With the draft now firmly in our rear view mirror, I thought it was time to begin looking around the division and see how the other teams in the NFC West did with their picks. The results are clearly mixed. The Rams managed to get a lot better over the 3 days of the draft, while Arizona did next to nothing to improve their team. Take a look:
- The Cardinals had the weakest draft in the division by my evaluation. They seemingly did nothing to upgrade their team. While some of their picks have the potential to be good players, it’s hard to see more than 2 getting significant playing time this season.
- Michael Floyd seems like a wasted pick. Sure it’ll make Larry Fitzgerald happy since he’ll face less triple teams, but WR wasn’t a huge need. Arizona could have taken any number of players at #13 that would have made a much bigger impact on their team, and still upgraded WR later in the draft. I’m not saying Floyd isn’t very good, because he is, I just don’t see this as a big improvement for Cardinals.
- The Cards didn’t take a QB until round 6, and they got one who’ll look pretty in a uniform but isn’t a real NFL prospect. Ryan Lindley had trouble completely more than 50% of his passes at the college level. Do they really think he’ll be better against pro competition?
- Arizona’s biggest weakness, other than QB, was their offensive line. Clearly their strategy was quantity over quality. The Cardinals took 3 tackles in the draft, and non of them appear to have the skills to start in their rookie season. Obviously Arizona is hoping that one progresses much quicker than expected and manages to get the field, but that seems unlikely at this point.
San Francisco 49ers
- A.J. Jenkins was just a a head scratcher. The only way I can describe it is to call it a Tim Ruskell pick. In a draft full of a large number of tall and fast receivers, the 49ers pick a player who is neither tall or fast. Instead they get a guy who likely is going to never be more than a slot receiver when they needed a real weapon on the outside, and those players were still available.
- After Jenkins though, their draft got much better. LaMichael James should be another Darin Sproles/Reggie Bush type playmaker that moves all over the field. Combining his speed with Frank Gore’s power could give other teams fits.
- After that they did a good job fining talent at a number of positions where they could use additional bodies, like Guard and Safety.
- I’m a bit surprised they never drafted a CB or a TE, but then again they only had 7 picks so there was only so much that they could do.
St. Louis Rams
- The Rams had so many picks in the early stages of this draft it would be tough for them not to get better. Thats exactly what they did. While it might not translate into them being a real contender in 2012, it will pay off sooner rather than later.
- The Rams did a good job of trying to upgrade both sides of the ball, and not just concentrating on the defense like I expected them to. Even with that, Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins (if his head stays screwed on correctly) should seriously upgrade what was one of the worse pass defenses in the league in 2011.
- On the offensive side, Isaiah Pead will take a major load off of Steven Jackson at RB, and is good enough to take over if Jackson decides to retire after this season. He’s under the radar compared to others, but I think he’ll be a good NFL RB.
- Brian Quick was an interesting choice with their 2nd first round choice. Quick has all the skills to be a Tory Holt type playmaker, but coming from such a small school he has a long way to go before he reaches that potential. Quick is really raw and likely wont put up huge numbers in 2012.
- It should also be mentioned that the Rams used this draft to also get an extra first round pick in each of the next 2 drafts as well.