We have reached the final stretch of our 2016 NFL Draft Outlook, and we get to the final division in the NFL: The NFC West. Last year, Arizona came out of the gate and won a division that everyone thought was Seattle’s. We also had a surprise in the division as the Rams proved they can actually contend. But what will this year hold? Will the Rams move to L.A. prove to be a godsend? Can Seattle take back their division, minus Beast – Mode? What does Arizona need in order to win the division two years in a row? And can San Francisco make a possible run at an above .500 record? Lets see who each should draft in our 2016 NFL Draft Outlook of the NFC West.
2015 Record: 13 – 3 (1st in division)
Playoffs: Lost in NFC Championship (Finished 2nd in conference)
Analysis: Arizona is a team that is fully clicking going into the postseason. Carson Palmer was playing great, the defense was knocking Aaron Rodgers around and they had a one-way ticket to the Super Bowl. That was until they realized they had to play the NFC Championship game against the buzzsaw that was the Carolina Panthers. This year, Arizona is seen as an early favorite to make the postseason and possibly win it all, but what do they need? They have a lot of players from last year they didn’t sign back just yet but we have to look at who they could use to fill some gaps.
Draft Picks: 29th in the 1st round, none in the 2nd round, 92nd in the 3rd round.
Draft Players To Watch: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson. A lot of draft experts are going to bring this kids name up, so he is definitely worth the attention. He is big and fast off the line and if he gets a chance to play in the NFC West, he could be Russell Wilson’s biggest nightmare in the passing game. Dodd legitimately is the one of the baddest D-lineman in the draft, if not better than his former teammate Shaq Lawson. Plus if Arizona is able to get back Dwight Freeney and Lamar Woodley and let them coach this young buck, expect Arizona to have this division on lock.
2. Seattle Seahawks
2015 Record: 10- 6 ( 2nd in division)
Playoffs: Lost in Divisional Round ( finished 6th in conference)
Analysis: Seattle ended the season on an extremely low note. They got embarrassed by the Panthers in Carolina and with that they had to deal with the idea that their main cog on offense, Marshawn Lynch, was leaving for good. But the 12 will rebound and be just as strong, the only question is what do they need in order to get over the hump and reclaim the West?
Draft Picks: 26th in the 1st round, 56th in the 2nd round, 90 and 97 in the 3rd round.
Draft Players to Watch: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama. If Seattle wants to get back on top, they need to replace Lynch. Like the second they get put on the clock in the first round. A lot of people will say “well why don’t you pick up Ezekiel Elliot in the first round”? Well, while he is a good pickup, he ain’t Henry. Henry is a power back and while the Seahawks have Thomas Rawls, they need an absolute bruiser in the backfield. Henry, despite coming from a team like Alabama who’s players don’t always translate well to the league, seems like he would fit in fine as he can use his speed and strength to pick up 10 yards or a goal line TD if you need to protect Russell Wilson. If the Seahawks want to get back to the Super Bowl, then they need to pick him up and make him the 12th man’s newest soldier.
2015 Record: 7 -9 (finished 3rd in division)
Playoffs: Did Not Qualify ( finished 8th in conference)
Analysis: Lets keep this short and sweet, because if you have watched ESPN, Fox Sports 1, NFL Network, NBC Sports, you have learned everything you need to know about the L.A. Rams since they made the trade to get the top pick in the draft.
Draft Picks: 1st in the 1st round.
Draft Pick to Watch: Jared Goff, QB, California. This is their only possible pick, everyone knows it. If L.A. wants to complete this team, they need to get Goff. He is your franchise quarterback. He has the arm and the poise to lead you into the playoffs or at least contend for the division title. Think of it this way, the Rams, without a talent like Goff, went 7-9. Imagine what they do when they pick him up. Expect the Rams to start making a lot of noise, very soon.
4. San Francisco 49ers
2015 Record: 5 – 11 (4th in division)
Playoffs: Did Not Qualify (finished 15th in conference)
Analysis: This team sucks. They need help, and they won’t get it all in the draft. That is all.
Draft Picks: 7th in the 1st round, 37th in the 2nd round, 68th in the 3rd round.
Draft Players to Watch: Vernon Hargreaves, DB, Florida. While this player is a high-caliber talent and while people love him, he needs to ball out in order to win the Niners a couple of games via the defense. Now on the Niners he can make the defense strong, he needs to show his ability to stop the short pass off in San Fran in order to win.
Well we have officially finished our Draft Outlook, and we see how each team should get better. Arizona might need D-Line help, Seattle needs a running back, L.A. needs a QB, and San Fran needs a whole new team. But who do I think each team will draft? Come back this Wednesday, April 27, as I will unveil my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.