree nicely and is a player who will give them as much production as Ogletree at a much cheaper price tag. Stealing Okoronkwo in the 5th round is an absolute steal and may be my favorite pick in the draft in terms of value, player, and scheme fit. Wade Phillips is going to turn Obo into a star as an edge rusher in his scheme. John Kelly is an excellent complimentary back to Todd Gurley and gives them some much need depth at the position in case Gurley goes down. Sebastian Joseph wasn't on my 800-plus player board so I can't really comment on him, but I will say that adding yet another defensive lineman probably wasn't necessary and someone will be the odd man out during final cuts. Trevon Young is a traits guy who didn't have outstanding production at Louisville but has some nice tools to develop as another edge rusher, which is a position of dire need. Travin Howard is a 'tweener LB/S hybrid similar to Mark Barron, so it will be interesting to see where they have him slotted in the depth chart, and Justin Lawler just ins't a great scheme fit for me and will struggle making the final team as a result. Outside of Tegray Scales, I don't see any of their 7 UDFAs challenging for a spot. I would have liked to see them add a TE in a loaded class, and two projects on the defensive line mixed in with more reaches than values give them a C, with the Okoronkwo, Kiser, and Kelly picks saving them from a much worse grade.

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - B (-522)

OT Mike McGlinchey (-6)

WR Dante Pettis (-32)

LB Fred Warner (-92)

CB Tarvarius Moore (-223)

DE Kentavius Street (-93)

CB DJ Reed (-37)

SS Marcell Harris (-145)

DT Jullian Taylor (-14)

WR Richie James (+120)

 

Notable UDFAs: RB Jeffrey Wilson, WR Steven Dunbar, TE Ross Dwelley, C Coleman Shelton, CB Tarvarus McFadden

 

Weird draft. I'm still digesting whether I like it or not, but let's break it down pick by pick. I didn't see them taking Mike McGlinchey after a Joe Staley extension and a strong 2017 from Trenton Brown, but I can totally understand that McGlinchey is a better fit than Brown at right tackle with the type of up-tempo offense that Kyle Shanahan wants to run. Dante Pettis is a reliable route runner who should give them a much-needed stud at punt returner and should jive really well with Jimmy Garoppolo no matter where he lines up in the WR rotation. Fred Warner is a nice scheme fit as a run and hit linebacker for Robert Saleh and gives them some insurance in case Reuben Foster's legal issues hinder him. I do know a pick I don't like is selecting Tarvarius Moore in the 3rd round and converting him from safety to cornerback based on traits. I don't like projects like these within the first two days of the draft, but if you would have swapped Moore with Tarvarus McFadden from my board, it would have been a much easier pill to swallow. Kentavius Street off an ACL gives me Trent Baalke flashbacks, but he is a tailor-made fit to play the strong side defensive end spot in this scheme and should be a productive player when he returns from injury. DJ Reed was a player I was really high on in my evaluation and is a really good nickel prospect in the NFL, also challenging for kick return duties early. The 49ers took another player coming off a major injury in Marcell Harris, who will be a nice strong safety behind Jaquiski Tartt if he can regain his form. Jullian Taylor was an intriguing 3-technique prospect and decent value in the 7th round to throw in the mix with Sheldon Day. Richie James was probably my favorite pick from this class. This dude is ultra-competitive and I would be surprised if he doesn't make the final roster and take snaps away from Trent Taylor in the slot by mid-season. The 49ers spent some serious cash on Tarvarus McFadden in free agency and his length and ability to play press coverage is a good match for this defensive scheme, and Coleman Shelton and Ross Dwellwey could potentially make the roster. Now that I wrote this out, I think I do like this draft as a whole. B.

 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - C+ (-409)

RB Rashaad Penny (-38)

DE Rasheem Green (-6)

TE Will Dissly (-68)

LB Shaquem Griffin (+36)

SS Tre Flowers (-104)

P Michael Dickson (-91)

OT Jamarco Jones (+77)

LB Jacob Martin (-101)

QB Alex McGough (-114)

 

Notable UDFAs: WR Ka'Raun White, OG Skyler Phillips, C Brad Lundblade, DT Poona Ford, DE Marcell Frazier, LB Jacob Pugh, LS Tanner Carew

 

Every year I give John Schneider a bad grade and every year he makes me eat my words. So let's keep tradition alive, shall we 12s? I thought Rashaad Penny was one of the more NFL-ready backs in the crop, but 27 was too high for my liking. Rasheem Green is an excellent scheme fit and will fill Michael Bennett's role on the defensive line. Pick 120 was way too high for a run blocking tight end, despite the need for one following Luke WIllson's departure. I LOVED the Shaquem Griffin selection and he is the ideal sam linebacker for the defense. Tre Flowers was a prototype strong safety with his length and speed, but boy does he need to work on taking better angles in run support. And really, John? Trading up for a punter? I know Michael Dickson is a really good specialist, but you should never give up draft capital to move up for a punter. As bad as that was, scooping up Jamarco Jones to perhaps be your immediate starter at right tackle or at worst your future left tackle behind Duane Brown was a nice move. Jacob Martin was a late raiser on draft boards and the kid could play, but they'll need to decide whether they are going to add some weight to him to compete at LEO or have him compete with Barkvious Mingo and Shaquem Griffin at sam LB. Lastly, the their best pick of the draft in Alex McGough. Watch your ass, Russell. From the free agents, Skyler Phillips and Brad Lundblade both have a real shot to make the final squad, especially since they failed to address guard in the draft. Poona Ford will be a nice addition as a penetrating nose tackle and Marcell Frazier could challenge Marcus Smith for a roster spot. In summary, first round reach for RB and trade up for punter was bad, but everything else was pretty solid, evening out to a slightly above average grade.

 

 

 

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