We could see the NFC West become an even more tightly contested division next season.
With the emergence of Kyler Murray in Arizona, there is potential for the team that had multiple games last season fall out of their hands by just one score. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in football and should help Murray have greater success in year two.
The 49er’s made it to the super bowl last year and, even though I don’t think Jimmy Garoppolo is a great quarterback, he has proven that he can win games in the clutch.
The Rams may find itself falling back in the power rankings next season with running back Todd Gurley’s departure but who knows — maybe Jared Goff surprises everybody and plays good again.
Seattle is the team to beat in this division as it is great on both sides of the ball but it looks like it won’t be re-signing Jadeveon Clowney. This is a loss for the team even with him having less production then expected.
With the division stuck in a deadlock, the draft could have helped each team land a key piece in an area of need.
Below, the NFC West's draft is analyzed in order of the strongest draft class to the weakest:
Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1): Isaiah Simmons is a freaky talent who played at three positions in college. His abilities make him a can’t miss prospect and, if it wasn’t for the caliber of this class, you would expect him to be a top three pick with his versatile skill set.
Another pick that is great for the team is Josh Jones in the third round. Jones showed lots of improvement last season, and could be coached into a good tackle with great athletic skills.
Then there’s the Eno Benjamin pick in round seven. How Benjamin fell that low is a question that may go unanswered. For a team that needed a second running back to take some of the workload off of Kenyan Drake, he was a great pick. Benjamin rushed for over 2,700 yards in two seasons at ASU and is a tough runner that produces yards after contact.
San Francisco 49er’s (13-3): The 49er’s draft class consists of just two notable players. Luckily, the pair are both good players. Javon Kinlaw may have been a bit of a reach at defensive tackle but he fills a need and his dynamic physical traits led San Francisco to believe it can turn him into a consistent performer. His six sacks and 35 tackles weren’t eye-popping but his presence on the defensive line is intimidating nonetheless.
San Francisco also added wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk who’s wingspan of 81 inches makes him a unique talent. He also adds good speed and size which make him a threat on all levels. Aiyuk is coming off a season with 1,000 plus receiving yards, however, he’s also coming off surgery in the offseason that could slow him out of the gates.
Los Angeles Rams (9-7): Ram’s fans wanted any player that would fill them with at least a little bit of hope.
After Gurley’s departure the team was left in an odd spot. Cam Akers helps to fill the void as a tough running back who isn’t afraid of getting tackled. If he can work on his ball security he may become a reliable running back.
The Rams also added Van Jefferson, a receiver that excels at separation during his routes. The separation he creates has allowed him to draw a large amount of penalties on opposing defensive backs which is a huge positive. However, Jefferson is set back by his inability to make the big plays and opting for piling on short catches. He should still do fine as a slot receiver and has a shot at being the wide receiver three for the Rams following Brandon Cooks’s departure.
A major issue with this class was it’s failure to address the needs on the offensive line in Los Angeles. Tremayne Anchrum was the only offensive lineman it took and he projects to be a backup.
Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Seattle had an interesting draft philosophy that just felt wrong.
It decided to take the players it wanted instead of drafting what would be considered good value. The majority of its draft is full of picks that should be defined as a reach and it made outlandish choices all draft long.
Jordyn Brooks was a really good college football player and showcased solid production, but that doesn't excuse passing on better linebackers that were still available.
Darrell Taylor was better value and is also a good player who gives Seattle power from the edge position. He looks set to become a starter once he betters himself as a player. While Alton Robinson needs time to better himself as a player he could become a decent threat from the edge.
The rest of the class was composed of average players that may give the team decent depth but lack the ability to be diamonds in the rough.