By Steven Weldon
32 teams, 16 days, so many questions. The NFL Draft is on April 25th, and it will finally be time to select the top college prospects. In this series, I will look at each team by going by division, leading up to a mock draft.
The Cardinals own the number one pick, and there's been quite the speculation on who they will select. It's almost guaranteed that things will change over the next few weeks, as they bounce between selecting an outstanding defensive player in (once) projected top pick Nick Bosa, and mercurial quarterback Kyler Murray. At first glance of this team's real needs, an offensive lineman to protect second-year quarterback Josh Rosen is necessary. However, the best blocker available isn't going to be selected in the top-five.
Hence why Kyler Murray becomes a legitimate option. They'll look to trade Rosen for another selection in the first or second round, or maybe third. NFL trades are a fickle beast. Who knows what a franchise will give up for a quarterback from last year's first round. It also seems new head coach Kliff Kingsbury will want to start fresh with a player he can mold from the start, as a former QB himself.
I still rest my case on this one. Defense wins championships, and while the quarterback is the most important player on the field, he can't get on the field if his team can't stop the other.
With the rest of the draft, the Cardinals are free to have little pressure on whom to select, aside from their lineman issues. I think a good option to address another need would be wide receiver N'keal Harry, from the Cardinals' backyard of Arizona State. He's a big wideout who has a lot of experience. I'm really high on him.
NEED: Any Offensive Lineman, Wide Receiver, Defensive End, Cornerback
WANT: New QB, who dis?
QUESTIONS: How long will the rebuild take after a long period as one of the stronger NFC teams?
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
In a twist of fate, the Niners select second. Provided the Cardinals go with the afterthought quarterback first, it seems Nick Bosa, a defensive end from Ohio State, will fall right into their laps. This is an outstanding result for them, as it is one of their biggest needs. Other needs are in the secondary, but this draft will have plenty of options later. Bosa has to be the pick here.
The Niners could go with a linebacker and develop a young player, but the team just signed Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford this offseason. They also have Malcolm Smith coming back from injury. Those three are in their mid-to-late 20s and are not the types for developing a similar young guy.
For the remainder of the draft, the Niners could go all in on the secondary. It is a weaker group for the draft, but it is a need.
NEED: Nick Bosa.
WANT: Nick Bosa.
QUESTIONS: How far will a fully-healed Jimmy Garappalo carry this team in a very tough NFC West?
No one expected this team to make the playoffs. All of the player losses in the 2018 offseason were supposed to add up to a bad season. As many pacific northwest sports teams do, the Seahawks impressed in a season they were to depress. They will pick 21st in the first round, and will likely target a defensive end. It's a strong position in this draft, and a few talented guys could be there.
Brian Burns of Florida State fits the bill of what they're looking for, but also Clelin Ferrell of Clemson could also be in their wheelhouse. If they choose to go with a different position, Byron Murphy from Washington is a solid cornerback already in their backyard, and he can be the start of a new legion of boom.
The Seahawks have needs on the offensive line to protect Russell Wilson, but this might not be the draft to fill that need. They also only possess four picks.
NEED: Defensive backs, honestly.
WANT: Defensive end.
QUESTIONS: Can they sustain the success they had last year?
LOS ANGELES RAMS
The Rams entered the win-now territory and are on the train to get back to the Super Bowl, trading their 2nd and 3rd round picks for Marcus Peters and Dante Fowler. They've lost some key pieces, and at the positions they're drafting, may be looking deep to the future. They own the 31st pick, one not typically known for impact players.
They'll be looking toward edge rushers and outside linebackers to pair with their already talented defense. It's also really tough to nail down who they'll pick based on how far down they are. This is a wait-and-see team, to be honest.
NEED: Players who can develop and be ready to continue the Rams' success.
WANT: Players who can contribute NOW to help them win NOW.
QUESTIONS: Who will the Rams be next year? Was the missed pass interference call the only reason the Rams made it almost to the top?
I'll be going division by division for the next sixteen days. STAY TUNED!