Draft 2019: NFC West Review
With the draft over, I thought I’d take a look at the haul from every team, by division. I didn’t really want to give all the teams grades (never been a fan of that), but wanted to look at the player potential and where the teams still have needs. The NFC West seemed like the logical place to start, with a Cards team that made headlines for a number of reasons on the first 2 days.
Round 1-Pick 1 (1): Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Round 2-Pick 1 (33): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Round 2-Pick 30 (62): Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
Round 3-Pick 1 (65): Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Round 4-Pick 1 (103): Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Round 5-Pick 1 (139): Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Round 6-Pick 1 (174): Keesean Johnson, WR, Fresno State
Round 6-Pick 6 (179): Lamont Gaillard, C, Georgia
Round 7-Pick 34 (248): Joshua Miles, T, Morgan State
Round 7-Pick 35 (249): Michael Dogbe, DE, Temple
Round 7-Pick 40 (254): Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
What to Like: Cards went after the guy they want at QB with conviction, picked him with the no.1 slot and then surrounded him with some of the top rated wide receivers in the draft. Andy Isabella gives them a true burner, who can create separation. Butler, is someone that James liked and in my opinion, has no.1 receiver potential, a true value pick in the 4th round. If Keesean Johnson (not that one) is a hit, he could be a great asset for a rookie QB as a player that can win contested catches, if not, well he cost them a 6th round pick, not great loss for no. 4/5 receiver. Outside of receiver, I like Byron Murphy and Deionte Thompson add some depth and flexibility in the secondary with Peterson (if he stays), Swearinger, Baker and Alford. All of a sudden the Cards secondary looks pretty good on paper. Finally I like Zach Allen as a battering ram in rotation with Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs.
What not to Like: Lets start with the obvious. The Josh Rosen trade was a mess. If reports are to be believed, Steve Kiem didn’t start making phone calls till just before the draft. This is obviously baffling. The only 2 reasons I can think of were that they believed their confusing approach to press conferences had worked their magic and drummed up enough trade for a team to give up a 1st round pick, or that they had absolute faith that teams would snap their hand off to take Josh Rosen. As it worked out though that wasn’t the case. Instead the Dolphins held them over a barrel as they consistently traded down, generating late round picks lowering the value of the Rosen trade in the process. Eventually the Cards picked up a 30th pick in the 2nd round and send a 2020 5th rounder back. The fact was the market simply wasn’t there. For the 1st time in years, every team has a player they believe can be a solid starter at QB, whether that’s actually the case or not. The Cards will pay $8m in dead money for Rosen to play for the Dolphins. The only other gripe I have with the Cards, who I think, in terms of picks had a decent weekend, is that I wish they’d put some earlier picks into the offensive line, but really they’d gone some of the way to addressing that in free agency.
Final Thought: Kliff Kingsbury gets his QB and added a ton of potential to a lacklustre receiver corps. The only issue is whether they’ve done enough to keep their new QB upright.
Round 2-Pick 29 (61): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Round 3-Pick 6 (70): Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
Round 3-Pick 16 (79): David Long, CB, Michigan
Round 3-Pick 34 (97): Bobby Evans, T, Oklahoma
Round 4-Pick 32 (134): Greg Gaines, DT, Washington
Round5-Pick 31 (169): David Edwards, T, Wisconsin
Round7-Pick 29 (243): Nick Scott, S, Penn State
Round7-Pick 37 (251): Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech
What to Like: Taylor Rapp tested really poorly and as a result dropped into the lap of the Rams. David Long was a very specific corner for the right situation. Both Rapp and Long compliment what the Rams already have in the secondary, nicely. Rapp should also help cover up an average linebacker group in run defence. Darrell Henderson was a great pick up, who will compliment Todd Gurley nicely when he’s healthy, but be a solid replacement if he’s not. It felt inevitable that they’d draft another running back high. Finally the addition of Bobby Evans and David Edwards add some depth and competition to an offensive line that has a number of question marks heading in to the 2019 season.
What not to Like: I still think the front 7 could use a little depth/ fresh talent. Particularly at defensive end, I think having a solid rotation of edge rushers is a must for most teams challenging for a Super bowl. On the offence, I wish they’d have taken a look at receiver in the 4th/ 5th rounds. I like what they’ve got, but with the way Sean McVay runs the offence it relies on very specific talent at receiver. When Cooper Kupp went down injured last year, it drastically altered what they were able to achieve on offence (yes I know they made the Super bowl), I’m not saying there was another Cooper Kupp, but there were a few solid potential back ups in this draft.
