The San Francisco 49ers shocked a lot of people when they took Aldon Smith, the outside linebacker out of Missouri, with the seventh overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Shocking or not, the fanbase itself mostly calmed down after the initial confusion, when they realized that he was a good player, not much of a reach, and a definite fit in San Francisco's 2011 defense. Smith is a great pick for San Francisco, at least in this writer's opinion, but the 49ers weren't the only ones to do well in that regard - the rest of the NFC West fared pretty well on top of that. Below, we'll look at the rest of the division, their picks, and some analysis.
This could not have went better for Arizona ... well actually, it probably could have. Von Miller out of Texas A&M was probably their dream pick, but by their own admission, Peterson was the fifth highest player on their board, meaning that they would have preferred Miller, Marcell Dareus, Cam Newton and A.J. Green to Peterson. What they would-have-but-couldn't do aside, Peterson is the consensus best player on the board and strengthens an already strong secondary. The NFC West will struggle to keep up with passing on them at this point. The pick is a solid 'A'.
Conventional wisdom says that the Rams would have liked to get Aldon Smith, but in lieu of him, Quinn is another very solid pick. Quinn is a top ten player who has fallen for a few different reasons, but the Rams figure they can get past that and add him to an already strong pass rush. They'll need it, with the 49ers and Seattle investing heavily in offensive line picks in recent years. Quinn will play opposite Chris Long and start from day one, in all likelihood. A solid 'A' pick as well.
The weakest of the NFC West draft picks at this point, but that doesn't mean it's a bad pick. Carpenter is the lesser-known tackle prospect, but he fits in most positions on the line, and could even play the interior in Seattle. Maybe he's not a first-round talent in a better draft for offensive line, but this year, he's a first round talent who is perceived as a reach here, but in reality probably wouldn't have lasted much longer. The only negative is the fact that there are unquestionably better prospects, but I guess you can't argue with the fact that they're going out to get their guy. Carpenter is a little raw and will need a bit of time before he can step into the lineup. This pick is a 'B' just because the fact that the Seahawks had other needs and the other tackles still available.