Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Grades: NFC West Teams

With the 2017 NFL Draft now in the books, I will break down every team's draft and grade them based on their round by round performance, starting with the teams in the NFC West. Here are my final grades for these four teams:

Arizona Cardinals
1(13) LB Haason Reddick, Temple (B)
2(36) S Budda Baker, Washington (A)
3(98) WR Chad Williams, Grambling (C)
4(115) OG Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh (F)
5(157) OT Will Holden, Vanderbilt (B)
5(179) RB TJ Logan, North Carolina (F)
6(208) S Rudy Ford, Auburn (B)
Final Score: 2.14 (C-)
This was a strange draft for the Cardinals. Several teams had Reddick moving up the draft order in the days leading up to the draft, but what you have is a guy who has never played LB before, and will have to learn as he goes. Baker was the best pick in the draft for the Cardinals, and they got him at a good value spot. Williams is an off-field risk, and they reached by at least two rounds to get him. Johnson was not on any major boards in the days leading up to the draft, which was also the issue with the Logan pick. Holden and Ford were both good value picks, with Ford falling into their laps in the sixth round. Reddick and Baker will likely work out long term, but the rest of this group, overall, looks like a major hit and miss to me. Not a great go.

Los Angeles Rams
2(44) TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama (A)
3(69) WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington (A)
3(91) S John Johnson, Boston College (C)
4(117) WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M (B)
4(125) LB Samson Ebukam, Eastern Washington (F)
6(189) DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane (A)
6(206) FB Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech (F)
7(234) DE Ejuan Price, Pittsburgh (B)
Final Score: 2.5 (C)
The Rams took too many risks in 2017, and sometimes tried to look like the smartest guys in the war rooms over the three day period. Drafting John Johnson in the 3rd was a reach by two rounds, while they could have had both Ebukam and Rogers as UDFAs. Things started out well enough with the picks of Everett, as potential star in the making, and Kupp, who was the greatest receiver in FCS history not named Jerry Rice. Reynolds was solid value in the fourth, and adds another potential offensive weapon, and Smart fit perfectly where he was drafted, and could be a player. Price fit in the later rounds, and could help the line rotation on defense, if he makes the roster. Still, this draft got disjointed at times for the Rams, and lacked an overall flow to it.

San Francisco 49ers
1(3) DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford (A)
1(31) LB Reuben Foster, Alabama (C)
3(66) CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado (A)
3(104) QB CJ Beathard, Iowa (F)
4(121) RB Joe Williams, Utah (C)
5(146) TE George Kittle, Iowa (F)
5(177) WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech (D)
6(198) DT DJ Jones, Ole Miss (F)
6(202) OLB Pita Taumoepenu, Utah (F)
7 (229) DB Adrian Colbert, Miami (F)
Final Grade: 1.1 (D-)
When the Niners took the Bears to the bank to move down one spot, and still get exactly who they wanted at the top of the first, I was settling in for what I though was going to be a great weekend for John Lynch. What transpired after Saturday was a sloppy mess of missed opportunity and a total lack of understanding as it regards to the process. Ahkello Witherspoon was a good get in the third round, but the Niners zeroed in on Foster despite his many red flags and still took him when not many teams left wanted him. The Beathard pick was a massive head scratcher, as he all but disappeared last season at Iowa, and was likely, at best, a late round pick, if he would have been drafted at all. Williams is a guy who quit on football before Utah begged him to come back. Does he even like this game? Kittles was not on anyone's radar, Taylor could have been a UDFA, and the final three picks of this draft were all guys who could have been had as free agents. There was insanely little to like here.

Seattle Seahawks
2(35) DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State (B)
2(58) C Ethan Poncic, LSU (A)
3(90) CB Shaq Griffin, UCF (C)
3(95) S Delano Hill, Michigan (F)
3(102) DT Nazair Jones, North Carolina (F)
3(106) WR Amara Darboh, Michigan (C)
4(111) S Tedric Thompson, Colorado (B)
6(187) Michael Tyson, Cincinnati (F)
6(210) OT Justin Senior, Mississippi State (B)
7(226) David Moore, East Central (F)
7(249) RB Chris Carson, Oklahoma State (F)
Final Grade: 1.7 (D+)
Starting pretty early on, it was evident that Pete Carroll was playing a game of "pin the tail on the tiger", as he started blindly sticking darts into his board. McDowell is a high risk/reward type who does not have a self motivating part of his personality. Poncic was a score, because the line was horrid last season, and he may step in start right away. Griffin could have been had in the 5th or 6th round of this draft, and Carroll really does not know where he fits just yet. Thompson fits in at safety, and Senior had good value where he was selected, and may be asked to give more than he is ready to at  this point. Hill was not on any major scouting service rankings list in the top seven rounds, as could be said for Tyson, Moore, and Carson. Darboh is just kind of a "meh" receiver.

Final Thoughts: Not one team made a major shift towards making a serious run at a title with this draft. Of course, this is not all that deep a draft to begin with, so keep that in mind. The Rams seemed to do the best job overall in this division, but even then, it was not a great run this weekend. The Niners and Seahawks looked as if they had no plan whatsoever, and the Cardinals only marginally so. Not a great weekend for any of these teams.

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