NFC West draft grades

Arizona Cardinals: B-

Having Michael Floyd in this lineup will help Larry Fitzgerald and Kevin Kolb. If they can find a way to pass block, Floyd’s presence should tell the Cardinals if they have their QB of the future, or whether they need to go back to the drawing board. But I’m not sure they can protect. Bobby Massie is one of the better values of the draft at No. 112 overall, and could provide an upgrade. Justin Bethel is an interesting developmental pick out of Presbyterian.

The Cardinals took three tackles, so it’s clear they’re hoping they strike gold once or twice. If they did, they got their top two needs. After that, it’s just OK. No help in the pass rush, or at outside linebacker and they could use a safety. If Floyd plays the way he did in 2011, and keeps focused, he should be a pretty good one. 

Impact pick: CB Jamell Fleming (third) — The Cardinals need a No. 2 corner opposite Patrick Peterson, so Fleming should have the opportunity to compete for significant playing time. He has good size and improved steadily during his time at Oklahoma. Fleming was productive, has good instincts in zone coverage and the potential to hold up in bump-and-run coverage as well.

Intriguing pick: OT Bobby Massie (fourth) — Massie was projected by some to go late in the first round, but as he fell, I reached out to scouts in the league, and one told me Massie slipped because of a perceived lack of ideal mental and physical toughness. Perhaps he comes into the league with a chip on his shoulder after that fall. He has the size and movement skills to succeed in a zone-blocking scheme, but he’ll still need to become stronger in order to create movement when locked in a phone booth. He has potential, though, and if Massie realized it, he could become the upgrade Arizona is looking for at tackle.

San Francisco 49ers: C+

San Francisco is working a “no excuses” plan. Meaning, the 49ers have added enough pieces to this offense via both free agency and the draft that Alex Smith should continue to develop. If he can’t get to the next level with this group, my guess is Jim Harbaugh will look for someone who can. A.J. Jenkins was a bit of a reach, but the 49ers really liked him. The pick of LaMichael James, as a change-of-pace running back fills one of their needs. Joe Looney is a decent player, though he’s no immediate upgrade. Trent Robinson has a chance to be a starter at some point. Not a bad draft at all, and you could see their strategy. It’s tough to add early impact to a good roster.

Impact pick: RB LaMichael James — Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get creative with James, and you can be sure the 49ers would not have taken him if they didn’t already have a plan in mind. He’ll be a great complement to the north-south runners already on the roster with his wiggle in space and ability to contribute in the passing game. James could also contribute in the running game, and if used properly his versatility could yield more from four or five touches than others get from 14 or 15.

Intriguing pick: G Joe Looney (fourth) — Looney suffered a foot injury at the Senior Bowl that required surgery and that caused him to drop a bit on draft weekend, but he still has starting potential. He would have carried a second-round grade if healthy, and this is a case of the organization knowing when to pull the trigger on a guy with a durability flag. If he recovers fully, Looney could end up filling the team’s second-biggest need.

Seattle Seahawks: C-

The Seahawks drafted guys they really wanted, and with a plan in mind for how to use them. They moved down once, and may have gotten worried that someone would take Bruce Irvin late in the first round if they didn’t get him at No. 15. Again, you have to find the right dance partner to move around the board. But we’re still talking about a player I had a late second-round grade on. Irvin could gets 10 sacks in 2012.

He’s not a three-down player yet. Bobby Wagner fills a need at linebacker, but he’s another guy who would have been around later on. Russell Wilson is a great test case for shorter QBs, because he has everything else, but did they need him in the third round after grabbing Matt Flynn to come in and likely start? I had running back as a need, and Robert Turbin could help out. The needs were met outside of wide receiver, but in terms of maximizing value, there are huge questions. Again, this is a grade of the draft process, not the players alone.

Impact pick: ILB Bobby Wagner (second) — At fist glance, linebacker might not seem to be an immediate need for the Seahawks. However, Leroy Hill and Barrett Ruud have struggled to stay on the field and Wagner can provide depth both inside and outside. He’ll also contribute on special teams, and even if he’s not getting a lot of snaps on defense, Wagner’s ability to be a backup at two spots opens up options elsewhere on the roster and has an impact.

Intriguing pick: RB Robert Turbin (fourth) — Turbin might not be groomed to be the starter, but he’s a good-sized back with explosive straight-line burst who can take some of the load off starter Marshawn Lynch in terms of inside carries. Turbin is a one-cut-and-go runner who can plant his foot and accelerate through creases, and if his previous ball-security issues continue to plague him, it’s not like the team loses a lot on a fourth-round pick. Turbin also has some ability in the passing game, so the upside is there.

St. Louis Rams: B-

The St. Louis Rams got a lot of nice players in Round 2. The downside, as Jon Gruden noted to me, is that this was a team that at one time held the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. The Rams were in a position to draft a guy they assume is capable of stardom. Did they get adequate return in this draft (remember, a lot of the value will be coming in the next few years given the trade parameters)? Let’s see. Michael Brockers helps a need area, but there’s developmental work to be done. I really like Brian Quick, and he has the upside of a No. 1 wide receiver, with a big frame (6-4, 220) and pretty good speed. He’ll need some developmental work given the leap in levels. You know the off-the-field story on Janoris Jenkins.

He’s a risk, but he’s a top-15 talent if he can stay focused on football. I’m a fan of the traits Isaiah Pead can bring to this offense. He’s explosive. Trumaine Johnson is a good value at cornerback, and Chris Givens could become a starter. Greg Zuerlein was the top kicker on my board. The Rams got a lot of players, but also inherited some risk with development to be done. Not a bad draft, and they have more picks on the way courtesy of the Redskins.

Impact: CB Janoris Jenkins (second) — The risk-reward gamble is huge with Jenkins and his considerable character baggage, but anyone who saw him shut down the likes of Jeffery, A.J. Green and Julio Jones in 2010 knows just what kind of cover corner Jenkins can be. He’s ready to be a starter right now, and the Rams would not have picked him unless they had a game plan in place to minimize distractions and help him bring it all together both on and off the field. If he pans out, and I think he will, Jenkins will become one of the steals of this year’s class.

Intriguing pick: WR Brian Quick (second) — How steep will Quick’s learning curve be coming from a small school, and can he handle the transition to NFL life both on and off the field? Some feel he could become overwhelmed in that regard, but there’s no denying his impressive size and athleticism. If he can adjust to bigger, faster corners and more complex schemes on both sides of the ball, quick could eventually become the kind of perimeter weapon QB Sam Bradford needs badly.

Shane Clemons

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.