The NFC West is maybe the toughest division in football. The San Francisco 49ers almost won the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks are always in the playoff mix, while the Arizona Cardinals are on the rise. Even though the Los Angeles Rams are rebuilding, they could find themselves in the mix a couple years from now.
The Seahawks have proven that the Draft has been the perfect way to reload their team with talent. Once again, they will be in position to add some young talent. For once, the Cardinals will not be looking for their quarterback of the future but will look to add some pieces around their young quarterback. The Rams will just look to add talent for the future and the 49ers are in win now mode.
Here is a look at how the draft could play out for the NFC West in a four round mock draft.
- Arizona Cardinals select Tristian Wirfs, offensive tackle from Iowa
- San Francisco 49ers select Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 13th pick and Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson with the 31st pick.
- Seattle Seahawks select Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa
Selecting Wirfs might not be the sexy pick for the Cardinals fanbase, but it is the moves that will pay off in the long run. Wirfs athleticism and power would protect Kyler Murray and allow plays to develop downfield. With D.J. Humphries on the left side, Wirfs would be the anchor on the right side the Caridnals offensive line needs.
The 49ers made a big move early this offseason, trading DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the 13th pick. With that pick, the draft Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Lamb has the potential to develop into the next DeAndre Hopkins. With Emmanuel Sanders exiting in free agency, Lamb can step in and play right away. With Lamb, Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis, and George Kittle catching the ball, not to mention the best running back trio in the west, Jimmy Garoppolo will a field day carving up defenses.
Jaylon Johnson brings an athletic build with a frame to handle bigger, physical receivers. He also has the ability to alter press techniques to keep opposing wide receivers guessing. He has the ball hawk skills needed to hold his own while possessing speed to get to the quarterback in different packages. Pair him with Richard Sherman, you got two corners that are physical at the line of scrimmage and use their natural ability to win the battle for the ball. He would be a welcomed addition to the 49ers cornerback group.
A.J. Epenesa has it all. He’s got size, speed, and power off the edge. While at Iowa, Epenesa totaled 26.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles. As a unit, the Seahawks had 28 sacks the entire 2019 season. He played in a 4-3 defensive scheme at Iowa, which is what the Seahawks are currently running. It is a match made in heaven. If the Seahawks can’t get Jadeveon Clowney back, Epenesa is a good option to replace him.
- Los Angeles Rams select USC OT Austin Jackson and USC WR Michael Pittman Jr.
- Seattle Seahawks select Raekwon Davis and Brandon Aiyuk
The Rams use their first pick of the second round to get younger on the offensive line. Andrew Whitworth is 38 years old and could retire following the 2020 season. Austin Jackson has outstanding athleticism; his feet are quick and nimble to get out into his blocks quickly. He will create wholes for newly drafted Jonathan Taylor while giving Jared Goff time to throw the ball.
With their second pick in the second round, the Rams go back to the USC well and select wide receiver and select Tee Higgins. Running back maybe a concern, but the Rams can address it later. After Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds, the wide receiver group is really thin. Listed as 6’4” and 21 pounds, Pittman Jr. brings athleticism and physicality to the wide receiver position. Uses his size, frame, strong hands and physicality to win battles for the football. He can beat you going deep down field or short catches for big chunks of yards. With the Rams needing a downfield threat, Pittman Jr. fits the bill and take some of the pressure off Kupp and Woods in the passing game.
Raekwon Davis possesses the ability to impose his will on opposing offensive lineman and dominate at the point of attack. Has the instincts to avoid double teams and create mayhem in the backfield. Has the potential to become the DeForest Buckner for the Seahawks. Davis could slide right in with Jarran Reed and Poona Ford in the rotation from day one.
With Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and Greg Olsen leading the Seahawks playmakers, the Seahawks could still use another playmaker in the offense. At 6’0” and 200 pounds, Brandon Aiyuk could be that guy. Aiyuk has the speed to run quick routes and makes things happen in open space. He is one of the best vertical receivers in college, using his strong hands to get the ball out of the air. Aiyuk can be placed in the slot and make plays on his own.
