Last but not least, the NFC West. Seahawks have long been the team to beat in this division, but the Rams stole that crown last year, leading to somewhat of a rebuild by Seahawks with many veteran stars leaving Seattle. In San Francisco, the acquisition and play from Jimmy Garropolo meant that the 49ers could continue their rebuild with a franchise QB already in place. Not so the Cardinals with Palmer retiring, and the oft injured Sam Bradford being bought in on yet another stellar pay package!
Round 1: (No. 27 overall) Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State.
Round 3: (No. 79) Rasheem Green, DE, USC.
Round 4: (No. 120) Will Dissly, TE, Washington.
Round 5: (No. 141) Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF; (No. 146) Tre Flowers, S, Oklahoma State; (No. 149) Michael Dickson, P, Texas; (No. 168) Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State.
Round 6: (No. 186) Jake Martin, Edge, Temple.
Round 7: (No. 220) Alex McGough, QB, Florida International.
As a 49ers fan, it’s hard not to be biased when analysing the Seahawks but damn, this just looks like an ill-conceived draft. Seattle’s running game has been ineffective of late, I wouldn’t have necessarily put that on the running backs they had (though none of them were exactly star studded) but on the of the offensive line to run block. Speaking of the offensive line, Russel Wilson spent most of last year scrambling away from defenders who were coming through the porous unit. All this would point to putting a premium on bringing in some help for the offensive line. But no, the Seahawks selected a punter before they addressed the o-line.
What they did do was pick up a new runner with their first-round pick. In the past, Seattle have traded out of the first round and they probably could have done the same and still picked up Penny in later rounds. He’s a good runner, decent speed and athleticism but can lack the vision needed to succeed at the next level. ESPN had him as the fifth running back on their list so this was definitely a reach. The other problem with Penny, he’s not great at blocking, something that’s a common trait in Seattle these days so he should fit right in.
Rasheem Green is a raw prospect who some have likened to Michael Bennett, apt really as Bennett has now departed. There’s some speculation that Green should have gone back to school for another year and come out next year where he may have been first round talent. He’s got the right stature for the position and has tremendous potential but 2018 could be a learning year for him.
One of the biggest news stories in the 2018 draft was that of Shaquem Griffin. Griffin had his hand amputated as a child and has continued to defy all those that doubted him to be invited to the combine where he put on a stellar performance and now has landed in the Seattle where he’ll play alongside his twin brother, Shaquill. His story is an inspiring one and I really hope he’s a success in Seattle.
With pick number 168, the Seahawks finally got around to enforcing the o-line when they took Jamarco Jones from Ohio State. He’s another player with great potential but we likely won’t see that in 2018. Like Green, this year is likely to be a year of learning but if he lives up to his potential he could very well be a starting left tackle in years to come. For the sake of Wilson, let’s hope so!
Round 3: (No. 89 overall) Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU.
Round 4: (No. 111) Brian Allen, C, Michigan State; (No. 135) John Franklin-Myers, DE, Stephen F. Austin.
Round 5: (No. 147) Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia; (No. 160) Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge, Oklahoma.
Round 6: (No. 176) John Kelly, RB, Tennessee; (No. 192) Jamil Demby, OG, Maine; (No. 195) Sebastian Joseph, DT, Rutgers; (No. 205) Trevon Young, Edge, Louisville.
Round 7: (No. 231) Travin Howard, LB, TCU; (No. 244) Justin Lawler, DE, SMU.
The Rams spent many of their 2018 draft picks on bringing in veteran players from other teams in what has now become a bit of “win now” season as some of their bigger stars go in to contract years and, providing they keep up their form from 2017, will demand a high salary. Because of that, the Rams only had one pick in the first two days of the draft and with that they took the tackle, Joseph Noteboom. A sensible pick considering that the o-line in LA is quite an aging one and he’ll have time to learn from the grizzled veteran Andrew Whitworth.
On day three, the Rams were rapid fire with their picks and whilst many of them likely won’t make an impact, or even the roster but there might be one or two diamonds in the rough amongst the group.
My favourite of the group? Trevon Young from Louisville. Young’s health record is something to be concerned about. If it wasn’t so bad he would certainly have gone much higher in the draft. If he can get back to full fitness and maintain it he could very well be a starter and a disruptive one at that. Travin Howard is another player that could have an impact, he’s undersized for the position and not quick enough to move to safety but he led TCU in team tackles for the past three seasons so he knows his way to the ball.
San Francisco 49ers
Round 1: (No. 9 overall) Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame.
Round 2: (No. 44) Dante Pettis, WR, Washington.
Round 3: (No. 70) Fred Warner, LB, BYU; (No. 95) Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Miss.
Round 4: (No. 128) Kentavius Street, DE, N.C. State.
Round 5: (No. 142) D.J. Reed, CB, Kansas State.
Round 6: (No. 184) Marcell Harris, S, Florida.
Round 7: (No. 223) Jullian Taylor, DT, Temple; (No. 240) Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State.
As I sat up on the first night of the draft anxiously waiting for the 49ers I was excited about what the 49ers might do. Will the trouble with Foster force them to take a raw prospect like Tremaine Edmunds (one of my draft crushes) or will they reinforce the secondary with a playmaker like Derwin James? So when the pick came in, I’ll be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed. McGlinchey is the best tackle of this class, but this isn’t a good tackle class. Over the days that followed and with news that Trent Brown had reported in to training overweight and unfit and was shipped out to New England it made more sense. McGlinchey can spend a couple of seasons at right tackle and if needs be, as and when Staley decides to call it a day could move over to the left. He’s got a great personality and is huge with good ability to protect the valuable Garropolo.
Day two of the draft I think was sneaky good for the 49ers. Again, Dante Pettis probably isn’t the receiver I would have taken there but he’s got speed to stretch the field and at over six feet tall gives a bit more height to the receiving corps. He’s also got the ability to be a key asset in the kick return game. Warner, the linebacker selected in the third round again could be another playmaker and help out a pass rush that was lacking on third downs through 2017. Lastly, Moore the safety out of Southern Miss could be a star with his mix of size and speed. At over six feet and with a 40 time of 4.32 he’ll likely start at deep safety positions but could progress into an every down starter. DJ Reed is another defender with above average speed who will come to welcome the chance to learn under Richard Sherman.
Round 1: (No. 10 overall) Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA.
Round 2: (No. 47) Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M.
Round 3: (No. 97) Mason Cole, C, Michigan.
Round 4: (No. 134) Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham.
Round 6: (No. 182) Chris Campbell, CB, Penn State.
Round 7: (No. 254) Korey Cunningham, OT, Cincinnati.
In the end, it was the Cardinals that pulled the trigger to trade up and go get their quarterback of the future in Josh Rosen. The Cardinals (unlike the Saints) also didn’t overpay to make the move so this is an even better fit. Rosen was widely regarded as the most NFL ready QB coming in to the draft, only his character held him back in many people’s views. The Caridnals QB stable now looks good with Bradford and Rosen. I would expect to see Bradford start but that job quickly (probably due to injury!) moving to Rosen.
Up next, the Cardinals replenished their receiving corps with Christian Kirk who many had first round grades on. He’s got a great engine, good route running ability and decent speed (4.47 second in the 40) to play in the slot. Another offensive pick in round three could also find himself in the starting lineup. Cole was a team leader at Michigan and whilst he flirted with playing tackle, he’s a better prospect at centre.