2017 NFL Draft Grades: NFC West

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers dominated headlines on Day 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft, especially in an NFC West division that featured two teams — the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams — without first-round picks.

Let’s take a look at how each team performed on draft weekend.

San Francisco 49ers:  B

Draft class:

Solomon Thomas | DL | Stanford (1.03)
Reuben Foster | LB | Alabama (1.31)
Ahkello Witherspoon | CB | Colorado (3.66)
C.J. Beathard | QB | Iowa (3.104)
Joe Williams | RB  Utah (4.121)
George Kittle | TE | Iowa (5.146)
Trent Taylor | WR | LA Tech (5.177)
D.J. Jones | DT | Ole Miss (6.198)
Pita Taumoepenu | DE | Utah (6.202)
Adrian Colbert | CB | Miami (7.229)

Analysis:  The 49ers sent shockwaves through the first round after securing a third round pick in 2017 and 2018 by trading down one spot with the Chicago Bears.  Rookie general manager John Lynch used the No. 3 pick on Solomon Thomas, a disruptive defensive lineman who some have compared to Aaron Donald.  I’m not quite as high on Thomas, but there’s no denying his high motor and downright man-strength.  He’ll be an immediate upgrade and long-term starter assuming he can stay healthy.  The 49ers traded back into the first round with the Atlanta Falcons and selected Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster with the 31st pick. Unfortunately, there’s now fear he may miss his rookie season because of his lingering shoulder injury.  If healthy, Foster will become a more impactful force on defense than Thomas.  Ahkello Witherspoon, a late riser in the draft process, will compete for a starting job in 2017.  C.J. Beathard was a reach in Round 3; I’d be surprised if he ever becomes more than a backup in the NFL.  Joe Williams adds depth and insurance behind Carlos Hyde.  George Kittle is a high-end blocker who should find a role on offense.  Trent Taylor really disappointed me at the Senior Bowl, but his film is good enough to assume he makes the team.


RELATED:  2017 NFL Draft Grades – NFC North


Arizona Cardinals:  B+

Draft class:

Haason Reddick | LB | Temple (1.13)
Budda Baker | S | Washington (2.36)
Chad Williams | WR | Grambling (3.98)
Dorian Johnson | OG | Pittsburgh (4.115)
Will Holden | OT | Vanderbilt (5.157)
T.J. Logan | RB | North Carolina (5.179)
Rudy Ford | S | Auburn (6.208)

Analysis:  The Cardinals grabbed one of the most talented athletes in the entire draft in Temple’s Haason Reddick, who, by the way, is Exhibit A for why seniors should participate in the Senior Bowl. He proved in Mobile, AL that he belonged in the first round and his stock continued to rise after the NFL Combine.  Reddick is going to be a star.  Budda Baker is first-round value at the top of the second; He’s arguably an upgrade over Tony Jefferson, who the team lost in free agency.  Chad Williams has appealing traits and pretty good size to complement some of the smaller pass-catchers in the desert.  Dorian Johnson was significantly undervalued on draft day.  He has starter’s skill.  T.J. Logan adds another option behind star running back David Johnson, while Rudy Ford adds depth to a safety group undergoing significant turnover this season.

Seattle Seahawks:  C

Draft class:

Malik McDowell | DT | Michigan State (2.35)
Ethan Pocic | OC | LSU (2.58)
Shaquill Griffin | CB | UCF (3.90)
Delano Hill | S | Michigan (3.95)
Nazair Jones | DT | North Carolina (3.102)
Amara Darboh | WR | Michigan (3.106)
Tedric Thompson | S | Colorado (4.111)
Mike Tyson | S | Cincinnati (6.187)
Justin Senior | OT | Mississippi State (6.210)
David Moore | WR | East Central OK Univ (7.226)
Christopher Carson | RB | Oklahoma State (7.249)

Analysis:  The Seahawks had a huge draft class — 11 players in total — but only a few seem capable of making an impact.  Malik McDowell can be as good as he wants to be, but the question is whether he’ll ever reach his maximum potential.  Some guys ‘turn it on’ once they get to the NFL.  The Seahawks are gambling that he’s one of them.  Ethan Pocic is a versatile player who will enhance the interior of the offensive line.  Their best pick came in Round 3 with the selection of Michigan wideout Amara Darboh.  He impressed me as much as any receiver at the Senior Bowl. Darboh has good size, deceptive burst, and very good ball skills.  He could be a surprisingly productive rookie pass-catcher. The rest of their draft was pretty ho-hum, aside from some great names:  Ted Thompson and Mike Tyson.


RELATED:  2017 NFL Draft Grades – NFC South


Los Angeles Rams:  C

Draft class:

Gerald Everett | TE | South Alabama (2.44)
Cooper Kupp | WR | Eastern Washington (3.69)
John Johnson | S | Boston College (3.91)
Josh Reynolds | WR | Texas A&M (4.117)
Samson Ebukam | OLB | Eastern Washington (4.125)
Tanzel Smart | DT | Tulane (6.189)
Sam Rogers | FB | Virginia Tech (6.206)
Ejuan Price | OLB | Pittsburgh (7.234)

Analysis:  The Rams were without a first-round pick following their aggressive move to trade up for Jared Goff in 2016. Gerald Everett is a nice-looking tight end prospect, but he may not be ready to contribute right away.  Coming from a smaller program, he’ll have to acclimate himself to the speed and power of the NFL.  Once he gets his legs under him, he could be a Delanie Walker-type playmaker.  Cooper Kupp dazzled at the Senior Bowl and has the kind of college production that makes you take notice.  He’s a schooled route-runner who single-handedly demolished Desmond King’s draft stock during practice sessions in Mobile.  He will contribute in 2017. Josh Reynolds brings height and length to the receiver group and will provide Goff with a possible replacement for Kenny Britt as a bigger downfield threat.  Sam Rogers should help plow some running lanes for Todd Gurley.