Final Thought: When you’re the Rams you can afford to go best player available. However there are a few key positions, that I wish they’d picked up some depth. Darrell Henderson could be a solid complimentary back though.
San Francisco 49ers
Round 1-Pick 2 (2): Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Round 2-Pick 4 (36): Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Round 3-Pick 3 (67): Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
Round 4-Pick 8 (110): Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah
Round 5-Pick 10 (148): Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas
Round 6-Pick 3 (176): Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Round 6-Pick 10 (183): Justin Skule, OT, Vanderbilt
Round 6-Pick 26 (198): Tim Harris, CB, Virginia
What to Like: Well it feels like we know what the Niners want to do this year. Get ahead and stay ahead, putting pressure on an opposition QB that has to make plays. Nick Bosa, was one of the more obvious picks in this year’s draft and completes one of the best defensive lines in the NFC West. Outside of Bosa, the Niners picked up back to back receivers. Deebo gives Jimmy Garoppolo a yards after catch receiver that can break tackles. A chain mover. Jalen Hurd most likely won’t play every snap, but has an opportunity to learn his craft behind a stacked receiver corps. Eventually we should see Hurd as a deep threat for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Niners offence under Kyle Shanahan could be about take off.
What not to Like: Hmmm. Is it too obvious to say that I’m not a fan of the Niners drafting a punter in the 4th round, when they still have issues in the secondary. In fact the lack of attention at all to the secondary could be a potential issue, with a lot of good but not great players and a lack of any meaningful depth.
Final Thought: I like what they’ve done on offence all through the off-season and think the Bosa pick was a no-brainer. I worry about the depth at linebacker and in the secondary on a team that had it’s fingers burned with a freakish amount of injuries last year.
Round 1-Pick 29 (29): LJ Collier, DE, Texas Christian
Round 2-Pick 15 (47): Marquise Blair, S, Utah
Round 2-Pick 32 (64): DK Metcalf
Round 3-Pick 25 (88): Cody Barton, LB, Utah
Round 4-Pick 18 (120): Gary Jennings, WR, West Virginia
Round 4-Pick 22 (124): Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest
Round 4-Pick 30 (132): Ugo Amadi, CB, Oregon
Round 5-Pick 4 (142): Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
Round 6-Pick 32 (204): Travis Homer, RB, Miami
Round 6-Pick 37 (209): DeMarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State
Round 7-Pick 22 (236): John Ursua, WR, Hawaii
What to Like: If the Seahawks don’t know what they’re doing, they hide it really well. The Seahawks treated the draft like a game of musical chairs, moving around with nearly every pick to put themselves in a position to pick up draft capital whilst picking the players that were their guys. LJ Collier seems like a perfect example of a “Seahawks guy”. Big defensive end, run stuffer and a force in the passing game. Marquise Blair joins a versatile secondary as a potential replacement for Earl Thomas… or Kam Chancellor, depending on where he fits in best. For me the highlight was picking a free-falling DK Metcalf with the last pick of the 2nd round. It felt like the 2nd round was more realistic for Metcalf, who had drummed up a fair amount of hype with a sold 40 and an impressive topless picture. Despite the questions about the variety of routes he can run I think the Seahawks is the perfect fit for Metcalf. If you’ve got someone that can create separation deep, then try and pair him with a QB that hit players deep in stride. The Seahawks seemed like the perfect landing spot for a team that’s trying to stretch the field and open up the box for the run game.
What not to Like: I’d quite like to have seen them pick another edge rusher, even if it’s just as an insurance policy. Additional depth at corner and a legitimate backup QB wouldn’t have gone a miss either.
Final Thought: The constant trading back in the draft gave the Seahawks a decent haul, which improved depth at a number of key positions. In Collier they picked up a defensive end that should fit the Seahawks mould and Metcalf could be a force when teamed up with Wilson. A pretty solid draft, that still leaves Seattle with some defensive end depth issues.
That’s the NFC West, let me know what you think on Twitter or email. Next up… AFC West