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NFC West 2023 Draft Grades

San Francisco 49ers

Draft Grade: C

  • Round 3, Pick 87: S Ji’Ayir Brown. A trade-up to select an instinctual safety they needed.
  • Round 3: K Jake Moody and TE Cameron Latu. Moody’s selection as a kicker in the third round was a surprise, while Latu is considered a solid tight end.
  • Day 3: Focused on defensive depth with CB Darrell Luter Jr., DL Robert Beal Jr., and LB Dee Winters. Also added TE Brayden Willis, WR Ronnie Bell, and LB Jalen Graham in the seventh round.
What They Filled:
  • Added depth to the secondary with Brown and Luter.
  • Addressed special teams with the unconventional pick of Moody.
  • Added potential offensive weapons with Latu, Willis, and Bell.
What They Missed On:
  • The selection of Moody as a kicker in the third round raised eyebrows and was seen as a reach.
  • Lack of first and second-round picks limited their ability to make immediate impact selections.

The 49ers’ draft was marked by strategic moves in the later rounds, focusing on adding depth to their roster. The selection of a kicker in the third round was a notable surprise, and the overall success of this draft may hinge on how well these later-round picks develop.

Seattle Seahawks

Draft Grade: A+

  • 1st Round, No. 5 overall: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois. A physical, in-your-face corner who pairs well with Tariq Woolen.
  • 1st Round, No. 20 overall: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State. A perfect fit to complement Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. I
  • 2nd Round, No. 37 overall: Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn. A long and strong edge rusher, though there are concerns about his three-down ability.
  • 2nd Round, No. 52 overall: Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA. Paired with Kenneth Walker, Charbonnet adds more power to the running game. Instant grade:
  • Day 3 Picks: Anthony Bradford, OL, LSU; Cameron Young, DL, Mississippi State; Mike Morris, DE, Michigan; Olu Oluwatimi, C, Michigan; Jerrick Reed II, DB, New Mexico; Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia.

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What They Filled:
  • Strengthened the secondary with Witherspoon, potentially reviving the “Legion of Boom.”
  • Added a quality receiver in Smith-Njigba to enhance the passing game.
  • Addressed the edge with Hall and added depth to the offensive and defensive lines.
What They Missed On:
  • Some skepticism around Hall’s ability to be a three-down lineman.
  • Could have addressed the interior D-line depth earlier.
  • There is a risk of doubling or tripling down on wants and not needs.
  • A ton of investment at the wide receiver position.

The Seahawks had a strong draft, capitalizing on their multiple picks. They made significant upgrades to their secondary and receiving corps and added depth to various positions. The selection of Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba were particularly praised, and the overall draft strategy seems to have set the team up well for the future.

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Grade: A+

  • 1st Round, No. 6 overall: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State. Traded down and still acquired one of the top players in the draft. Johnson is expected to start immediately and has the potential to become a standout tackle.
  • 2nd Round, No. 41 overall: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU. An explosive player with high potential as an edge rusher.
  • 3rd Round, No. 72 overall: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse. Despite coming off an ACL injury, Williams is seen as a promising cover corner.
  • 5th Round, No. 168 overall: Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn. An intriguing pick with exceptional athleticism.
  • Trades: Acquired a first-round pick from the Texans and made strategic moves to leverage future picks.
What They Filled:
  • Addressed critical needs in the offensive line, pass rush, and secondary.
  • Added depth and potential starters across various positions.
  • Leveraged trades to set up a strong position for the future.
What They Missed On:
  • Garrett Williams, CB, may need time to recover from an ACL injury and adjust to the NFL.
  • Risk of punting on 2023 while Murray’s cap hit is still relatively low.

The Cardinals executed a highly praised draft, hitting home runs with their selections and shrewd maneuvering. They filled key areas of need and set themselves up well for the future with additional draft capital. The selection of Paris Johnson was particularly lauded, and the overall strategy reflects a shared vision between the new GM and head coach.

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Los Angeles Rams

Draft Grade: B

  • Round 2, Pick 36: OL Steve Avila, TCU. A strong and dominant interior blocker who should help revive the Rams’ run game.
  • Round 3, Pick 77: EDGE Byron Young, Tennessee. A raw but athletic prospect who can make an impact as a pass rusher off the edge.
  • Round 3, Pick 89: DT Kobie Turner, Wake Forest. Shows promise but lacks length, which might cause issues at the NFL level.
  • Round 5, Pick 161: EDGE Nick Hampton, Appalachian State. An excellent pick with a wide array of pass-rush moves and top-notch athleticism.
  • Other Notable Picks: QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia (R4); OT Warren McClendon, Georgia (R5); TE Davis Allen, Clemson (R5); CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, TCU (R6); RB Zach Evans, Ole Miss (R6).
What They Filled:
  • Addressed the offensive line with Steve Avila, who is likely to be an immediate starter.
  • Added edge rushers in Byron Young and Nick Hampton to bolster the pass rush.
  • Acquired depth across various positions, including QB, OT, TE, CB, and RB.
What They Missed On:
  • Stetson Bennett’s selection raised questions due to his significant flaws as a quarterback.
  • Kobie Turner’s lack of length might cause some issues at the NFL level.
  • Some might argue that more focus on the secondary could have been beneficial.

The Rams entered the draft with a whopping 13 picks and focused on rebuilding and filling gaps in their roster. They made smart moves in addressing the offensive line and edge rushers but also took some risks with raw prospects. The selection of Steve Avila and Nick Hampton were particularly praised, while some other picks raised questions. Overall, the draft reflects the Rams’ commitment to reconstruction and their willingness to take calculated risks.