The NFC West went from one of the strongest divisions to one of the worst divisions last season. The Seahawks finished 10-5-1, after that every team was below .500. The Rams and 49ers have new coaching staffs going into this year (both rookie head coaches) and the Niners have a rookie GM as well in John Lynch.
On paper, the Cardinals should have been every bit as good last season as they were in 2015. For some reason, they could not replicate the success and they had to watch the playoffs from the couch.
The Seahawks had somewhat of an up and down season, but made it to the divisional round of the playoffs, before they were blown out by the Atlanta Falcons. Each of these teams will hope that they were able to better themselves in this year’s NFL Draft as they enter another season with dreams of playing late into January.
NFC West 2017 NFL Draft Final Grades
Arizona Cardinals 2017 Draft
|5/179||T.J. Logan||RB||North Carolina|
Best Pick: Budda Baker
Baker may be a little undersized for a traditional safety (5’9″ and 195 lbs) but his ball-hawking ability and instincts make up for it. He is a similar player to Tyrann Mathieu but their versatility allows for the defense to change schemes without substituting.
Value/Sleeper: T.J. Logan
Although Arizona is set in the backfield with David Johnson, Logan is a versatile running back that was the fastest in the class (4.37 40-yard dash). He can also return kicks and catch the ball out of the backfield, providing insurance for Johnson, as you can never have too many running backs.
Reach: Will Holden
In need of a swing player that can play LT and RT the cardinals drafted a player that could play his way onto the roster, but probably would have lasted at least another round.
Overall Grade: B-
Los Angeles Rams 2017 Draft
|2/44||Gerald Everett||TE||South Alabama|
|3/69||Cooper Kupp||WR||Eastern Washington|
|3/91||John Johnson||S||Boston College|
|4/117||Josh Reynolds||WR||Texas A&M|
|4/125||Samson Ebukam||OLB||Eastern Washington|
|6/206||Sam Rogers||FB||Virginia Tech|
Best Pick: John Johnson
Johnson is not a complete player yet, but he is in the perfect system. Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator and Johnson’s versatility will give him a lot of opportunities to play.
Value/Sleeper: Cooper Kupp
Kupp is statistically the most prolific receiver in Division I history. During his career at Eastern Washington, he caught 428 passes for 6,464 yards and 73 touchdowns. Former WR and future Hall of Famer, Steve Smith Sr., called Kupp the best receiver in the draft. The fit with Los Angeles is not the best but the Rams got great value with this pick.
Reach: Gerald Everett
This pick made no sense to me as the Rams used a 4th round pick on Tyler Higbee just last year. Using a second round pick on a slot receiver/tight end where there were much better players available is questionable, to say the least.
Overall Grade: C
San Francisco 49ers 2017 Draft
|5/177||Trent Taylor||WR||Louisiana Tech|
Best Pick: Rueben Foster
The 49ers traded up to grab Foster who was still around at pick 31. Maybe there were concerns about his shoulder, maybe it was the diluted sample at the combine, but GM John Lynch took advantage of the situation and drafted a player he was considering taking with the second pick. If he is healthy, he will be Patrick Willis 2.0.
Value/Sleeper: Joe Williams
You could easily put Reuben Foster in this category as well as he was widely considered a top-10 talent, but Joe Williams was an absolute steal in the fourth. His stock may have fallen due to the fact that he quit on his college team for a few weeks during the 2016 season, but when he returned, he put up monster numbers. Adding a dynamic player like Williams will give the 49ers another weapon in the backfield to pair with Carlos Hyde and Tim Hightower.
Reach: C.J. Beathard
According to Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr., there were multiple quarterbacks available when the 49ers traded up to draft Beathard. It was a shocking move, to say the least, as he probably would have been available on day 3, but Shanahan said the Iowa product was the only QB he wanted in this class. If Shanahan knows anything, it’s how to develop QBs so it’s hard to question his reasoning.
Overall Grade: A-
Seattle Seahawks 2017 Draft
|2/35||Malik McDowell||DT||Michigan State|
|3/90||Shaquill Griffin||CB||Central Florida|
|3/102||Nazair Jones||DT||North Carolina|
|6/210||Justin Senior||OT||Mississippi State|
|7/226||David Moore||WR||East Central University|
|7/249||Chris Carson||RB||Oklahoma State|
Best Pick: Shaquill Griffin
Seattle needed a cornerback and Griffin fits the mold that the Seahawks look for. He is big and loves to stick his nose in the action. Any flaws he might have will be covered up in the scheme out west.
Value/Sleeper: Nazair Jones
Jones will pair perfectly with McDowell on the defensive line. Jones is more of an early-down player eating up space in the middle and McDowell will be asked to get after the QB. Grabbing Jones here was great value for Seattle.
Reach: Malik McDowell
Widely considered a first round talent, Seattle traded back twice, accumulating picks and still was able to get McDowell at 35 overall. However, with needs on the offensive line that ranked at the bottom last season, Seattle chose a boom or bust player with someone like Forrest Lamp still available.
Overall Grade: B-