The NFC West has an eclectic collection of teams that seem morally averse to keeping their own premium draft picks. With half the number of established veteran QBs as it did a year ago expect the division to have more parity. Some teams in the division drafted to fit the usual archetypes that they covet, while others seemingly intentionally went off their beaten path.

Arizona Cardinals

RoundPickPlayerPositionCollege/UnivRoster Status
255Trey McBrideTEColorado St. 
387Cameron ThomasEDGESan Diego St. 
3100Myjai SandersEDGECincinnati 
6201Keaontay IngramRBUSC 
6215Lecitus SmithOLVirginia Tech 
7244Christian MatthewCBValdosta St. 
7256Jesse LuketaEDGEPenn St.Cut/Waived
7257Marquis HayesOLOklahomaPUP/NFI/IR

UDFA:

EDGEs Cam Thomas and Myjai Sanders have starkly contrasting body types. They are both long and tall, but Thomas is a bulky player who plays through the blocker while Sanders relies on his lithe build to slide around the corner. Luckily, this means that the players aren’t vying for the same roles along the defensive front. Sanders also has some concerns as he experienced unreal volatility in body-weight during the evaluation. The Cardinals also took a chance on small-school CB Chris Matthew, who brings astonishing measurables to the table. With a broad jump of over ten feet, arms longer than many OTs, and the largest hands of any DB in the draft class, Matthew has all the tools to contribute on special teams right away.

TE Trey McBride may not have all the physical traits, but works hard and smart to be in the right place at the right time. He still has good speed for the position, with the second-fastest 40 time at the combine among TEs, and the strong hands needed to play over the middle. RB Keontay Ingram never quite lived up to his recruiting pedigree but comes into the NFL with a high ceiling. His explosive-run ability meshes well with Kingsbury’s wide-open offense, and his one-cut style will help him avoid the likes of Aaron Donald. OL Lecitus Smith was one of my favorite interior linemen in 2022. Smith is probably the easiest mover in the draft class as he showed better athleticism than some of the LBs he was blocking. His enthusiasm in looking for work will quickly earn him the favor of his coaches.

Los Angeles Rams

RoundPickPlayerPositionCollege/UnivRoster Status
3104Logan BrussOLWisconsinPUP/NFI/IR
4142Cobie DurantCBSouth Carolina St. 
5164Kyren WilliamsRBNotre Dame 
6211Quentin LakeSUCLACut/Waived
6212Derion KendrickCBGeorgia 
7235Daniel HardyEDGEMontana St. 
7253Russ YeastSKansas St. 
7261AJ ArcuriOLMichigan St.Cut/Waived

UDFA: LB Jake Hummel, WR Lance McCutcheon, EDGE Keir Thomas

The Rams have demonstrated an allergy to first round picks in recent years, not getting involved in the draft until the tail end of Day 2 in 2022. RB Kyren Williams joins the backfield of Akers and Henderson despite tanking his draft stock by running over a 4.6 at the combine. He’ll be the smash factor in a RB room that has a propensity for bouncing plays from the inside and a proclivity for called outside runs. OL Logan Bruss likely kicks inside after anchoring the bookend for OL-factory Wisconsin. He is tall but squat, and is well-suited to playing in a phone booth, but will be able to fill in at tackle in a pinch.

CB Cobie Durant can best be described as Hammy from Over the Hedge. If he can tone down his hyper nature he can be a force at the catch point despite his tiny physique. He may adjust to the pro game sooner than other prospects from higher levels of college competition thanks to his plus mirror ability. The other CB drafted by the Rams was CB Derion Kendrick. He needs to keep out of trouble, both on and off the field, but has the fluidity and speed to recover.

San Francisco 49ers

RoundPickPlayerPositionCollege/UnivRoster Status
261Drake JacksonEDGEUSC 
393Tyrion Davis-PriceRBLSU 
3105Danny GrayWRSMU 
4134Spencer BurfordOLTexas-San Antonio 
5172Samuel WomackCBToledo 
6187Nick ZakeljOLFordham 
6220Kalia DavisiDLCentral FloridaPUP/NFI/IR
6221Tariq Castro-FieldsCBPenn St.Cut/Waived
7262Brock PurdyQBIowa St. 

