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NFC West NFL Draft Grades

Steve Shoup

Draft Grades are in….        gregrobinson

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS:

Round 1, Pick 27 (27) (From Saints)         

Deone Bucannon             SS           Washington St.         

GRADE:  B+       

 

Round 2, Pick 20 (52)     

Troy Niklas          TE           Notre Dame       

GRADE:  A-

 

Round 3, Pick 20 (84)     

Kareem Martin DE           North Carolina

GRADE:  B+

 

Round 3, Pick 27 (91) (From Saints)         

John Brown        WR         Pittsburg St. (KS)

GRADE:  C+

 

Round 4, Pick 20 (120)   

Logan Thomas   QB          Virginia Tech     

GRADE:  B-

 

Round 5, Pick 20 (160)   

Ed Stinson           DE           Alabama      

GRADE:  B-  

               

Round 6, Pick 20 (196)   

Walt Powell        WR         Murray St.

GRADE:  C

 

OVERALL GRADE:

ANALYSIS:

The Cardinals didn’t come into the draft with many pressing needs, but they did have some areas where they could use some help. The Cardinals addressed those needs first and walked away with a couple players who could really help them this season. First round pick safety Deone Buccannon wasn’t considered a first rounder by many this year, but he is clearly a very talented corner and in most years would probably be in consideration for a first round pick. Buccannon should start right away and give the Cardinals a boost to the back end of their defense. In the 2nd round the Cardinals added TE Troy Niklas. Though the Cardinals have strong receivers their tight end play hasn’t been as strong. Niklas should start right away and be a strong inline tight end in the Cardinals offense. Niklas isn’t just a blocker as he’s a very good receiver and is similar to former Bruce Arian’s TE Heath Miller. In the 3rd round the Cardinals added DE/OLB Kareem Martin, who should be able to stand up and be a quality pass rusher for the Cardinals.

With an extra 3rd rounder the Cardinals reached for speedy receiver John Brown, who is pretty raw overall. In the 4th the Cardinals took another intriguing project in QB Logan Thomas. Thomas has a big arm and is incredibly athletic, but right now he’s a mess mechanically. He could be an interesting quarterback though to work with Arians and if Carson Palmer can stay around for 2 more years, Thomas could have a chance to develop into the starter here. Defensive end Ed Stinson was a nice pick up in the 5th round as he is a perfect fit for the Cardinals scheme.

Overall the Cardinals landed a good starting caliber safety and really good inline tight end, a solid pass rusher and an interesting project at quarterback. If they are right about John Brown and he can develop into a slot receiver/deep threat for Arizona this will turn out to be a very successful draft for them.

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS:

Round 1, Pick 30 (30)     

Jimmie Ward      SS           Northern Illinois

GRADE:  A-

 

Round 2, Pick 25 (57) (From Chargers through Dolphins)               

Carlos Hyde        RB           Ohio St.             

GRADE:  A

 

Round 3, Pick 6 (70) (From Jaguars)         

Marcus Martin  C             USC        5.6         

GRADE:  A-

 

Round 3, Pick 13 (77) (From Titans)         

Chris Borland     ILB          Wisconsin           

GRADE: A

 

Round 3, Pick 36 (100) (Compensatory selection)             

Brandon Thomas              OT          Clemson      

GRADE:  A

 

Round 4, Pick 6 (106) (From Browns)      

Bruce Ellington  WR         South Carolina  

GRADE:  B+

 

Round 4, Pick 29 (129)   

Dontae Johnson               CB           N.C. State       

GRADE:  B   

 

Round 5, Pick 10 (150) (From Lions through Jaguars)       

Aaron Lynch       DE           South Florida               

GRADE:  B-

 

Round 5, Pick 30 (170)   

Keith Reaser      CB           Florida Atlantic

GRADE:  B-

               

Round 6, Pick 4 (180) (From Browns)      

Kenneth Acker  CB           SMU     

GRADE:  B-

               

Round 7, Pick 28 (243) (From Panthers)

Kaleb Ramsey    DE           Boston College

GRADE:  C+

 

Round 7, Pick 30 (245)   

Trey Millard        FB           Oklahoma

GRADE:  C+

 

OVERALL GRADE: A+

ANALYSIS:

The 49ers entered the draft with few needs a ridiculous number of picks in the early rounds. They traded up and down this draft stockpiling picks (including some for next year) and filling their needs. In the first three rounds they added defenders safety Jimmie Ward and Chris Borland. Ward could push for a starting job this year, but will likely see a lot of time in the subpackage covering the slot. Borland could help replace Navarro Bowman if he’s not fully recovered from his knee injury. San Francisco also added running back Carlos Hyde, C Marcus Martin and G/T Brandon Thomas. Hyde should complement Frank Gore this year and could be in line to take over the starting role next season when Gore’s contract could prove to be too pricey for them. Martin could push Daniel Kilgore for the open center spot and Brandon Thomas will be “redshirted” this year as he recovers from an ACL injury. He likely would have been a top 50 pick before the injury so the 49ers get tremendous future value here.

In the mid-to-late rounds the 49ers bolstered their defensive depth taking numerous corners and front 7 players. It’s an interesting mix of guys with potential and a couple other guys coming off injuries who could have been overlooked. Though most of the picks were geared to the defensive side of the ball the 49ers also added WR Bruce Ellington, to bolster their WR corps.

Overall the 49ers had one of the best drafts grabbing a ton of value while filling needs and restocking the depth of this roster. Despite all the talent they added the 49ers may not see much early impact, but that is mainly due to their roster being fairly set right now.

