Tag: NFC West
Complete NFC West Preview
Here is a look at what you can expect from the Rams, Seahawks, 49ers and Cards this season…
Los Angeles Rams
There’s no other way to interpret the Rams’ aggressive offseason: L.A. is aiming for the Super Bowl. A once-middling defense now might boast the best interior rush and secondary in the NFL. An explosive offense replaced one Pro Bowl vertical threat with another, better weapon and still has a 2,000-yard MVP candidate in the backfield. All signs point to the Rams continuing their NFC West supremacy and pushing toward a deep playoff run. But do they have enough for a Super Bowl run? In an insanely deep NFC race, they’re going to need all the weapons they can muster.
San Francisco 49ers
If the 49ers’ season-ending five-game winning streak wasn’t a mirage, they could contend for a playoff spot, assuming QB Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy. The 49ers haven’t made the playoffs or had a winning record since going 12-4 and reaching the NFC title game in 2013, former coach Jim Harbaugh’s next-to-last season with the team.
The Seahawks lost far too much talent in one offseason to improve their situation. They conducted a major housecleaning that proved disconcerting to both fans and returning players. A glory era ended. “Every year it’s not fun when guys leave, but this hurt pretty bad,” outside linebacker K.J. Wright says. Realistically, a team revamp as extensive as this is going to take a few seasons — and more moves — to take hold. Expect Seattle to hover around .500 and be home during the playoffs again.
A healthy Sam Bradford at quarterback might be enough to make even the most skeptical critics rethink their conclusions about the Cardinals, but history isn’t on Bradford’s side, and with the departures of so many key players across the board, it’s difficult to believe this is a credible playoff team. If Arizona’s defense can keep the team in games and Johnson once again threatens 1,000 yards as both a rusher and a pass catcher, then maybe there’s a chance of a winning record. The wild card could be Josh Rosen. If the rookie quarterback gets thrust into the spotlight early, a lot of things could change.
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NFC West biggest needs in the 2017 NFL Draft
Every team in the NFL’s worst division has serious question marks
The Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams and 49ers collectively finished the 2016 NFL season – playoffs included – with a combined 24 wins. To put that in perspective, the New England Patriots won just seven fewer games than the entire NFC West combined. As you might have expected, the NFC West was easily the worst division in the league from a win-loss standpoint. All four teams are in need of a overhaul if they want to compete for a Super Bowl appearance anytime soon. Step one is making the right decisions on April 27th in what looks to be a fairly loaded NFL Draft.
The Cardinals finished with a disappointing 7-8-1 record after entering the season as the top pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. A pedestrian season from Carson Palmer combined with injuries on the offensive line was enough to doom Arizona’s season. The Cardinals are a good mix of experience and youth, but it’s beginning to look like the championship window might be closing on its veteran core. For starters, it’s time to find Palmer’s successor at quarterback. There are plenty of guys available in this draft with the potential to be a franchise quarterback after some time on the sidelines to get settled. Arizona also needs help on the offensive line – specifically at guard. Getting younger at receiver is another priority.
First-round pick: No. 13 overall
Potential picks: The Cardinals are going to take a long look at Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson if he’s still around when they are on the clock. That said, if one of the top two receivers – Clemson’s Mike Williams or Western Michigan’s Corey Davis – falls to them, both will be hard to disregard.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were bad enough to get Jeff Fisher fired and subsequently bring in the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. They finished 4-12 in their first year back in Los Angeles, averaging a league-worst 14 points per game. The Rams also were among the worst teams in the league when it came to getting after the quarterback, collecting less than two sacks per contest. The Rams will need to be patient and rebuild from the ground up. They need depth at every position on the offensive line and more playmakers at wide receiver. They may even need to draft another quarterback, despite taking Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick last year.