UDFA: RB Jordan Mason

The 49ers have a type when it comes to offensive skill position players. But this year, they tried to break their draft habits. Before the draft, I described RB Tyrion Davis-Price as a touchdown vulture due to his dense build complementing his contact balance. While he will get opportunities in the redzone, the 49ers plan to use him between the 20s as well as a change-of-pace from the current group of speed backs. WR Danny Gray provides some variety in the receiving corps by being one-dimensional compared to the more-versatile wideouts already on the roster. Gray is a speedier receiver with a less than ideal physique. He needs to work on adding refinement to his route-running and nuance for run after the catch. Neither Davis-Price nor Gray will be fantasy relevant, but should fill roles in spot duty.

OL Spencer Burford and Nick Zakelj will need some seasoning before they can be everyday contributors. Burford needs some peanut butter to build his lower half which should give him the necessary sandbag ability. Zakelj will need to learn a new position at guard due to his t-rex arms but has good movement. QB Brock Purdy started his college career with a bang then subsequently looked worse every year. His ceiling is as a backup. With Jimmy G remaining on the roster, I wouldn’t expect him to stick on the roster for the whole season.

EDGE Drake Jackson is an enigma. The upside is undeniable when watching Jackson burst upfield and bend around the corner. The problem is when Jackson gets pushed around despite weighing 270 pounds. He can work into the pass-rush rotation early, and will need to learn from the seasoned vets how to use his bulk once he hits the weight room. CB Sam Womack is like a chihuahua in his aggressiveness despite his diminutive stature. iDL Kalia Davis probably would’ve been drafted much higher had he not torn an ACL in October. His plus penetration has potential to be a consistent NFL-level tool. Look for him to contribute later in the season after he comes back from injury and has time to assimilate.

Seattle Seahawks

RoundPickPlayerPositionCollege/UnivRoster Status
19Charles CrossOLMississippi St. 
240Boye MafeEDGEMinnesota 
241Kenneth WalkerRBMichigan St. 
372Abraham LucasOLWashington St. 
4109Coby BryantCBCincinnati 
5153Tariq WoolenCBTexas-San Antonio 
5158Tyreke SmithEDGEOhio St.PUP/NFI/IR
7229Bo MeltonWRRutgersCut/Waived
7233Dareke YoungWRLenoir-Rhyne 

UDFA: S Joey Blount, LB Joshua Onujiogu

We finally get to see the first first round pick in the division! OL Charles Cross was an enigmatic evaluation coming out of Mississippi State. With a bottom-heavy build but plus plus movement skills, the enigmatic OT will be charged with keeping Geno Smith upright and creating running lanes for the Seahawk stable of RBs.

Courtesy of NBC Sports

One of those rushers is 2021 breakout RB Kenneth Walker from Michigan State. While his alma mater scrambles to find recipients for his touches, Walker is charged with replacing Chris Carson’s production. He has great patience and vision to find every possible opening with the contact balance and speed to gain yards where they don’t seem to exist. OL Abraham Lucas will compete for the other starting OT spot across from Cross. A steady mirroring tackle, Lucas has an opportunity to learn on the job and make an early impact on a fairly talent-poor roster.

The days of the Legion of Boom are long gone, along with most of the coaches that made it possible. Nevertheless, the Seahawks still insist on drafting at least one Cover-3 CB every year. CB Tariq Woolen is this year’s iteration. Though he played at a low level of competition in college, Woolen’s stellar coverage performances impressed evaluators around the league. The 6-4 corner ran a 4.26s 40 at the Combine and a 7.1s 3-cone at his pro-day, meriting a RAS score of 9.7. His instincts will need work but the physical profile gives him a high ceiling. CB Coby Bryant (named after the late Lakers legend), is a man coverage corner who lacks any notably outstanding measurables but has experience at high levels of competition and the instincts that come with it. EDGE Tyreke Smith is hurt but can be a solid depth piece who sets the edge effectively as a 5-tech or a run-defending 4-3 end once he returns.

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