Arizona Cardinals, Los Angles Rams, NFC West, NFL Draft, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks

NFC West 2019 Draft – Who Improved The Most

Well, now that the 2019 draft is history it’s time to take an objective look at what this might mean for the forthcoming season. The NFC West was very polarised last year with the Rams Making the Super Bowl and the Seahawks also making the playoffs, while the Cardinals & 49ers ended up picking 1st & 2nd in the draft. Getting a high set of draft picks by no means ensures success – just look at how Cleveland struggled till lately and of course New England have shown that having a late (or even no 1st round pick) is no impediment. Anyway that aside its time to impartially review the picks and to see if the gap might close in 2019.

 

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals made no secret of the fact that they were going to start again on offense, and as expected they tool Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray 1st. They then shipped Josh Rosen off to the Dolphins for a second-round pick which went on a new toy for Kyler in the shape of Andy Isabella. They have gone for their own version of the little & large show small here given that Murray at 5-10 will be the shortest starting QB in the NFL, and Isabella is only 5-9. Their other WR pick was Hakeem Butler who is 6-5 this will be an interesting combination going forward with Isabella having blistering speed (as does Murray) and Butler offers a big threat on the edge. On defense they got a bargain with both Murphy who was in our opinion is 1st round talent (ok they were only a pick outside of this but its still surprising he was there) and Zach Allen could also easily have gone higher.

Their 2019 prospects rest firmly on how well Kyler Murray adjusts to the NFL. If he shows his Sooners form then they will be good. Overall we expect that this draft will improve the side – but the OL is still a concern.

Cardinals Picks 

1              1              Kyler Murray                      QB          Oklahoma

2              33           Byron Murphy                   CB           Washington

2              62           Andy Isabella                     WR         Massachusetts

3              65           Zach Allen                          DE           Boston College

4              103         Hakeem Butler                 WR         Iowa State

5              139         Deionte Thompson           S             Alabama

6              174         Keesean Johnson             WR         Fresno State

6              179         Lamont Gaillard                C            Georgia

7              248         Joshua Miles                      T             Morgan State      Compensatory pick

7              249         Michael Dogbe                  DE          Temple                  Compensatory pick

7              254         Caleb Wilson                      TE          UCLA                     Compensatory pick

 

Los Angeles Rams

Last years Super Bowl runners up started the draft light on picks but managed to barter what they had into a decent number. They added some decent prospects but it’s hard to see an impact player among them.  Taylor Rapp is a good safety but unlikely to start and adding a running back with one of their other 3rd rounders seems strange unless there are issues with Todd Gurley that we don’t know about. OT Bobby Evans is probably the only impactful pick we can spot, but given they have a strong starting corp this draft looks to have been for depth rather than impact.

Rams Picks 

2              61           Taylor Rapp                        S              Washington        from Kansas City

3              70           Darrell Henderson           RB           Memphis             from Tampa Bay

3              79           David Long Jr.                    CB           Michigan            from Atlanta

3              97           Bobby Evans                       OT          Oklahoma           from New England

4              134         Greg Gaines                        DT           Washington       from New England

5              169         David Edwards                   OT          Wisconsin

7              234         Nick Scott                            S              Penn State          from New England

7              251         Dakota Allen                       LB           Texas Tech

 

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers started 2018 as trendy dark horse Super Bowl contenders, however, this was stopped dead in its tracks by the injury to QB  Jimmy Garoppolo, hence they picked second overall. That was worrying as if they had a playoff calibre squad then losing your QB shouldn’t have tanked the season. Anyway, they did pick fairly well adding some essential pass rush and then gave Jimmy some extra weapons. Taking a punter in the 4th was a head-scratcher, given their 2018 performance and although they did add three established players by trading those later picks (see below), we were not overly impressed, and unless Jimmy G really is something special (bear in mind he has limited starts) then they could be looking at 4th place in the division this year.

San Fransisco Picks

1              2              Nick Bosa                             DE          Ohio State

2              36           Deebo Samuel                     WR        South Carolina

3              67           Jalen Hurd                          WR         Baylor

4              110         Mitch Wishnowsky             P            Utah

5              148         Dre Greenlaw                    LB           Arkansas

6              176         Kaden Smith                      TE          Stanford

6              183         Justin Skule                       OT          Vanderbilt

 

They traded their fifth-round selection to the Detroit Lions in exchange for guard Laken Tomlinson.

They conditionally swapped seventh-round selections with the Chiefs in a trade for wide receiver Rod Streater.

The 49ers traded a seventh-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for tackle Shon Coleman.

Seattle Seahawks

If you think the Rams were busy on the phones trading picks wait till you see what the Seahawks did! They like the Rams were light on picks but ended up with 11 and still managed to keep a 1st rounder. This was mainly due to getting a round one pick for Frank Clark, and they used this to draft his replacement L. J. Collier. Is Collier currently as good as Frank Clark – of course not, but he has potential and costs a whole lot less, a big consideration given Russell Wilson’s contract.  Only one of their 11 picks was not the result of a trade and looking at what they added we can’t fail to be impressed.  Two complimentary WR’s in Metcalf & Jennings fills a big area of weakness and Marquise Blair will strengthen the secondary post Legion of Boom.  They have gotten better.

Seahawks Picks

1               29           L. J. Collier                        DE           TCU                     From Kansas City Chiefs

2              47           Marquise Blair                   S              Utah                     From Carolina Panthers

2              64           D. K. Metcalf                      WR         Ole Miss               From New England Patriots

3              88           Cody Barton                       LB           Utah                      From Philadelphia Eagles

4              120         Gary Jennings Jr.              WR         West Virginia     From Minnesota Vikings

4              124         Phil Haynes                         G             Wake Forest

4              132         Ugo Amadi                          CB           Oregon                 From New Orleans Saints

5              142         Ben Burr-Kirven                LB           Washington        From Detroit Lions

6              204         Travis Homer                    RB           Miami                 From New England Patriots

6              209         Demarcus Christmas       DT           Florida State       From Minnesota Vikings

7              236         John Ursua                        WR         Hawaii                 From Baltimore Ravens

 

Conclusion

Overall we are very impressed with the Cardinals & Seahawks drafts and both have potentially taken forward steps in the division (and possibly the NFC). The 49ers  season looks like being dictated more by Jimmy G than anything they have done in the draft, while the Rams were already strong so the draft was more about adding depth. Right now (and this is before the inevitable injuries which occur in pre-season training) we think that the Cardinals are the most improved and will make the largest stride forward – probably not big enough to challenge for the playoffs but they will win more than 3 games in 2019.

Image credit: tishomir / Shutterstock.com

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