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NFC West draft analysis: Final Grade(including Future Picks)
By Nic St. Marie
Special to gzl-football.com






A look at the draft is incomplete without looking at how a team's future draft picks have been taken away or added to. A look at this makes it clear how three of the teams value (or devalue) the draft in the NFC West, while the Rams GM turnover makes it unclear how they are approaching the draft at this stage of the offseason. This is again an uncomplete look at what teams came out of the draft with, as many of the draft day trades are already "disapparated" from my watchful eye.

Ultimately the draft is about getting rookies with talent on your team. All of us are willing to trade those tickets for a proven starter from time to time, even veterans with a year or two left. Because I can't tell what the draft trades were, and because the draft is ultimately about restocking the youth and building that way, the grades are based on the rookies added to the team this year, and the future picks added or lost for next year.

49ers
1.2 -
CB Jamar Taylor - A+ --- Best comparison(s): Leon Hall, Courtland 'Innigan
4.23 - LE Scott Wilkinson - A --- Best comparison(s): Pernell McPhee
7.30 - FS Thomas Grant - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.32 -
CB Larry Greer - D+ --- Best comparison(s): backups

Draft Picks

49ers 1st
49ers 2nd
Redskins 2nd
Giants 2nd
49ers 3rd
49ers 4th
49ers 5th
Redskins 7th

Overall, I have to give the 49ers a B. 1.2 was a building block that will contribute meaningful, star-quality snaps very early in his career. This is a young team that could have benefitted a lot from drafting 5 times in the 2nd round this year. Just look at what Seattle added in the 3rd round, and the Packers three early picks in the 4th. San Francisco stalled some of their building process another year.

The 49ers traded a couple of those later 2nds to get future 2nds, from this year's two NFC East playoff teams. Although I clearly think that was a mistake, if the 49ers are trying to put one more year of draft capitol into this team before competing, they maybe didn't want to improve as much, and then saving the picks may pay off with another top 5 pick during Geno Smith's second developmental year, with the plan to contend the following year.

Cardinals
6.28 -
CB Andre Waters - C- --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.8 -
CB Charles Palmer - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.12 -
SS Earl Wolff - C --- Best comparison(s): backups

Draft Picks

Cardinals 1st
Cardinals 3rd
Cardinals 5th
Cardinals 6th
Steelers 6th
Cardinals 7th
Steelers 7th

I don't have a strong sense of what the Cardinals traded their draft picks for, but based on what I see have to give the Cardinals a D. They missed out on the first 187 picks in a draft that had a lot of pieces in their areas of need, which trend towards the defensive side of the ball. They did pick defenders, but not starters with their late picks. The Cardinals were close to winning the division but fell short. During this draft it appears they lost more momentum and risk falling back further.

Furthermore, they did not add picks for next year's draft, rather borrowed from them to get a somewhat ordinary MLB and a FB. Signs point to the draft being unimportant to Arizona, and they on their way to treating next year's draft in a similar way.

Rams
1.12 -
DT Sheldon Richardson - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Fletcher Cox, Nick Fairley
3.29 - WR Levon Taylor - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Chris Matthews, Terrance Williams
6.9 - WR Ryan Lopez - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
6.13 -
FB Tommy Bohanon - B+ --- Best comparison(s): backups
6.26 -
SS J.J. Wilcox - A- --- Best comparison(s): backups
6.29 -
WR David Austin - B --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.9 -
TE Chris Gragg - C --- Best comparison(s): backups

Draft Picks

Rams 1st
Rams 2nd
Rams 3rd
Rams 4th
Rams 5th
Rams 6th
Rams 7th

The Rams get a B from me for their draft. Collins gets an incomplete, as he did not have the opportunity to stockpile or trade away picks from this year, and he was not the person at the helm during the first round pick, and I'm not sure about the 3rd rounder. His picks in the 6th were quite good.

The Rams just got new ownership, and did not make any draft day trades regarding future picks. Having the full slate of 7 is better than having borrowed from the future.

Seahawks
2.30 -
DT Akeem Spence - B+ --- Best comparison(s): JaQuinton Long
3.14 - TE Zach Ertz - A- --- Best comparison(s): Jordan Cameron, Luke Stocker
3.21 - QB Landry Jones - A- --- Best comparison(s): Christian Ponder, Russell Wilson
3.23 - OLB Jerry Ellis - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Shea McClellin
5.18 - HB Shaun Robinson - A --- Best comparison(s): Montee Ball
5.30 - DT Pete Owen - C --- Best comparison(s): backups
5.31 -
LT Earl Cote - B+ --- Best comparison(s): Austin Laurie
6.18 - OLB Chase Thomas - D+ --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.4 -
MLB Vince Williams - C- --- Best comparison(s): backups
7.18 -
HB Jawan Jamison - B+ --- Best comparison(s): backups

Draft Picks

Seahawks 2nd
Broncos 2nd
Seahawks 3rd
Panthers 3rd
Dolphins 3rd
Seahawks 4th
Redskins 6th

Seattle traded 1sts like they could print them during the season. While sending them away, they were able to keep their pick pile stocked, and ended up with a very good set of middle-round picks. They also drafted those 3rds in particular quite well, and did a decent job in picking backups with their later picks. I'm giving Seattle a B+, although if I was not the Seattle GM I might give a team that did these things an A-.

During the draft, the Seahawks were able to trade 4.7 and 4.11, getting two extra 3rds in the future draft, while still getting late picks in return and drafting 10 players. They are above-average in their draft positioning for next year, with the extra 2nd and two 3rds carrying more value than the missing 1st, 5th, and 7th.
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