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NFL Draft Day 1: A look around the NFC West

How did the Rams’ opponents change on Thursday?


There are no pictures of draft prospects walking up to a podium to shake the hand of Roger Goodell, so that is why you get that image/graphic of Isaiah Simmons and the Arizona Cardinals logo. But much like in photoshop, teams did change on Thursday even if they couldn’t meet up with anybody outside of their house this week.

The LA Rams didn’t make any picks, but they did make a trade for Jalen Ramsey last season. The three other teams in the NFC West did make picks, which surprisingly included the Seattle Seahawks, and so we know slightly more about the makeup of the division for next season and beyond.

San Francisco 49ers

Let’s quickly relate to the talk of “For Jalen Ramsey to be a good trade, well, they need to sign him to an extension. They have to!” to the trade of DeForest Buckner. For the 49ers Buckner trade to “work out” what “needs” to happen?

I would assume the answer to that is that Arik Armstead has to prove to be a better $85 million investment than the investment they chose not to put into Buckner and that Javon Kinlaw is comparable in value on his rookie contract as to what Buckner would have been on an expensive salary. It doesn’t mean that Kinlaw has to be as good as Buckner, it means that he has to be good. Which isn’t close to a guarantee.

San Francisco acquired pick 13 from the Indianapolis Colts for Buckner, then traded down one spot and selected Kinlaw while also getting back a fourth round pick that they would soon use in another trade. Kinlaw is considered the most exciting interior pass rusher in the class and adding him to a defensive line that already has Armstead, Nick Bosa, and Dee Ford could mean that the Niners will again have an elite defense upfront.

In trading down and choosing Kinlaw, the Niners passed on receivers Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb, but they soon took a different receiver who they covet: San Francisco traded pick 31 and the fourth rounder from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, plus a fifth rounder, to get to 25 for Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State.

The Niners receiving corps is now Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd, Dante Pettis, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Travis Benjamin, and they are reportedly shopping Marquise Goodwin.

The 49ers do not have a pick on Friday.

Arizona Cardinals

You couldn’t find many mock drafts that could imagine Isaiah Simmons slipping past the Cardinals at pick eight. That was his floor apparently and he hit his floor. After the Miami Dolphins and LA Chargers both took quarterbacks and Derrick Brown went to the Carolina Panthers, Simmons became available to Arizona at eight. The versatile corner/linebacker/safety/pass rusher from Clemson joins a defense with Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson, and Budda Baker. They also have Jordan Phillips, De’Vondre Campbell, Jordan Hicks, Byron Murphy, Haason Reddick, Corey Peters, Devon Kennard, Robert Alford, and Jalen Thompson.

The offense added DeAndre Hopkins with their second round pick and David Johnson also. I don’t know what the Cardinals are going to come out looking like when next season starts but I can’t deny that they seem to have the talent — with the right coach and right quarterback — to win the NFC West.

Big question marks exist within those hashes however.

The Cardinals pick 72nd on Friday.

Seattle Seahawks

For the first time since 2011, the Seahawks didn’t trade down or out of the first round. They apparently turned down an offer from the Green Bay Packers once it became obvious to them that they’d no longer be able to select the player they coveted if they did: middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks.

Not many had been slotting Brooks in the first round, of course making him a “reach” to many and I certainly did not expect him here, but in the post-draft hours it was reported that quite a few NFL teams had Brooks rated as a top-two or top-three inside linebacker, with some rating him over Patrick Queen and/or Kenneth Murray. His abilities and the loss of Cory Littleton could have made him an interesting addition to the Rams if he had been available in the second or third round, but I wonder if risk aversion played a part in the Seahawks taking him at 27.

The Seahawks pick 59th, 64th, and 101st on Friday.

The Rams have the most picks on Friday: 52, 57, 84, and 104.