Offseason Grades: NFC West

  • Arizona Cardinals
    • Best Draft Pick – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
      • Kirk is perfect for both what the Cardinals need now and what they want for the future. Kirk can provide a nice second receiver to complement Larry Fitzgerald for the moment, and when Fitzgerald retires, he should be ready to take the reigns as the Cards new number 1 receiver.
    • Worst Draft Pick – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
      • Rosen was my least favorite quarterback of the top 6. Yes, I had Mason Rudolph and Lamar Jackson both ranked ahead of Rosen. While his claim to being in the top 4 was being the most pro-ready in the draft, Baker Mayfield clearly was the more polished prospect. If the Cards wanted an elite quarterback, they should have traded further up to grab one of the top 3.
    • Best Signing – Justin Pugh, OL
      • Pugh was a great signing for the Cardinals to try to continue in win-now mode as they are right now. He is versatile enough to play either guard or tackle spot, while remaining a good enough player to be a quality starter.
    • Worst Loss – Tyrann Mathieu, DB
      • Mathieu should not have been cut. Period. He is clearly an elite player no matter where he plays, and versatile enough to play anywhere in the secondary. There is absolutely no reason for why he got cut.
    • Grade: D-
  • Los Angeles Rams
    • Best Draft Pick – Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma
      • Admittedly, I only watched a couple of his games, but in the few I did watch, Okoronkwo looked like an elite pass rusher. I have no idea how he lasted until the fifth round, as I had a late third-round grade on him.
    • Worst Draft Pick – John Franklin-Myers, EDGE, Stephen F. Austin
      • There isn’t much that could’ve been worse than this pick. Many quality players were still available, but instead the Rams took a small-school player with very little potential.
    • Best Signing – Ndamukong Suh, DL
      • Suh was a necessary loss for a Dolphins team that is trying to change the culture of their locker room. However, he is also an elite player, and paired with Aaron Donald, should provide yet another defensive superstar for the Rams.
    • Worst Loss – Sammy Watkins, WR
      • The Rams, essentially, gave up starting cornerback EJ Gaines and a second-round pick in exchange for a sixth-round pick and one year of Sammy Watkins. There are some players who are worth that much, even just for one season. Watkins is not one of those players. If they were willing to give up that much to get Watkins, they needed to be willing to commit serious money to retaining him as well. If they had retained Watkins, this offseason would have graded an A+.
    • Grade: A-
  • San Francisco 49ers
    • Best Draft Pick – Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
      • Pettis is never going to be an elite, number 1 receiver. However, he should be able to provide a consistently solid number 2 option, and an elite return man. The 49ers really needed to take a receiver in the first round, but Pettis was the best receiver on the board at the 49ers second pick, so I have to give them credit for the selection.
    • Worst Draft Pick – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
      • McGlinchey was a total waste of a pick. At the time of the draft, the 49ers had two solid, if not elite, tackles on the roster in Trent Brown and Joe Staley. The pick of McGlinchey essentially forced the team to trade away Brown for way less than his value. And based on McGlinchey’s value in the draft, this pick was a huge reach anyway. Why?
    • Best Signing – Jeremiah Attaochu, EDGE
      • Attaochu was a quality backup behind both Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram for the Chargers, and with Aaron Lynch leaving San Francisco, he will finally get a chance to start. On a defensive line also including three straight first-round picks of DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Solomon Thomas, Attaochu should get more than enough one-on-one assignments to be able to thrive.
    • Worst Loss – Trent Brown, OL/Aaron Lynch, EDGE
      • I simply couldn’t decide who was the worst loss for the 49ers here, so I put both. The problem with both of these losses is that they then went out and had to spend money (Attaochu, above) and draft picks (McGlinchey, above) to keep quality players at these positions. Instead of being able to improve their roster, they had to use valuable resources to avoid getting worse. They could’ve simply not traded Brown, and resigned Lynch, and spent both the money and draft picks to improve other areas of the team.
    • Grade: C
  • Seattle Seahawks
    • Best Draft Pick – Shaquem Griffin, EDGE/LB, Central Florida
      • The Seahawks have been renowned for their elite defense, and defensive backs especially, for many years. But their linebacking corps has been severely undervalued. Outside of Bobby Wagner, who is clearly the best inside linebacker in the game (sorry Luke Kuechly), KJ Wright has also proven himself to be an elite all-around linebacker over the years. However, Wagner and Wright are 28 and 29, so this pick will provide immense value in the future. For the moment, Griffin will probably be nothing more than a special-teamer and sub-package player, but he could provide a seamless transition at outside linebacker for whenever Wright leaves.
    • Worst Draft Pick – Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
      • I think Rashaad Penny is an amazing football player. I think he has sky-high potential in the NFL. I just think this was way too early to pick him. I had a first-round grade on him, but I think the team could’ve gotten much more value had they traded down to the middle of the second round and picked him there, simply because not many teams had him valued this high.
    • Best Signing – Barkevious Mingo, EDGE
      • Mingo is a huge boom-or-bust signing. He was drafted sixth overall by the Browns in 2013, illustrating how much potential he has. However, he has never shown much of that potential, partly due to a lack of commitment to the game. The Seahawks have been known to take on project players like this before, and sometimes it has payed off (see Marshawn Lynch). However, he could end up like Eddie Lacy, another project player the Seahawks picked up who had similar weight issues to Mingo’s.
    • Worst Loss – Richard Sherman, CB/Cliff Avril, EDGE/Michael Bennett, DL
      • This were all losses that were going to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately, these were also all veteran players who could’ve continued to be, if nothing else, good influences on the younger players on the roster.
    • Grade: D+
Posted in NFL

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