First-round pick: None
First pick: No. 37 overall
Potential picks: You’ll likely see the Rams go with the best player available at this point. Matching that with their biggest needs, you could see them go with Indiana guard Dan Feeney, Penn State receiver Chris Godwin or Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers ended the season 2-14 amidst the Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy. What really did them in was a defense that couldn’t keep anyone out of the end zone, as they allowed 480 points (30 points per game) on the year. There is some young talent scattered around the depth chart, but like the Rams, the 49ers appear to be a couple of year away from being taken seriously. A franchise quarterback is a priority for the team. They need a line that can protect that quarterback. They need receivers who can consistently get open and catch passes from that quarterback. The need talent everywhere on defense so that quarterback doesn’t need to win a shootout every week.
First-round pick: No. 2 overall
Potential picks: You’d be hard-pressed to find many mock drafts that don’t have San Francisco taking Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas. If the new regime defies the experts and go another direction, it will maybe be North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Tribusky or Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen.
Another year, another trip to the playoffs for Seattle. That said, this was not the dominant Seahawks team that played in back-to-back Super Bowls not too long ago. They were very inconsistent, struggling with the Rams and 49ers while defeating the Patriots on the road. The running back position was a revolving door and Doug Baldwin seemed to be the only receiver you could count on each week. Seattle needs reinforcement at both guard and offensive tackle if it wants to keep Russell Wilson healthy for the better part of the next decade. The Seahawks also need to get younger quickly in all three levels of their defense.
First-round pick: No. 26 overall
Potential picks: The wise move would be to select the best available offensive lineman at this point, which could be Utah tackle Garrett Boles. Seattle also could decide to go in a different direction and take Washington cornerback Kevin King or Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt. All three would be safe picks.
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One day, that is all that separate us from the 2016 NFL Draft, and it has yet to be determined who will go number one this year. There’s plenty of candidates, but there’s only one team with that significant pick. The Rams are in the midst of a major change. They will be relocating from St.Louis to Los Angeles starting next season. In fact, they will be making their return to the city of angels for the first time since 1994. This will increase their fanbase significantly. With a much higher population count, a wealthier metropolis and being the neighborhood of stardom, the Rams should do just fine there. They’ve already doubled in value from $1.5 billions to $2.9 billions, catapulting them in third place for the most expensive teams in the league. The number one pick, whoever that will turn out to be, will have an immediate popularity that will follow him in L.A. Does that mean that the other NFC West teams should be worried about this new franchise? What should they do? To maximize your selections for the NFL Draft Fantasy League contest, let’s find out what the NFC West teams needs are!
Arizona will have to be on the lookout for a high-pressure pass rusher. It would be time to look for younger option at defensive end rather than to bank on Frostee Rucker and Cory Redding for another few years. A young and talented middle linebacker with good size needs to be addressed as well. While Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are already receiving much of the defensive backfield play time, adding an additional playmaker who’s formidable against the pass could definitely help the Cards.
Top 2 round picks: 29th selection.
Entering the draft, the Seahawks should covets playmaking secondary players. It would also be a possibility that they could look for some cornerback talents. Since moving Justin Britt to inside guard, Seattle needs to figure out who should helm the tackle spot opposite Russell Okung. The middle of the D-line looks empty since the loss of Brandon Mebane, and Bruce Irvin’s speed will also be missed off the edge of the second-tier. The Seahawks have made a tremendous job at building their defense through the draft, they are expected to do so again.
Top 2 round picks: 26th and 56th selections.
San Francisco 49ers
What to say about the saga that is Colin Kaepernick! New coach Chip Kelly as likely already set up a plan to grab a quarterback in the first-round. The offensive line woes will have to be attended to in the following rounds. The 49ers should also target some wide receivers to fit into Kelly’s offensive scheme. On the defensive side, linebackers would be needed.
Top 2 round picks: 7th and 37th selections.
Los Angeles Rams
Yet another draft where the Rams have to find a premium wide receiver, where they can build their passing game around. And even if they can find a true number one wide receiver, they will first need a quarterback. Finding some more cornerback and safety should help the team, especially with the departures of Rodney McLeod and Janoris Jenkins.
Top 2 round picks: 1st selection.