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2013 NFL Draft: Stockpiling In The NFC West

The NFC - over the course of the past few seasons - has quickly gone from being one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, to one of it’s strongest. As each season passes, NFL teams ask that their rookies have more of an immediate impact than in yesteryear. Draft picks are becoming more and more valuable to NFL teams…and the NFC West has a lot of them in 2013. The most.

Al Bello

Here’s the 2013 draft pick breakdown by division and team:

AFC East: Patriots 5, Dolphins 9, Bills 6, Jets 7. Total: 26
AFC North: Ravens 7, Steelers 7, Bengals 7, Browns 7. Total: 28
AFC South: Texans 7, Titans 6, Colts 4, Jags 7. Total: 24
AFC West: Broncos 7, Chargers 7, Raiders 6, Chiefs 7. Total: 27

NFC East: Redskins 7, Giants 7, Cowboys 6, Eagles 8. Total: 28
NFC North: Packers 7, Vikings 9, Bears 6, Lions 6. Total: 28
NFC South: Falcons 7, Panthers 6, Saints 6, Bucs 7. Total: 26
NFC West: 49ers 11, Seahawks 8, Rams 8, Cardinals 7. Total: 34

Hello, elephant in the room. If it’s alright, I’m going to address you. Yes, the San Francisco 49ers - the best team in the NFC in 2012 - has got ELEVEN draft picks in 2013. SEVEN of those 11 will be taken before the conclusion of the 5th round. How do the teams in the NFC West stack up, in terms of draft spots?

49ers: 1.31, 2.30, 3.12 (from CAR), 3.31, 4.31, 5.24 (from IND), 5.31, 6.12 (from MIA), 6.31, 7.21 (from CIN), 7.31
Seahawks: 1.25, 2.24, 3.25, 4.26, 5.25, 6.26, 7.8 (from BUF), 7.25
Rams: 1.16, 1.22 (from WAS), 2.14, 3.16, 4.16, 5.16, 6.16, 7.16
Cardinals: 1.7, 2.6, 3.7, 4.6, 5.7, 6.6, 7.7

The Rams, in last April’s draft, provided serious upgrades to many positions as a result of stockpiling draft picks in trade downs. With five selections in the first 3 rounds, the Rams addressed a litany of glaring holes on the offensive and defensive depth charts. They were also able to snag a few late round steals who contributed in big ways throughout the season. Chris Givens was the Rams leading receiver, Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein lead the team in points, and Daryl Richardson often time was the go-to guy when Steven Jackson needed a breather.

2012 NFL Draft: Rams Picks

Rd. Overall Name Pos. College
1 14 Michael Brockers DT LSU
2 33 Brian Quick WR Appalachian State
2 39 Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama
2 50 Isaiah Pead RB Cincinnati
3 65 Trumaine Johnson CB Montana
4 96 Chris Givens WR Wake Forest
5 150 Rokevious Watkins G South Carolina
6 171 Greg Zuerlein K Missouri Western
7 209 Aaron Brown OLB Hawaii
7 252 Daryl Richardson RB Abilene Christian

As it stands, the Rams have four picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft. With the rookie wage scale making college football’s star athletes much more affordable, we can probably expect to see more of the same in 2013: organizations on the phones inquiring about trade ups, and swapping mid-round picks like they’re nothing. Teams that want to gamble on their could-be franchise player of the future will. The Rams will probably be one of the teams whose phone rings early and often. There is only one team in the NFL with two first round picks, and they reside in St. Louis. Can Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, and Co. make some more magic in 2013? They’ll have to.

The troubling part, as the Rams try to compete in the West, is that the Seahawks and 49ers look to bolster their teams with as many - or more, in the 49ers case - draft picks. It’s going to be extremely important that the Rams draft is tactical, and that those "can’t miss players" don’t miss.

The Rams, no doubt, made the greatest strides in 2013 in terms of picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and about-facing. As the NFL’s youngest team, they will look to further improve in 2013, and a lot of their success will stem from their continued success in hitting draft gold. They’re going to have to, because the two playoff teams from the NFC West will be looking to match them pick for pick through the first half of the draft.

Thanks for stopping by Turf Show Times for the latest Rams news. Follow us on Twitter at @TurfShowTimes. You can follow me at @NoPlanB_