- Arizona Cardinals select Donovan Peoples-Jones
- Los Angeles Rams select Jonathan Greenard and Troy Dye
- Seattle Seahawks select Saahdiq Charles
Even with DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk leading the way at wide receiver, Donovan Peoples-Jones would make the receiving room complete. Arizona doesn’t know what they have in Andy Isabella or Hakeem Butler, adding a receiver like Peoples-Jones would give Kyler Murray another weapon at his disposal. Erratic and dreadful quarterback play limited Peoples-Jones production and ability on the football field. At the same time, it showed how well he could adapt to any situation and make adjustments to off-target throws. Peoples-Jones could shine with Murrary throwing him the ball and could make an impact when giving him the chance.
With the Rams needing a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, Jonathan Greenard would be the piece they build with on the edge. With time and development, he could turn into a solid run and pass defender. Gets out of his stance quickly because of his snap anticipation. He sets the tone on the edge that can create his own turnover opportunities. Oregon linebacker Troy Dye would bring his tackle production, football IQ and sideline-to-sideline range to the linebacker group. If he sees the ball carrier, he is going to get the ball carrier, which he proved during his time at Oregon. A big plus for Dye is his ability to stay with and cover tight ends. With time, these picks could pay dividends in the Rams plans.
With their fourth pick in the draft, the Seahawks add some depth at the tackle position with Saahdiq Charles. Charles does a good job at keeping the defender in front of him and does a good job maintaining his blocks. Has good athleticism for his size and plays like he is light on his feet. He could play at either tackle position while brining flexibility at the guard position as well. With the starters in place, he could learn the NFL for the first couple of years and then contribute.
- Arizona Cardinals select Zack Moss and Davion Taylor
- Los Angeles Rams select A.J. Dillon
- Seattle Seahawks select Albert Okwuegbunam and Julian Blackmon
After trading David Johnson to the Houston Texans in the offseason, the Arizona’s depth chart is thin at the running back position. The Cardinals seem like what moss brings to the table as they met with him at the combine and recently held a FaceTime visit with him. Moss rushed for 4,067 yards and 38 touchdowns during his four seasons at Utah. With Kenyan Drake on a one-year contract, Moss would be a solid target for the organization. Their second pick in the fourth round is Colorado linebacker Tavion Taylor. Taylor is a former track runner with long speed and close burst speed for a linebacker. Combine that speed with his athletic ability, you got a linebacker that can hang with tight ends. If the Cardinals lose De’Vondre Campbell a year from now, Taylor could morph into only his replacement, but the linebacker the Cardinals have been searching for a long time.
With the release of Todd Gurley, the Rams have a big whole to fill in the offense. Boston College’s AJ Dillion is the pick in the fourth round. With Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson already on the roster, the Rams would have a three headed monster with Dillion on the roster. Dillion finished his career at Boston College with 39 career rushing touchdowns, running like a freight train when the ball is in his hands. He possesses good vision that allows him make decisions rather quickly. Dillion would make a good edition to the Rams backfield.
Albert Okwuegbunam is a versatile tight end that the Seahawks like to use. He is a solid run blocker and is a big target in the passing game. Okwuegbunam has the size and the speed to play at the NFL level and could be the next great Seahawks tight end. In college he scored a touchdown once every 4.2 catches in college and would be a big endzone threat due to his ability to win battles in the area. He could learn behind Greg Olson and Will Dissly for a year and be unleashed throughout the course of the season.
Blackmon is a former cornerback that transformed himself after moving to safety. He can play split safety, nickel or lend a hand in run support. Blackmon is an aggressive hitter that gets to the ball carrier rather quickly for short yard gains. He has the ability to stick with tight ends which is a valuable skillset to have. Behind Quandre Diggs and Brad McDougald, he would help out the Seahawks defenses in the backend.