Marino's Report Card: NFC West

Former pro scout Tom Marino hands out the grades after evaluating the talent selected by the teams in the NFC West. Check it out...

San Francisco 49ers                            A+ 

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 11 Patrick Willis MB Mississippi
1 28 Joe Staley OT Central Michigan
3 76 Jason Hill WR Washington St.
3 97 Ray McDonald DT Florida
4 104 Jay Moore DE Nebraska
4 126 Dashon Goldson CB Washington
4 135 Joe Cohen DE Florida
5 147 Tarell Brown CB Texas
6 186 Thomas Clayton RB Kansas St.

An outstanding draft throughout!! If he stays healthy, the highly touted Patrick Willis has a chance to become something special and is my choice for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. 

Joe Staley--in time--has the natural ability to surpass both Joe Thomas and Levi Brown at the offensive tackle position. 

Jason Hill flew under the radar for much of his career, but has size, speed and catching skills that should allow him to factor quickly into the pro game.  I particularly liked his ability to track the deep ball. 

Ray McDonald is a well-schooled inside player with excellent hand use and quickness. If he can stay healthy and add some bulk, he has a chance to become something special. 

Jay Moore from Nebraska is a steady, hard-working player--as are his two 4th-round counterparts, Cohen and Goldson (sounds like a law firm). 

Fifth round selection Tarell Brown has had some off-the-field problems and needs to grow up. But he represents excellent value at this selection. 

Florida State transfer Thomas Clayton has both run skills and vision, but lacks top speed and explosiveness. 

An outstanding job from top to bottom with special recognition to director Scot McCloughan, veteran scout Oscar Lofton, and Matt Malaspina.

Arizona Cardinals                               B+ 

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 5 Levi Brown OT Penn State
2 33 Alan Branch DT Michigan
3 69 Buster Davis MB Florida St.
5 142 Steve Breaston WR Michigan
7 215 Ben Patrick TE Delaware

Although the Cardinals appeared to reach somewhat with their first selection, both the new coaching and veteran scouting staffs realized that with the departure of Leonard Davis via free agency they were left with no viable alternative other then to draft a tackle with their first selection. 

Arizona's second-round pick, Alan Branch of Michigan, is a non-productive giant with skills who the team hopes will develop quickly. 

Steve Breaston (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)
All the short (not undersized) Buster Davis does is make tackles and big plays all over the football field. 

The more one sees Steve Breaston perform, the more you appreciate his value to a football team. I think he is a very versatile under-appreciated player who should contribute in a backup special teams role for the Cardinals. 

Ben Patrick, in my opinion, gives Arizona great seventh-round value and is a far better player and prospect then most teams realize.

With only five selections, there were not enough picks to fill all the team's pressing needs. But overall I felt Rod Graves and his director of scouting Steve Keim, did a very fine job of evaluating and sorting out the talent pool for the 2007 draft. Let me take this opportunity to recognize east coast cross-checker, Jerry Hardaway and veteran left coast talent evaluator Dave Razzano. 

Overall I believe their entire staff did a particularly good job preparing for and reacting to the ebbs and flows throughout this marathon two-day process.

St Louis Rams                                     B+

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 13 Adam Carriker DT Nebraska
2 52 Brian Leonard RB Rutgers
3 84 Jonathan Wade CB Tennessee
5 139 Dustin Fry OC Clemson
5 154 Clifton Ryan DT Michigan St.
6 190 Ken Shackleford OT Georgia
7 248 Keith Jackson DT Arkansas
7 249 Derek Stanley WR Wisconsin Whitewater

First-round selection Adam Carriker is a wide body that is best suited to play as a 3-4 end or tackle in a 4-3 scheme. 

Jonathan Wade (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
I see the multi-talented Brian Leonard from Rutgers primarily as a single back, but also view him functioning at fullback, as an H, or backup running back.  Regardless of where he plays, this guy is going to contribute to winning football games. 

One can never have enough quality corners, and in Jonathan Wade the Rams get a player who should contribute in sub-packages and on special teams quickly.

Dustin Fry is a wide body who could allow the Rams to move Richie Incognito back to his natural OG position. 

Clifton Ryan was an excellent fifth-round selection in terms of ability and playing potential, but he just does not play consistently hard. 

Kendrick Shackleford out of Georgia is a former defensive lineman with limited bend and flexibility. 

Keith Jackson is less skilled the aforementioned Clifton Ryan, but gives far better sustained playing effort. 

Not a flashy draft, but solid throughout.

Seattle Seahawks                                F

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
2 55 Josh Wilson CB Maryland
3 85 Brandon Mebane DT California
4 120 Baraka Atkins DE Miami
4 124 Mansfield Wrotto OG Georgia Tech
5 161 Will Herring OB Auburn
6 197 Courtney Taylor WR Auburn
6 210 Jordan Kent WR Oregon
7 232 Steve Vallos OC Wake Forest

First selection Josh Wilson (2nd round) is an outstanding return man and overall special teams contributor. As a corner, he showed excellent skills (turn, pedal, and close) but he just did not make enough plays on the ball. I think he will contribute quickly in nickel.

Brandon Mebane (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Brandon Mebane's play was hot and cold in 2006. And the next play the underachieving body-beautiful Baraka Atkins makes will be his first one.

Mansfield Wrotto (I love that name), who has only played one season on the offensive line, represents good value in the fourth round as does the Seahawks' 6th-round selection--the steady-skilled Courtney Taylor from Auburn.

Steve Vallos is a tough, smart and experienced college OT (self-made player) who projects (best chance) to the center position.

A lot will depend on how healthy the Seahawks can remain in 2007, but it appears to me that this team's window for success (around four years) might well be beginning to close.

Tom Marino is a veteran of 35 years in the player personnel field, most recently with the St. Louis Rams. He has worked in three professional leagues (NFL, USFL, and WFL), and among his many accomplishments, is credited with the discovery of Eric Swann, the first non-collegiate player since 1946 to be selected in the 1st round of the NFL college draft.

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