The final portion of our NFL Draft recap series focuses on the NFC West. Who found potential all-pro players and late-round starters?
Welcome to the NFL Draft Recap series for the Say It Again Network. For those of you that followed my Mock Draft series throughout the year, I genuinely thank you. This draft season was one of the more unpredictable ones in quite some time, and it was cool to take a prediction-only spin on the draft process.
However, now we get into the nitty-gritty; seeing what players have the best chance to succeed based on the situations they went to. Some call their draft recap articles “Draft Grades,” but that concept is, forgive me for being blunt, inherently stupid. Anyone’s draft grades are strictly based on their own evaluation of players and team needs. It doesn’t take into account a player that you disliked going to a perfect situation or vice versa. In short, draft grades are just the biases of the draft analyst showing up in article form.
This is why my recap articles on the NFL Draft look a little different. I’m not giving silly letter grades to show who I think had a successful draft and who did not. Instead, I’ve created a bold prediction for each team based on the players they have selected.
Now you’ll get my draft thoughts in the breakdown of each team. However, I wanted to create a draft recap article where there was no confusion about how I came to my conclusions. Unlike my mock draft, these are my predictions based on my thoughts on players and where they wound up.
In short, draft grades don’t prognosticate which players stand the best chance to be successful at the next level. This NFL Draft Recap will do just that.
The final portion of our eight-part series focuses on the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals: Trey McBride, Cameron Thomas, Myjai Sanders, Keaontay Ingram, Lecitus Smith, Christian Matthew, Jesse Luketa, Marquis Haynes
The Prediction: Trey McBride Becomes a Star on A Different Team
The biggest addition the Cardinals made during this draft was the acquisition of Marquise Brown. “Hollywood,” as he’s better known, played with Kyler Murray at the University of Oklahoma. They should have an instant connection and help bridge the gap in the receiving core until DeAndre Hopkins comes back from suspension.
In terms of actual draft picks, Arizona used their day two selections well. Trey McBride fills a need at tight end. Zach Ertz really shined last year, but he’s on the back nine of his career. McBride can block well and he creates separation in his routes with his size. He’s got a quality career ahead of him.
Having said that, the career might peak outside of Arizona. Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray don’t focus that heavily on tight ends. On top of that, McBride is going to be “TE2,” for the first two years of his career. He may get a chance on a different team in his second contract and really explode.
Regardless, adding McBride and a quality edge rusher in Cameron Thomas should help Arizona get back to the playoffs in 2022.
Los Angeles Rams: Logan Bruss, Decobie Durant, Kyren Williams, Quentin Lake, Derion Kendrick, Daniel Hardy, Russ Yeast, AJ Arcuri
The Prediction: Logan Bruss Becomes a 10-Year Starter
The Rams didn’t have much to do in this draft, but one of their objectives was to bolster their offensive line. Logan Bruss is a sneaky great fit for Sean McVay’s offensive scheme. He has experience at multiple spots, and his short shuttle was at an elite time. As a guard, his quickness should really pop off the page. Bruss can replace Austin Corbett right away and I doubt the Rams miss a beat upfront.
Editor’s Note: Keep an eye on Kyren Williams to shine as well. He doesn’t have home-run speed, but he’s tough to tackle and he can catch passes. Williams has a free path to be a third-down back with this Rams team, and maybe that’s where he lives in the NFL for a long time.
Seattle Seahawks: Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Kenny Walker III, Abraham Lucas, Coby Bryant, Tariq Woolen, Tyreke Smith, Bo Melton, Dareke Young
The Prediction: Charles Cross Becomes an All-Pro
This bold call could have gone a number of ways. Seattle addressed their offensive line with a phenomenal pass protecting left tackle in Cross, and a mauler on the right side in Abraham Lucas. Both players are likely day one starter, and we’ll get to why Cross can shine later in the prediction. Boye Mafe is a really interesting edge rusher that many thought could sneak into round one. He sets the edge against the run and converts speed to power in a blink.
Seattle also selected two developmental defensive backs in Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen. Woolen is especially interesting because he’s a converted wide receiver with good ball skills and elite athleticism. Lastly, keep an eye on Bo Melton. Melton could become a special team’s ace with the ability to play the slot in a pinch. He’s quick, he has home-run speed and success on special teams in college.
In my opinion, Cross is the focal point of this draft. Cross is the best pass protector in the draft because he has elite athleticism and excels at preventing opposing pass rushers from successfully running the arch. In the modern-day NFL, Cross should shine because of the focus on throwing the ball and scoring points. Athletes upfront that wall-off defenders in the run game instead of driving them backward stand a much better chance to star in today’s NFL. That’s Cross to a tee.
Even though Seattle didn’t find their quarterback of the future in this draft, they did find their stud left tackle. In a year where the quarterback of the future didn’t exist, I would call that a win.
Editor’s Note: The pick of Kenny Walker was a head-scratcher to most, but it was one of my favorite selections. Seattle’s combination of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny is solid, but they are never healthy. On top of that, neither guy can catch passes. Walker is a do-it-all back with a ton of collegiate production behind a subpar offensive line. He’s elusive, he has ability in the open field, and he creates something out of nothing. If you’re a fantasy football player, Walker should be on your radar in August because he’s going to shine.
San Francisco 49ers: Drake Jackson, Tyrion Davis-Price, Danny Gray, Spencer Burford, Samuel Womack, Nick Zakelj, Kalia Davis, Tariq Castro-Fields, Brock Purdy
The Prediction: Brock Purdy Puts Together a Quality Career as a Backup
The Niners draft doesn’t have a lot of bright spots. They selected a lot of depth pieces that likely never become starters, and one edge rusher that likely becomes a third-down specialist in Drake Jackson. Jackson is the kind of player the Niners need on third down. He’s got a lot of moves in the toolbox, including the ability to run the arch and rip past opposing tackles. Plus, he’s only 21 years old.
If I’m creating a bold call for a fairly straightforward draft class, I have to get creative. I don’t see All-Pro upside in Jackson, but I don’t see a bust either. Therefore, I’m taking a chance on Brock Purdy sticking around as a backup.
Purdy has all the makings of a modern-day backup. He gets the ball out quickly and he’s incredibly accurate in the 0-10 yardage window. If everything goes according to plan, Purdy flashes during training camp and preseason in an offense that fits him extremely well.
Of course, there’s also a reason Purdy was Mr. Irrelevant.