It was a very busy day in the NFC West, with all four teams making impact selections that will have serious ramifications for their teams. I felt the Rams were the biggest winners of the day, while the Niners took an explosive playmaker and then traded out of the third round. The Cardinals did not have a second round pick, but took a defensive back in the back end of round 3. Seattle once again made a questionable pick, but did take an impact player in round 2.
The Rams had three second round picks as well as a third rounder and really made the most of all of them. With pick #33 they selected Brian Quick, a talented wideout from Appalachian State who was quickly rising up draft boards. With pick #39 the Rams took Janoris Jenkins, CB from Florida by way of North Alabama. While Joe Haden was taken #7 overall by Cleveland a few years ago, we should remember that when Jenkins was Haden’s teammate at Florida he was a better player than Haden. If Jenkins can move beyond his character concerns, the Rams will have received top-5 value at pick 39. It doesn’t get much better than that.
At pick #50 the Rams picked up Isaiah Pead, a talented rusher from the University of Cincinnati. The Rams finally get a decent backup RB who can spell Steven Jackson and lessen his workload, which has been brutal as of late. Jackson has been St. Louis’ entire offense for a few years and the nagging injuries are catching up to him. Pead will help alleviate those issues and eventually take over as the feature back. In the third round the Rams took Trumaine Johnson, CB from Montana, who also fell from the first round due to character issues. Johnson is a huge talent who deserved to be pick much higher than this, and the Rams got enormous value out of this pick. That makes two solid first-round corners on the second day.
The Cardinals chose Jamell Fleming, CB from Oklahoma, with pick #80. Fleming is a lockdown corner with excellent athleticism who performed very well against the glut of spread offenses in the Big 12 conference. The Cardinals will line him up across from Patrick Peterson, giving them two shutdown corners. The Cardinals’ front seven isn’t that great, so they will need all the time they can get to harass the QB. The better the opposing receivers are covered, the longer the pass rushers will have so this pick can help cover a lot of Arizona’s flaws.
The Niners decided to add to their offensive explosiveness by adding a player Jim Harbaugh is very familiar with. LaMichael James. Harbaugh’s defenses at Stanford spent vast amounts of time looking at James’ back as he ran all over the field for the Oregon Ducks. James isn’t big, but he is stronger than he looks and is much faster in-game than his 40-yard dash time might suggest. James is used to a spread-option offense but has the field vision and burst to succeed in any offense. James brings an element to the offense that Kendall Hunter and Frank Gore do not- breakaway speed. James is also an extremely proficient pass-catcher out of the backfield and has been known to line up at wideout. He is extremely versatile and also is an accomplished kick and punt returner with very sure hands and incredible elusiveness.
Seattle took Utah State OLB Bobby Wagner with pick #47. This was a good spot for him, as he was rated about in the mid second round. Not only is Wagner a potential star at linebacker, but is also insurance in case the Bruce Irvin pick turns out disastrous. With their third round pick, #75, the Seahawks selected QB Russell Wilson from Wisconsin. This was another head scratcher. Seattle has made a pick like this before several years ago when they took Seneca Wallace from Iowa State. Wilson’s only problem is that he is short. He has everything else you look for in a quarterback- accurate, strong arm, elusiveness, leadership ability, and can make all the throws. However, Seattle just signed Matt Flynn and still has Tarvaris Jackson on their roster so Wilson is a questionable fit. However, if Seattle plans to use Wilson as a multi-positional threat, his athleticism may be a boon, but this was very early for Wilson.