Grading the Draft-NFC West

"The Good", "The Bad", "The Ugly". A Clint Eastwood movie? Yes; but also a way to define the draft of this division.


The Cards continue a rebuilding process on defense and used four of their initial five selections to draft players on that side of the ball.  Hoping a top defensive tackle would fall into their laps, Arizona got a break when they wisely selected Wendell Bryant, a dominant lineman that can be used at either tackle or end.  Bryant has an enormous amount of upside potential and could very well be the forgotten man in this, the year of the defensive tackle.  Levar Fisher is versatile, smart and offers youth at the linebacker position.  Third round choice Josh McKown was a solid pick and could be in the wings to replace Jake Plummer should "The Snake" falter.  Dennis Johnson was worth a pick in the same frame and should he buckle down and put forth the effort, adds yet another piece to the defensive line puzzle.  Nate Dwyer brings talent, size and intensity at defensive tackle and in time, will offer a nice inside tandem with Wendell Bryant.  Mike Banks was one of the better blocking tight ends available in the draft and should help what is a weak running attack.  Overall a solid effort in the dessert with as many as three immediate starters coming from this group.

San Francisco 

Little-by-little the Niners are returning to the winning ways they are used to and now find themselves as a team looking to draft for depth as much as anything else.  This was evident with their initial selection, cornerback Mike Rumph, who adds size and a physical presence in the defensive backfield.  Rumph should immediately help out in nickel situations.  Saleem Rasheed, the underclassmen from Alabama selected in round three, is a fine athlete that must iron out the rough edges of his game.  Possessing weak-side linebacker size and speed, Rasheed must improve his play in pass coverage and may be hard-pressed to see the field early in his career.  Kevin Curtis was solid value in round four and offers help for a thin group of safety's while Eric Heitmann was good value in round seven and could see significant playing time if his back is alright.  Mark Anelli has good long term potential at tight end.  Were it not for the fact that they drafted kicker Jeff Chandler (4th round) and signal caller Brandon Doman (5th) much earlier then their grades would warrant, this group of players ranked rather nicely.



Mind-boggling, head-scratching, strange; all terms that can justifiably be used to describe Mike Holmgrem's recent draft effort.  The team came into the weekend with obvious needs and left the draft with just as many question marks.  Seattle's first selection, Jerramy Stevens is a tremendous athlete but undeveloped football player whose had an equal amount of touchdown receptions (four) the past two seasons as he's had run-ins with the law.  To say Stevens is a risky choice would be putting it mildly, to say he is a loose cannon is more like it.  Maurice Morris, taken a frame later, is a third down back that did not make much sense while third pick defensive end Anton Palepoi was selected at least two rounds earlier then he should've been.  Though they rebounded nicely in the middle frames with Matt Hill, Ryan Hannam, Rocky Bernard and Terreal Bierra.  We do not see any immediate impact coming from this draft nor does this group of players help push the Seahawks to the next level and into the playoffs, something that may be necessary for Holmgren to keep his job.  On paper, possibly the worst draft this year.


St Louis 

Mike Martz, Charley Armey and company seem to live on feast or famine come draft tine and that trend was not broken this year.  While the Rams chose solid prospects many of the players were selected at least a round or two earlier then most had them ranked.  Robert Thomas made a move up draft boards with good post-season workouts but the first frame was a reach for the UCLA prospect that's yet to have a defined linebacker position at the next level.  Cornerback Travis Fischer was another benefiting from good workouts in January and though many were impressed with his skills hardly any figured the Central Florida prospect in the first day, yet St Louis tabbed him with their choice in round two.  Running back Lamar Gordon was a solid pick in the third frame but the Rams again raised eyebrows with the choice or WR/QB/RB/S Eric Crouch of Nebraska at the end of that round.  If Courtland Bullard starts to pull it all together as a football player he could be a steal in round five.  The Rams draft could be best summed up by the choice of Travis Scott.  A back-up at Arizona State, Scott stated he was "shocked" to be drafted at and commented he thought the person on the phone was "joking around" when they claimed to represent the Rams organization and said they were ready to select him in round four.  By the way; Scott's focus was not on the draft rather a possible return to college for a fifth season.

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