NFL Draft Grades – NFC West

The Seahawks picked three players before anyone else in the division even got on the clock and this played a large part in why I think they were the best in the West.

It won’t be for another two to three years before we can truly review these prospects but what was clear to see is that different approaches were made as some of these teams sorted out their needs and others just went for the best player available on the board at the time.

Let’s take a look at the NFC West grades:

Arizona Cardinals

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 2.55: Colorado State TE Trey McBride; 3.87: San Diego State DE Cameron Thomas; 3.100: Cincinnati EDGE Myjai Sanders; 6.201: USC RB Keaontay Ingram; 6.215: Virginia Tech OG Lecitus Smith; 7.244: Valdosta State DB Christian Matthew; 7.256: Penn State LB Jesse Luketa; 7.257: Oklahoma OG Marquis Hayes.

My Verdict

The Cardinals were one of the teams that dropped a day one blockbuster trade as they acquired Hollywood Brown, costing them their first round capital and ultimately a much needed elite cornerback.

The Cardinals did take the consensus number one tight end off the board. This is a move that raised eyebrows but it makes sense as Maxx Williams struggles to stay healthy and McBride will offer Ertz some serious competition for that starter spot.

A move I like a lot for Arizona is Cameron Thomas in the third round. The Cardinals have lost Chandler Jones in the off-season and Thomas could fit in as an OLB immediately. A player I interviewed ahead of the draft Lecitus Smith is also a player to keep an eye on, he is a genuine star in the making and can’t believe he fell to the sixth round.

The Cardinals drafted okay but the trade for Marquise ‘Hollywood” Brown was definitely a Hollywood price to pay, especially when you look at what the Eagles paid for A.J. Brown. Overall I have to rate the Cardinals draft a B-.

Los Angeles Rams

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 3.104: Wisconsin OG Logan Bruss; 4.142: South Carolina State CB Decobie Durant; 5.164: Notre Dame RB Kyren Williams; 6.211: UCLA S Quentin Lake; 6.212: Georgia CB Derion Kendrick; 7.235: Montana State LB Daniel Hardy; 7.253: Kansas State S Russ Yeast; 7.261: Michigan State OT A.J. Arcuri.

My Verdict

The Rams are a team that ultimately won the draft after proving that their win now mode was worth it.

The Rams are a team that has a habit of unearthing gems and I think this year they may have one or two on their hands after selecting Decobie Durant and Daniel Hardy.

Furthermore, they found great value by picking up Kyren Williams in the 5th round and initially the depth chart doesn’t make great reading however with Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson both missing time with injuries this will see Williams become useful. Additionally, out of the backfield the Rams only threw to their running backs 53 times last year – 21 of those were to Sony Michel who is no longer with the team, Williams as a pass catching back can add a whole new dimension to the playbook.

Despite winning the Superbowl in win now mode (A*) I am grading on the draft itself therefore it’s a C.

San Francisco 49ers

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 2-61: USC EDGE Drake Jackson; 3-93: LSU RB Tyrion Davis-Price; 3-105: SMU WR Danny Gray; 4-134: Texas-San Antonio OG Spencer Burford; 5-172: Toledo CB Samuel Womack; 6-187: Fordham OT Nick Zakelj; 6-220: UCF DT Kalia Davis; 6-221: Penn State CB Tariq Castro-Fields; 7-262: Iowa State QB Brock Purdy.

My Verdict

The 49ers tend to find good value in drafts gone by however a few selections here don’t fill me with confidence. Tyrion Davis-Price with a third round pick seeme expensive and Nick Zakelj looked outclassed at the Senior Bowl, time will tell whether the 49ers keep finding value out of players not many others were too high on.

One move I am a fan of is Drake Jackson. Outside of the top tier edge rushers of the class this is a player that stood out. He is a player who has the potential to make an impact day one and become a dependable player for years to come. Third day pick Tariq Castro-Fields is a player to keep an eye out for as he has the potential to explode.

The 49ers had a lot of their 2022 capital tied up from acquiring Trey Lance last year. We are still waiting to see if it pays off but overall this draft is a C+.

Seattle Seahawks

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 1-9: Mississippi State OT Charles Cross; 2-40: Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe; 2-41: Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III; 3-72: Washington State OT Abraham Lucas; 4-109: Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant; 5-153: Texas-San Antonio CB Tariq Woolen; 5-158: Ohio State EDGE Tyreke Smith; 7-229: Rutgers WR Bo Melton; 7-233: Lenoir Rhyne WR Dareke Young.

My Verdict

This is the most important draft in recent Seahawks history. After losing Russell Wilson we were waiting to see whether they would go for a QB but it appears as though they are happy to roll with Drew Lock, Geno Smith and Jacob Eason.

I think it’s safe to say that Kenneth Walker’s arrival signals the end for Chris Carson and I’d expect Walker to be the Seahawks starting running back ahead of Rashaad Penny by the end of the season. After all, Walker is a player who I didn’t have too far behind Breece Hall in my pre draft rankings. I do worry though that a coach who likes to run the ball has two tackles who aren’t great at blocking.

The Seahawks did a great job of picking up one of the biggest pre draft risers, Boye Mafe out of Minnesota. This is a player who will fill what was Seattle’s biggest need at defensive end, the Seahawks ranked 20th in pass rushing last season which simply not good enough and Mafe will improve this instantly.

Overall, a rather safe draft throughout but I am surprised they didn’t target a Quarterback especially as a lot of QBs dropped down the boards B+.

That’s it for the NFC North. Which grades do you agree/disagree with? You can follow Luke on Twitter @MCRsBlue to keep up with his work. Keep your eyes peeled for morearticles from our great team, too!

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