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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

First Round Pick Analysis By Division: NFC West

Arizona Cardinals:

The Cardinals are set to head into the season without two key components of the 3-4 defense, nose tackle and edge rusher, so they must address those needs in the draft. They also have holes at corner and running back. Corner will likely be addressed later in the draft, but running back, nose tackle, and edge rusher are all possibilities in the first. They will not trade up for a guy, but if Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon falls to 24, it is hard to see the Cardinals passing them up. The two late first-round nose tackles are Jordan Phillips and Eddie Goldman, while Eli Harold would be a solid option at outside backer.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Todd Gurley - RB   Georgia

2.) Eddie Goldman - DT   Florida State

3.) Eli Harold - OLB   Virginia

San Francisco 49ers:

The 49ers are a confusing team, as they have their fair share of needs, but they have a lot of depth and/or part-time players at that position that might be able to step up. At receiver Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are set to start out wide and they can get a solid slot receiver in the later rounds, so they will likely pass in the first round. After seeing both of their starting corners depart, many see them picking one up in the first round, and the top prospects would make sense, but there is also solid second-round talent at that position. They will miss out on the top two guards, Brandon Scherff and La'el Collins, but they will have opportunities to pick one up Day 2 and possibly Day 3. Some might look at this as a surprise, but they could go defensive lineman here. They will not reach for a developmental guy like Arik Armstead, but if Malcom Brown out of Texas falls to them, they cannot pass him up.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Malcom Brown - DT   Texas

2.) Trae Waynes - CB   Michigan St.

3.) Marcus Peters - CB   Washington

Seattle Seahawks:

The Seahawks do not have a first-round pick and are unlikely to trade up so instead we will just look at their second round prospects. Losing their previous starter at guard to free agency and Max Unger in a trade, the interior of their offensive line is now a major weakness. Both guard and center have some solid Day 2 prospects, so the Seahawks are in luck. Cameron Erving is seen as the top center and may go anywhere from the bottom of the first to the bottom of the second, with the other centers projecting as third-round picks, so they will likely opt for a guard. A.J. Cann, Laken Tomlinson, and Tre' Jackson are seen as the second-round guards, but sitting at 31, behind plenty of guard-needy teams, they might miss out on them and have to reach for a third-round prospect.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Cameron Erving - C   Florida State

2.) Laken Tomlinson - OG   Duke

3.) Tre' Jackson - OG   Florida State

St. Louis Rams:

The Rams are another confusing team, as outside of their defensive line, they have a lot of average players and it is hard to tell who they see as adequate or on the rise and who they want to replace. That is not as big a problem in the first round or two though, as they do have a few apparent needs across their offensive line. Sitting pretty at the 10th spot, it will be too high to grab a center, even Florida State's Cameron Erving, but they are in prime position to get the guard-convert Brandon Scherff, right tackle Andrus Peat, or La'el Collins, who projects as both a guard and a right tackle. Ultimately it comes down to each position's depth in the draft. Guard is the deeper position of the two so Peat and Collins look to be their primary targets.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Andrus Peat - OT   Stanford

2.) La'el Collins - OG   LSU

3.) Brandon Scherff - OG   Iowa


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