In the fourth part of our eight part series, we will go over the biggest needs from every NFC West team. We have previously covered the NFC South, NFC North, and NFC East. Before we begin, let me remind you that our very own Thomas Kavanaugh is pumping out draft scouting reports. Be sure to click the hyperlink to see his reports on this year’s prospects.
Arizona Cardinals: Offensive Line, Pass Catchers
One of the reasons rookie quarterback Josh Rosen struggled in 2018 was because of the horrendous offensive line that he was provided with. They need to start by retaining guard Mike Iupati. Then, they could sign Jets’ guard James Carpenter, Steelers guard Ramon Foster, Broncos center Matt Paradis, or Dolphins tackle Ja’Wuan James. Through the draft, some possible candidates are Oklahoma guard/tackle Cody Ford, Washington State tackle Andre Dillard, Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom, or Texas A&M guard/center Erik McCoy.
Another reason Rosen struggled was his lack of pass catchers. David Johnson is a great receiving back, but he was misused most of the year. His top two receivers were Larry Fitzgerald, who is in his mid thirties, and Christian Kirk, who was a rookie. He also didn’t have any reliable tight end. They could sign Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, Jags receiver Donte Moncrief, Chargers receiver Mike Williams. They’ve already signed former Bills tight end Charles Clay, and they could add Bengals Tyler Eifert or Tyler Kroft as well. Through the draft, they could target Iowa tight end Noah Fant, Oklahoma receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, or South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel.
Los Angeles Rams: Linebacker, Offensive Line
The Rams are great up front and on the back end defensively, but one area that opposing offenses were able to pick apart this season was the middle of the field. Julian Edelman especially gashed them with intermediate routes in Super Bowl LIII en route to winning Super Bowl MVP. They could add Ravens linebackers Terrell Suggs and/or C.J. Mosley, Broncos linebackers Shane Ray and/or Brandon Marshall, or the Seahawks K.J. Wright. Through the draft, they could go with Michigan’s Devin Bush, Alabama’s Mack Wilson, or Clemson’s Tre Lamar.
The Rams were very good along the offensive line in 2018, but there was not much depth there at all. Had they been plagued by injuries in that group, it could’ve gotten ugly. See Cardinals see Cardinals section for potential offensive linemen.
San Francisco 49ers: Defensive Back, Defensive End
Aside from Richard Sherman, there is little proven talent anywhere on the back end of San Francisco’s defense. Teams can just pick on whoever is opposite Sherman and easily get big chunks of yardage. One free agent that would make a lot of sense is Seahawks’ free safety Earl Thomas. Thomas and Sherman used to play together for Seattle’s “Legion of Boom,” and the immediate chemistry between the two stars would immediately fix a lot of problems. Not to mention Thomas’ range limits big-play passes, and his experience could make for a good mentor for younger players. They could also pick up the Texans’ Tyrann Mathieu and/or Kareem Jackson, the Saints’ Kurt Coleman, or the Rams’ LaMarcus Joyner all make sense. Through the draft, Alabama’s Deionte Thompson, Washington’s Byron Murphy, or LSU’s Greedy Williams are all early-round options.
Despite all the recent draft stock put into defensive linemen, the 9ers have drafted several busts like Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster. They need to get another high-profile defensive end to pair with stud defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Some free agent options are the Rams’ Dante Fowler, Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence, Eagles’ Brandon Graham, or the Buccaneers’ Vinny Curry. Through the draft, they could target Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Michigan’s Rashan Gary, or Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell.
Seattle Seahawks: Offensive Line, Tight End
There is no need to explain how bad their o-line is. They help pretty much everywhere except left tackle, where they recently traded for Duane Brown. See Cardinals section for potential offensive linemen.
The Seahawks haven’t been very good at tight end since the departure of Jimmy Graham, and Russell Wilson needs a safety blanket over the middle to target when he’s in trouble. In free agency, they could go with the Raiders’ Jared Cook, Jaguars Austin Seferian-Jenkins, or the Bengals’ Tyler Eifert or Tyler Kroft. Through the draft, they could go for Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant, Alabama’s Irv Smith,or UCLA’s Caleb Wilson.