In 2019, the NFC West was one of the more competitive divisions within the NFL. Super Bowl 54, had the NFC represented by an NFC West team, the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL Draft allowed the four teams that make up the NFC West to restock and build up team rosters, and now the draft has passed. It’s now time to put some draft grades on each NFC West team.
NFC West 2020 NFL Draft Grades
Arizona Cardinals: B+
Arizona started the 2019 season in the mindset of still rebuilding, and it was fairly obvious. They added a new QB1 after just one year of Josh Rosen, and Kyler Murray came in and started helping the Cardinals turn around, and with this draft, the Cardinals have a chance to finally get back in the playoffs. They also acquired DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans in a highly publicized trade, giving another weapon to Kyler Murray.
The Cardinals had the number 8 pick overall in the NFL, and they used that pick in the draft to pick up Isaiah Simmons, linebacker from Clemson. From the 3rd round, Arizona chooses to fill in one of their more public holes in their offensive line, grabbing Josh Jones to fill in that need hole. In the 4th round, the Cardinals had two picks, working on the defense again with defensive tackle Leki Fotu, and defensive lineman Rashard Lawerence. In the 6th and 7th, they got Evan Weaver, a linebacker, and Emo Benjamin, a running back.
The Cardinals looked for players to fix holes they needed to be filled, and they went and did that. There are some positions that didn’t need to be drafted twice. The future looks bright for the Arizona Cardinals, and with this draft, it could be seen as the point that the organization finally got it all together, and could build a solid team around Kyler Murray.
Los Angeles Rams: A-
The Rams went from Super Bowl runner ups to average at best. The 2019 season was a downturn from their spectacular 2018 and Super Bowl run. The Rams traded their 1st round pick to the Jaguars in exchange for Jalen Ramsey, but lost players like Todd Gurley, who left to join the Falcons after being cut due to injuries. In the 2019 season, the Rams also went all in on their quarterback Jared Goff, giving him a very rich deal.
After going through the first round without a pick, the Rams started in the 2nd round. The Rams had two picks in the 2nd, choosing to grab Cam Akers, a running back, and Van Jefferson, and wide receiver. In the 3rd. LA went for the other side of the field, focused solely on defense, grabbing Terrell Lewis, a linebacker, and Terrell Burgess, a safety. In the 4th, they grabbed a TE off the board as Brycen Hopkins now joins the organization. In the 6th, another safety was grabbed, with the Rams choosing Jordan Fuller. With 3 picks in the 7th, LA picked up linebacker Clay Johnston, kicker Sam Stimson, and guard Treyman Anchrum.
Is it strange to say this is a weak A-? Some of the later picks in the draft felt unneeded, but the first 4 rounds of the draft had excellent pickups for the Rams. The Rams also did not have a 1st round pick in this draft. If the Rams can get back to their 2018 ways, this team could be fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers: A
San Francisco went into the 2019 season with their heads up high after a low 2018 season. In 2019, they looked great with a rookie Nick Bosa headlining the 49ers defense. Even though San Fran became the phrase “So close but no cigar” after their Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, but in the draft, the organization is looking to improve their team and go back to the Super Bowl and win. In March, the 49ers traded defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts for the 13th overall pick.
In the 1st, they picked up a defensive tackle in Javon Kinlaw, and a wide receiver in Brandon Aiyuk. Then the 49ers had no picks till round 5. In the 5th, the 9ers picked up a OT as Colten McKivitz joined San Francisco. In the 6th, the 49ers traded Marquise Goodwin to the Eagles for San Frans 6th round pick and Goodwin for the Eagles 6th. With the Eagles pick, the 49ers got tight end Charlie Woerner. For the 7th round, San Fran had one pick, grabbing a possible hidden gem in Juan Jennings, a wide receiver.
They had holes, they filled holes. A simple philosophy that helped the 49ers in the draft. This is a draft strategy that should be used by more teams when drafting.
Seattle Seahawks: C-
The Seahawks had a great run in 2019, going 11-5 and going two rounds into the playoffs. We even saw an appearance by Marshaw Lynch in the last 3 games. Offense, however, was a problem with the Seahawks, often leaving it up to Russell Wilson to come up with a way to score points. With the 2020 NFL Draft, the Seahawks had a chance to solidify the roster, and build up for another shot in the playoffs.
In the first round, the Seahawks traded up and drafted Jordyn Brooks, a linebacker. In the 2nd, Seattle grabbed EDGE Darrell Taylor, and in the 3rd, guard Damien Lewis. The Seahawks had two picks in the 4th round, picking up tight end Colby Parkinson, and running back DeeJay Dallas. In the 5th, the Seahawk choose to grab defensive end Alton Robinson. In the 6th, a wide receiver in Freddie Swain is drafted by the Seahawks. For the final round, another tight end in Stephen Sullivan was picked up.
Did the Seahawks organization forget you have to also play offense in football? Russell Wilson having to throw another amazing pass or run and risk injury is not a great game plan. Maybe the Seahawks front office has a plan to generate more offense. Defense is not something that you can just sit on and say that is all you have. You need to have an offense to compliment your defense, and Russell Wilson is not the only answer.
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