 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS:

 

Round 2, Pick 13 (45) (From Lions)           

Paul Richardson                WR         Colorado             

GRADE:  B

 

Round 2, Pick 32 (64)     

Justin Britt           OT          Missouri             

GRADE:  C

 

Round 4, Pick 8 (108) (From Vikings)       

Cassius Marsh   DE           UCLA                

GRADE:  C+  

 

Round 4, Pick 23 (123) (From Bengals)   

Kevin Norwood                WR         Alabama        

GRADE:  B-         

 

Round 4, Pick 32 (132)   

Kevin Pierre-Louis           OLB        Boston College

GRADE:   B-

 

Round 5, Pick 32 (172)   

Jimmy Staten     DT           Middle Tennessee St.   

GRADE:  C-

 

Round 6, Pick 23 (199) (From Bengals)   

Garrett Scott      OT          Marshall         

GRADE:  C

 

Round 6, Pick 32 (208)   

Eric Pinkins          FS           San Diego St.     

GRADE:  C

               

Round 7, Pick 12 (227) (From Lions)

Kiero Small          RB           Arkansas

GRADE:  C

 

OVERALL GRADE: C

ANALYSIS:

It’s hard to knock the Seattle Seahawks and their draft strategy, but Seattle had an odd draft even by their standards. Though in recent years Seattle has taken some surprises and sleepers in the draft they were mainly limited to the 5th-7th rounds. Early on in the draft they have landed a number of quality names who were widely considered to be in that range. This year that didn’t so much seem to be the case. Seattle traded out of the first round and moved back again, before selecting WR Paul Richardson in the middle of the 2nd round. Though Richardson is a solid pick, there were multiple better name WR’s on the board when they selected. At the end of the 2nd round the Seahawks made a big reach grabbing Missouri OT Justin Britt who most people had a 5th-7th round grade on. Britt fills a need, but other tackles were still on the board and it’s very likely Britt would have been available at least 2 rounds later.

Seattle did have some nice pick-ups with their 3 4th round picks in defensive end Cassius Marsh, WR Kevin Norwood and LB Kevin Pierre-Louis. All three fit needs and were valued in that area. While all are solid picks, none of the scream upside for the Seahawks and will likely all be back-ups or role players going forward. In the later rounds the Seahawks took a number of guys who weren’t widely considered draftable prospects.

It was an odd draft for Seattle and one that figures to be lacking in impact for the Seahawks. While they had to bolster their depth, even that is questionable as most of these guys appear to be projects. This was a deep draft class and Seattle more than any team just didn’t take advantage of that. Maybe they will be right when it’s all said and done, but right now this is a class that could be a big miss for them going forward.

 

 

ST. LOUIS RAMS:

 

Round 1, Pick 2 (2) (From Redskins)        

Greg Robinson  OT          Auburn

GRADE:  A+

 

Round 1, Pick 13 (13)     

Aaron Donald    DT           Pittsburgh          

GRADE:  A+

 

Round 2, Pick 9 (41) (From Bills)

Lamarcus Joyner              CB           Florida St.          

GRADE:  A-

 

Round 3, Pick 11 (75)     

Tre Mason          RB           Auburn

GRADE:  A-

 

Round 4, Pick 10 (110)

Mo Alexander   SS           Utah St.               

GRADE:  C+        

 

Round 6, Pick 12 (188)   

E.J. Gaines          CB           Missouri              

GRADE:   B+    

 

Round 6, Pick 38 (214) (Compensatory selection)             

Garrett Gilbert  QB          SMU     

GRADE:  C+

 

Round 7, Pick 11 (226)   

Mitchell Van Dyk              OT                          Portland St.

GRADE:  C

 

Round 7, Pick 26 (241) (From Colts)         

C.B. Bryant          FS           Ohio St.               

GRADE:  C

 

Round 7, Pick 34 (249) (Compensatory selection)             

Michael Sam      DE           Missouri       

GRADE:  B+

 

Round 7, Pick 35 (250) (Compensatory selection)             

Demetrius Rhaney          C             Tennessee St.

GRADE:  C

 

OVERALL GRADE: A+

ANALYSIS:

 

The Rams were in the best position to start this draft as they held the 2nd and 13th overall picks as well as some extra selections later. The Rams took full advantage of these extra picks and had a tremendous draft. In the first round the Rams took OT Greg Robinson with the 2nd overall pick. Robinson has elite potential and should make an immediate impact on the Rams offensive line. If Jake Long is healthy, Robinson will play either RT or G this season, but projects as a LT long term. With their next first round pick the Rams landed top defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald has elite potential and arguably was the 2nd best defender in the draft after Clowney. Defensive tackle wasn’t seen as a top need for the Rams, but they did need an interior rusher and there have been few better in recent years than Donald. Donald should team with Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Michael Brockers to form the most dominant defensive line in the NFL.

In the 2nd round the Rams nabbed safetyy/corner LaMarcus Joyner and followed him up in the 3rd with RB Tre Mason. Joyner could make an early impact as a slot corner and get some work at safety as well. He’s an incredible playmaker, and if he wasn’t undersized would have been a top 15 pick. Mason is arguably the best back in the draft and should team up with Zac Stacy to form a strong one two punch in the Rams backfield. In the mid-to-late rounds the Rams added a number of solid depth players, particularly in the secondary. One of these depth picks in particular stands out and that is Missouri defensive end and Co-defensive player of the year from the SEC Michael Sam. Sam might not have the size and athleticism to fit as an everydown player, but he could help the Rams as a valuable situational rusher. Sam wins with smarts, and his non-stop motor and should be able to carve out a decent career at the NFL level.

Overall the Rams just did a fantastic job in this draft. Not only did they get two of the most talented players in this draft at important positions, but they landed a good group of guys behind them that should both contribute early and offer quality depth. St. Louis is in the toughest division in football, but they should be a lot closer to contending after this class.

 

 



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