The NFC West had a busy day on Thursday with a mix of activity and surprising picks in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. I think the Rams came out of the day in a strong position, with a chance to do some serious damage in round two. The Cardinals went with a fairly logical pick as they need a long term option opposite Larry Fitzgerald. As for the Seahawks? They got a talented guy with a lot of upside, but Bruce Irvin is definitely a boom or bust type of pick.
I shot some video late last night with some fellow SB Nation folks here in NYC and will do my best to pimp it out all weekend. After the jump I've got some more details on the picks.
I really like what the Rams did, not only yesterday, but in the time leading up to the draft. They moved down from No. 2 to No. 6 in a great deal with the Redskins. The deal netted the Rams a first round pick in 2013 and 2014, as well as a second round pick this year. That alone would be enough to net them a strong grade.
The Rams followed up that trade with a draft day deal with the Dallas Cowboys, moving from No. 6 to No. 14 in exchange from a second round pick. I would have thought they could have netted a bit more, but a second is still solid, particularly with the kind of talent that has slipped into day two.
The Rams then used their pick on defensive tackle Michael Brockers. The Rams defensive line was a bit of a sieve against the run and Brockers will get a chance to contribute on day one in the middle of that line. The Rams added Kendall Langford and this could make a strong middle of the line. He will need to work to improve his work in the pass game, but with guys like Chris Long, James Hall and Robert Quinn on the edges, he should have time to work on that.
The Rams now have three picks in the second round, all coming in the top 13 spots. This is a huge day for the future of the Rams as they could set themselves up quite well if they hit on these picks. I have to think they will be looking to shore up their offensive line and receiver corps on day two.
The Arizona Cardinals went with what qualifies as both a safe pick and a very solid need-based pick. The Cardinals have a great wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, but beyond that they have struggled to find a solid complement to him after the departure of Anquan Boldin. Early Doucet and Andre Roberts had their moments last year, but Michael Floyd could prove to be the long-term #2 option for them.
Given that Floyd will not expected to be the number one receiver, this would seem to remove some pressure. Add in getting a chance to learn from one of the best receivers in the NFL and I think this could work out quite well for the Cardinals.
Of course, there's always the issue of the quarterback position. This gives Kevin Kolb and/or John Skelton another strong weapon, but they still have to make things work with him. The Cardinals made an unsuccessful run at Peyton Manning earlier this offseason, so we'll see what kind of string Kolb and Skelton have. It will be particularly interesting to see if the Cardinals make a move for a quarterback today or tomorrow. I don't think it happens today, but you never know.
As the Cardinals move into day two, they have issues on the offensive line and could use some pass rush help. They only have a third round pick, so we'll see if they can make some magic with that.
The Seahawks joined the 49ers in grabbing a guy who many thought would be available later in the draft. At the same time, much like the 49ers selection fo AJ Jenkins, rumors percolated that there were other teams interested in Bruce Irvin. If that's the case, and he is high on your draft board, then I suppose the Seahawks had to make that choice. It doesn't mean it is definitely a good or bad pick, but it is an interesting one.
The Seahawks have a need for pass rush help and at the linebacker position in general. Irvin seems best suited as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but from some chats with Seahawks fans, Irvin could very well create opportunities for Pete Carroll to get creative with his defensive formations. The Seahawks use a lot of 4-3, but they could mix in Irvin at times in an elephant role when they are looking for more speed.
Was it too high to take him? We can criticize the Seahawks draft board, but I don't think we can criticize their decision to go with a guy potentially high on that board. The 49ers had AJ Jenkins high on their board and made a similar decision. Whether it pays off is something on which we will have to wait and see over the coming years.
The Seahawks have a second and third round pick today and could use some more pass rush help, but really could use more depth on the offensive line. The team is getting back some previously injured offensive lineman, but as last year showed, they need to be better prepared for injuries.