49ers Opponents Draft Recap: NFC West
Draft season is finally over and while many hours have been spent analyzing what the 49ers have done or didn’t do, I wanted to spend a couple articles looking at the teams we’ll be facing and what they did in the draft.
DT Malik McDowell, Round 2 Pick 3
C Ethan Pocic, Round 2 Pick 26
DB Shaquill Griffin, Round 3 Pick 26
S Delano Hill, Round 3 Pick 31
DT Nazair Jones, Round 3 Pick 38
WR Amara Darboh, Round 3 Pick 42
S Tedric Thompson, Round 4 Pick 4
S Michael Tyson, Round 6 Pick 3
OT Justin Senior, Round 6 Pick 26
WR David Moore, Round 7 Pick 8
RB Chris Carson, Round 7 Pick 31
On the surface, this looks like a great draft for Seattle. It fills some needs that even people who don’t follow the team as closely can tell they needed to fill. Its clear as day, looking at the DBs and DLinemen they picked that they are getting ready for a life Post-Legion Of Boom. Earl Thomas has started to mull over retirement, and whether he does or not, I’m sure the thought alone scared Seattle into drafting some depth now and potential starters for the future. Add that to the reports that GM John Schneider fielded calls for trades for Richard Sherman and you’re looking at the potential of an overhaul.
Hill and Griffin have the potential to be big playmakers for Seattles secondary, and McDowell provides pass rush help. Those won’t necessarily hinder the Niners as much as DT Jones and the run stuffing ability he brings to the table. If Shanahan wants to get the ball moving on the ground, he’ll need to figure out how to neutralize Jones. WR has some shiftiness to his game, but matching him up against recent draftee Witherspoon should be fun to watch and a great matchup. The one truly mystifying pick is Pocic, who the team may contemplate to move to T. It seems like every year Seattle drafts someone intending to move them to a different spot, and it looks like Pocic is the unlucky winner this year.
Prediction against SEA - 1-1 I predict Lynch and Shanahan will top something we haven’t seen in quite some time: Help the Niners beat SEA. Even one win will do wonders for the fanbase in terms of morale and provide a means of showing the progress and steps forward the team has taken.
Los Angeles (St. Louis) Rams
TE Gerald Everett, Round 2 Pick 12
WR Cooper Kupp, Round 3 Pick 5
S John Johnson, Round 3 Pick 27
WR Josh Reynolds, Round 4 Pick 10
OLB Samson Ebukam, Round 4 Pick 19
DT Tanzel Smart, Round 6 Pick 5
FB Sam Rogers, Round 6 Pick 22
DE Ejuan Price, Round 7 Pick 16
If there is a theme to the collective drafts of the NFC West, its that they all seem to have aspects that make absolutely no sense to anyone beyond the people making the picks. Beathard getting taken in the 3rd. Pocic potentially moving to Tackle. Thankfully for SF the Niners seem to have minimized the strange picks to Beathard and Beathard alone (Can you tell I think saying Beathard is fun?)
LA, on the other hand, has quite a few picks that don’t make a lot of sense. The most glaring of which is probably Everett with their 2nd round pick. Yes, new head coach Sean McCoy has spent the last few years in Washington with a versatile TE in Jordan Reed. Everett is not that player though. He was also considered by most people to be a 3rd/Potential 4th round pick. So on the one hand, good for McVay for getting the guy hje apparently wanted, but the value just doesn’t seem to make sense and really suggests they could’ve gotten better talent for a more glaring need and gotten him later.
My favorite pick in their draft would have to be John Johnson. Had the Niners wanted some extra SS depth or felt unsure about Reid I would’ve been more than happy with them picking up Johnson. (Plus, lets be real. Nothing wrong with multiple Johnsons in the back) Johnson offers the Rams some versatility they haven’t really had lately, and which has led to Brandon Lloyd burning them on big plays. Add in Cooper Kupp who has mainly been a slot type WR and you’ve got a very strange draft. If Kupp can thrive on the outside then great, but drafting slot WR right after drafting slot-type TE Everett and the strange hits just keep on coming for LA, and while a bad draft doesn’t necessarily mean the team will be bad, a little dysfunction to the team the Niners got their only wins against bodes well for the Niners record against them this year.
Prediction against LAR - 2-0 Much like last year, its very likely SF will again sweep LA. A not great draft coupled with growing pains with the youngest HC in the league could provide enough dysfunction that a SF team looking to rebound can take advantage of.
LB Haason Reddick, Round 1 Pick 13
S Budda Baker, Round 2 Pick 4
WR Chad Williams, Round 3 Pick 34
G Dorian Johnson, Round 4 Pick Pick 8
T Will Holden, Round 5 Pick 13
RB TJ Logan, Round 5 Pick 36
S Jonathan Ford, Round 6 Pick 24
Arizona, from a pure patience perspective, killed the 1st round of the draft. There’d been some talk that they were interested in a couple of the first round QB prospects, most notably Patrick Mahomes. But with other teams jumping up, down, and sideways in the draft to pick up whatever QBs they could get to try and revamp their respective teams, Arizona didn’t budge. The part where it gets strange is how they picked once they were on the clock. LB Reddick is a great and versatile player who will likely be able to do whatever they ask of him. The problem lies in them picking him up so early. Most draftniks had him going no earlier than pick 20, so the value doesn’t seem to be there. If he does end up making a meaningful impact along the line in his first year h=then I’m sure they’ll feel better about the pick in the years to come.
After Reddick things get a little interesting. 2 of their picks were used on trying to help their offensive line, which has taken some hits in recent years. If they want to try and get anything from Carson Palmer then they’ll need to protect him. Budda Baker was looked at leading up to the draft as a potential option for SF, and I’m sure if Foster wasn’t there late in the first, they would’ve stood pat at 34 and potentially taken him. Baker is an incredibly versatile player who will pair up nicely with Buchanan. ARI also picked up TJ Logan in the 5th. A personal favorite of some of the staff here at 49ersHub, he should pair up nicely as a backup to David Johnson and could be an impact player for the team in his first year.
Prediction against ARI - 1-1 Arizona didn’t add that much in the draft, but they also didn’t need to. Their roster has taken some hits but they still have enough playmakers to have a meaningful impact. Given how good of an offensive mind Shanahan is, I wouldn’t be surprised if they eek out a win in their first meeting, and then lose the second game after injuries start to creep in and teams start to figure each other out.
How do you think SF will do against the NFC West? What do you think of how the other teams drafted? Join me (@FakeScottYoung) and @49ersHub in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you think!
Stay tuned to for the next installment of 49ers Opponents Draft Recap, only on the 49ersHub website and twitter.