By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
The NFC West is a battleground. In order to win it, you have to beat some of the best in the league in just your divisional games. The 2020 NFL Draft made one of the best divisions even better.
While all four teams got great grades on their drafts, a few players really stood out as fantastic picks. And while there weren’t a lot of holes in this division, each answered a few questions that surrounded their teams.
Let’s take a look at their picks and which draftees should stand out in a division full of stars.
The Arizona Cardinals had the most needs in the NFC West going into the draft. While many agree they have found their franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray, the supporting roles needed help. While most believed they would go offensive line heavy in this draft, seeing as Murray seemed to be running for his life all of 2019, head coach Kliff Kingsbury spread his draft picks across both offense and defense.
are also done for the day. Here is their 2020 Draft class.
— DaynaOG (@DaynaOG) April 25, 2020
The Cardinals using their first pick on defense surprised a lot of people, but it was an area of need, and Simmons is a good player. With his versatility and talent, he should start right away and make a large impact. ProFootball Focus said of Simmons “He will probably end up playing primarily at linebacker in the NFL and figures to become one of the top coverage players and athletes at the position.”
The Josh Jones pick, 72nd overall, also got a lot of praise from people in the know, shoring up an offensive line in desperate need of a boost.
Let’s be honest, a lot of us were mocking the Los Angeles Rams for not having a first-round pick. Its been a draft topic for a year. But at the conclusion of the 2020 draft, the Rams came out the other side a better team.
RB Cam Akers, Florida State
WR Van Jefferson, Florida
EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
S Terrell Burgess, Utah
TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
S Jordan Fuller, Ohio State
LB Clay Johnston, Baylor
K Sam Sloman, Miami (Ohio)
OT Treymayne Anchrum, Clemson
It was a given the Rams would find a running back in this draft to fill the void left by Todd Gurley, and they did so with their first pick, Cam Akers. There were some inconsistencies in whether or not people believed this was a good choice, but Akers has strong NFL potential.
Where the Rams really shined in this draft was with the defensive picks. S Terrell Burgess looks to be a starter in the league. Having a strong secondary is crucial in this division and Burgess will be a big help to them.
The San Francisco 49ers are the current NFC Champions and an insanely talented team. And while their draft may have been overshadowed by the retirement of long time 49ers tackle Joe Staley, and the trade for Trent Williams from Washington, it was still one of the highest graded drafts.
The @49ers had a nice haul in 2020. Here is their draft class.
— DaynaOG (@DaynaOG) April 25, 2020
They used all but one pick on the offensive side of the ball, but their defensive pick was a great one. Javon Kinlaw was one of the highest-rated interior defenders and Charley Casserly called Kinlaw his “favorite pick of the first round”. However, it was the two wide receiver picks that got the highest grades from the experts. Even though they only had five picks, they were all good picks and should make a great team even better.
It is no secret that the Seattle Seahawks listen to no one but themselves when it comes to drafting. Known for going their own way, they routinely get only moderate grades from the talking heads. The New York Post gave the Seahawks a C+ grade, but admitted Seattle has “more hits than misses on the track record”.
Supposedly having “reached” in their first two picks, the Seahawks went with players that seem to fit their scheme well.
LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
EDGE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee
IOL Damien Lewis, LSU
TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford
RB DeeJay Dallas, Miami Fla.
EDGE Alton Robinson, Syracuse
WR Freddie Swain, Florida
TE Stephen Sullivan, LSU
Reading about what people thought of the Seahawks draft, you can’t get a consensus on who they think is the standout. Some believe Brooks will have an immediate impact, others talk about Taylor and Lewis’s skills needing to be honed a bit, but then will be stars. Some heaped praise on the Robinson pick, while others loved Parkinson and his speed and size. In my opinion, it will be the two edge rushers that most will keep an eye on. It was the biggest need Seattle had last year.
The NFC West will definitely be a division to watch in the 2020 season. Possible Super Bowl hangovers, the return of the wonder kid coach, the rise of Red Birds, and the continuation of a QBs Hall of Fame career in Seattle. Its must-see TV, my friends.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG