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2023 NFC West Draft Grades

Two teams in the NFC West had stellar picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, while the other two looked to reload their rosters.
2023 NFC West Draft Grades

The NFC West is set to be more open than in seasons past. Teams outside of the San Francisco 49ers got better through off-season additions. One of the biggest roster-changers in the off-season was the 2023 NFL Draft. Of the four teams in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals had stellar draft processes. The 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams were teams that traded their immediate future to acquire talented veterans and franchise quarterbacks. Half of the teams in the division drafted high-caliber starters or future starters, while the other two reloaded. Here are the 2023 draft grades for every team in the NFC West:

2023 NFC West Draft Grades

Arizona Cardinals: A-

Players Added: Paris Johnson, B.J. Ojulari, Garrett Williams, Michael Wilson, Jon Gaines II, Clayton Tune, Owen Pappoe, Kei’Trel Clark and Dante Stills

The Cardinals made the surprising (but smart) move to draft Paris Johnson Jr., an offensive tackle, to protect the blindside. They did so after moving back several picks, netting the Houston Texans first-round pick next year in the process. This move will help the Cardinals in the future. After not addressing the defense in the first round, Arizona acquired B.J. Ojulari in the second round. He will become one of their star pass rushers.

The Cardinals were ranked 24th in the league in passing yards allowed per game (230.3 yards) in 2022. Adding another high-caliber cornerback like Garrett Williams will be big for a secondary that needed a boost. Even without the drama surrounding DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals needed more reliable receivers. This is where Michael Wilson will come in, and become a good project for the offense. The interior of the offensive line took a big hit with injuries this past season. Having Jon Gaines II as a serious option to challenge the starters is a big plus.

Kyler Murray is likely going to be out for half of the 2023 NFL Season as he recovers from knee reconstruction. With Colt McCoy expected to be the starting quarterback, the Cardinals needed a reliable young quarterback. Clayton Tune is a player that can be evaluated early in his career. He could turn into a valuable playmaker for years to come. Arizona filled more defensive holes on their team with the additions of Owen Pappoe, Kei’Trel Clark and Dante Stills on Day 3 of the draft.

Arizona Cardinals 2023 NFL Draft Review

Los Angeles Rams: C

Players Added: Steve Avila, Byron Young, Kobie Turner, Stetson Bennett, Nick Hampton, Warren McClendon, Davis Allen, Puka Nacua, Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Ochaun Mathis, Zach Evans, Ethan Evans, Jason Taylor II, Desjuan Johnson

The Rams did not make any big, glamorous picks having traded away most of their draft capital for star talent. They were able to select talent that would help replenish the lost talent from their Super Bowl-contending teams. Steve Avila and Byron Young are day-one starters along the offensive and defensive line. Kobie Turner gets a great mentor at defensive tackle in Aaron Donald, and adds depth for the Rams. The Rams made one of the more interesting picks on Day 3 of the draft by selecting Stetson Bennett, one of the most successful quarterbacks in the history of College Football. Having Bennett learn under Matthew Stafford and head coach Sean McVay could be an investment in a franchise quarterback for the Rams.

In the fifth round, the Rams got a high-value linebacker in Nick Hampton as he could become a future starter. He might be the highest-value pick past the fourth round as he possesses a big future with the team. Later in the fifth round, the Rams went all offense to get three players to fill in for depth. They also got two potential future starters in Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and Ochaun Mathis in the sixth round.

With their final four picks, the Rams went for reliable players to solidify depth. Zach Evans is the most talented player of the group as a former five-star talent. While the Rams didn’t make an immediate impact in their roster with these picks, they added players who could be future starters.

Los Angeles Rams 2023 NFL Draft Review

San Francisco 49ers: C+

Players Added: Ji’Ayir Brown, Jake Moody, Cameron Latu, Darell Luter Jr., Robert Beal Jr., Dee Winters, Brayden Willis, Ronnie Bell, Jalen Graham

The bad news for San Francisco is that they traded much of their 2024 draft capital for quarterback Trey Lance. However, they still made good picks in the 2023 NFL Draft to develop their team. Ji’Ayir Brown arrives as potentially a prominent player for the 49ers’ secondary, as he could be utilized in other positions. The biggest question mark for the 49ers was drafting a kicker in the third round. That said, they only need Jake Moody to replace Zane Gonzalez, which should not be an issue.

The 49ers also selected two high-caliber players from the state of Alabama for each side of the ball. Cameron Latu comes in as an immediate backup to George Kittle. Darell Luter Jr. will be a potential starter in the future. Both are players that could become contributors once given some proper development. Robert Beal Jr. and Dee Winters are depth players. They were needed for the 49ers defense after the team brought in questionable free agents with potential.

With the first two picks in the seventh round, the 49ers acquired two talented pass-catchers. They will look for them to be developed as potential role players to relieve pressure from the other skill-position players. With their last pick, San Francisco got another linebacker in an already crowded position group.

San Francisco 49ers 2023 NFL Draft Review

Seattle Seahawks: A

Players Added: Devon Witherspoon, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Derick Hall, Zach Charbonnet, Anthony Bradford, Cameron Young, Mike Morris, Olusegun Oluwatimi, Jerrick Reed, Kenny McIntosh

The Seahawks get another young, loaded class to challenge the 49ers for the NFC West title.

Seattle started by picking Devon Witherspoon, the best secondary player in the Draft, over the questionable Jalen Carter. Witherspoon, and an already talented secondary, will be hard to throw the ball against during the season. Seattle also took the first wide receiver off the board in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. This gives quarterback Geno Smith another explosive weapon, thus re-emphasising their faith in the reigning Comeback Player of the Year.

After skipping out on a defensive lineman in the first round, the Seahawks got a solid edge rusher in Derick Hall. He will impact the run defense immediately while adding some pass rush to the fold. The first big surprise made by Seattle was getting Zach Charbonnet, a running back, in the second round. He will form a one-two punch in the backfield with Kenneth Walker III.

The Seahawks also got two valuable offensive linemen in Anthony Bradford and Olusegun Oluwatimi, who will either start in year one or two. Cameron Young and Mike Morris are defensive linemen who were selected to revitalize the depth and provide much-needed help in run defense. Seattle was ranked 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (150.2 yards) in 2022.

Jerrick Reed is a player who may find himself on the field sooner rather than later due to his versatility and the fluctuating health of the current starting safeties. Finally, Kenny McIntosh is a player who adds necessary depth to the Seahawks backfield.

Seattle Seahawks 2023 NFL Draft Review

Main Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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