It was a busy day for a couple of teams in the NFC West on Thursday night. The Seahawks and Rams both made big trades to get out of their spots and accumulate more picks. The Rams trade brought them a valuable second round pick and still gave them a good player in the first round. The Seahawks’ first round was far more questionable. The Cardinals and Niners stayed put and drafted the guys they wanted, although the Niner pick was a head-scratcher to some.
The Rams started off the NFC West’s evening by trading out of Pick #6 in a deal with the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas had a glaring need at defensive back and was able to get the best one available in Morris Claiborne, whom I feel is the best overall prospect in the entire draft. Major score for Dallas here. St. Louis received Dallas’ pick at #14, which they used to select DT Michael Brockers, a former teammate of Claiborne at LSU. Dallas also gave the Rams pick #45. The Rams now own three of the first fourteen picks in the second round. They will have a great opportunity to plug a lot of holes in their lineup with quality players, although one wonders if Claiborne alone wouldn’t have made the team so significantly better that such a bounty of players would have been rendered unnecessary, considering the Rams already had two second round picks. I would not say that the player at #45 and Michael Brockers are anywhere near as good as Claiborne, but the Rams obviously feel differently.
The Cardinals came next, fulfilling the wishes of their star WR Larry Fitzgerald and selecting WR Michael Floyd from Notre Dame with pick #13. Floyd is an excellent wideout, just a tick below Justin Blackmon, who will make Fitzgerald even more dangerous as he will be less frequently double-covered. Floyd is a true red-zone threat, and while he may not have blazing speed he does have superb hands and a nose for the end zone. He was a prolific scorer in college and will fill the void left behind by Anquan Boldin. He may even be better than Boldin once given time to develop in the league. The Cardinals had myriad needs on their team including offensive line, but if the opportunity to draft a playmaker like Floyd arises, it must not be missed.
The Seahawks held pick #12, but traded it to Philadelphia, who used the pick on Fletcher Cox. Seattle received picks 15, 114, and 172. They then used pick #15 to select Bruce Irvin, OLB from West Virginia. Irvin is a good player and an excellent pass rusher, but has character concerns and is deficient In nearly every part of his game save pass rushing. For a team as bereft of pass rushers as Seattle, this pick makes sense, but not in the first round. Irvin may have been there in rounds 2 or 3. No team should pick any player in the first round with such glaring holes as Irvin. This pick has the potential to be a complete disaster if Irvin is asked to be an every-down linebacker. If, however, he is used merely as a situational pass rusher, he will be successful. That is not a problem you wish to give yourself as a team by making a first round pick like this.
The Niners stayed put at pick 30. They selected WR A.J. Jenkins from Illinois. I don’t think anyone outside of the Niners brain trust saw this one coming. Jenkins isn’t widely known, nor is he considered one of the top receivers available. However, the Niners targeted him early on and knew he was their guy. He isn’t tall, but is very fast and is a very good route runner with great hands and the ability to catch the ball in traffic. The Niners have spent much of the offseason bolstering their WR corps and this is another step in that process. They will have plenty of opportunity to address their offensive and defensive lines on days two and three.