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NFC West Draft Grades: Teams Clean House With Late Round Value

by Photo of Quentin Haynes

Draft Grades For The Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, and Rams.

NFC West Draft Grades: Teams Clean House With Late Round Value

In some ways, the NFC West cleaned house in this year's draft. After the success the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks this past season, both teams looked to continue their runs of success with solid drafts. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams didn't want to stay too far behind, so they also went after top drafts, hitting holes that they lacked this past season. Did any of these four teams come out with an A? Let's take a look at the grades.

Arizona Cardinals- Grade: B

1. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

2. Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

3. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

4. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

4. Earl Watford, OG, James Madison

5. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

6. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M

6. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

7. D.C. Jefferson, TE, Rutgers

Bonus points for the simple fact that head coach Bruce Arians wears a kangol. I think Jonathan Cooper was a reach at seventh overall. It also didn’t help that Chance Warmack was still on the board. No matter, Cooper will replace Synder at guard, hopefully boosting an average running attack. Kevin Minter and Tyrann Mathieu will likely be starters to begin the season. Alex Okafor made his wears at Texas and could be an instant upgrade at outside linebacker. The four late-round offensive picks could make this class intriguing. Both Taylor and Ellington could receive a ton of touches as rookies, Ryan Swope has the size and speed to be an instant slot receiver and D.C. Jefferson has the hands to be a solid number two receiver.

St. Louis Rams Grade: A

1. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

1. Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

3. T.J. McDonald, FS, USC

3. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

4. Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama

5. Brandon McGee, CB, Miami

5. Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt

The Rams needed to ace this class to stay within arms reach in the NFC West. I dislike Tavon Austin in the top ten, but he’ll do everything on offense for the Rams. Alec Ogletree had top ten talent, but a rap sheet that caused hesitation. The Rams moved back and acquired him, which could be smart because I envisioned him to be a starting outside linebacker. T.J. McDonald is a decent pick, but Stedman Bailey could be the steal. Bailey reminds me so much of former Giants receiver Steve Smith and could provide that impact for the Rams next season. Barrett Jones to solidify the inside of your line? Good draft for the Rams, and let’s not forget: They need Sam Bradford to take a huge step forward this season.

Seattle Seahawks- Grade: B-

2. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M

3. Jordan Hill, DT, Penn St.

4. Chris Harper, WR, Kansas St.

5. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

5. Tharold Simon, CB, LSU

5. Luke Willson, TE, Rice

6. Spencer Ware, RB, LSU

7. Ryan Seymour, G, Vanderbilt

7. Ty Powell, DE, Harding

7. Jared Smith, DT, New Hampshire

7. Michael Bowie, OT, NE Oklahoma St.

I don’t exactly see what angle Seattle took with this draft, but then again, the Seahawks have drafted well the past three years. Christine Michael has great skills, but with Robert Turbin and Marshawn Lynch in tow, where are his carries? Jordan Hill was drafted too high, but they made up for it by snagging Jesse Williams in round five. Tharold Simon has the size needed to play corner in Seattle, and Spencer Ware, another running back, could be an interesting back now that he got out of the beehive that was LSU’s running back group. The Seahawks went into this draft with defensive tackle needs and acquired two. No shame in that. Still, this is one of the classes I need to see on the field, because I think a ton of these players will be underutilized in 2013.

San Francisco 49ers- Grade: A

1. Eric Reid, FS, LSU

2. Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida St.

2. Vance McDonald, TE, Rice

3. Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn

4. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

4. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

5. Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama

6. Nick Moody, OLB, Florida St.

7. B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida

7. Carter Bykowski, OT, Iowa St.

7. Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers

The 49ers have two redshirt players in this draft class in Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore. Let’s shelve them. This class is pretty... weird. Eric Reid at 18th overall seems like horrible value, and it makes me wonder if they could’ve given up another pick to get Kenny Vaccaro. Still, I didn’t think Reid was better than Elam as a prospect. Vance McDonald seemed like a reach, even with the need of another tight end. I love the Corey Lemonier pick, and the Quinton Patton selection seemed like robbery. Quinton Dial in round five could be someone who could be groomed into a backup role as well. For a team with so many stars, San Francisco didn’t need to ace the draft, but they did well in finding reserves. If Carradine and Lattimore could contribute in the future, that would be great. I’m not too keen on everyone in this draft, but they have the best coach in football, so it will work out.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite teams this season.

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