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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    Team-by-team draft needs: NFC West
    By Pat Kirwan | NFL.com
    Senior Analyst
    Posted about 5 hours ago

    Arizona Cardinals

    Defensive end: Calais Campbell is a player on the rise who can align as an end in 4-3 or 3-4 alignments, but Bertrand Berry and Travis LaBoy have missed extensive time due to injury in recent seasons. The Cards need another young player who can be a two-way end but has a knack for getting to the passer.

    Running back: Edgerrin James is expected to be released, and J.J. Arrington signed a free-agent deal with Denver, leaving Tim Hightower as the only starting caliber back on the roster. Arizona signed Jason Wright to provide depth and play on special teams, but the team needs an inside-outside runner who can also serve as a receiver out of the backfield.

    Outside linebacker: Strong-side backers Chike Okeafor and Clark Haggans are both 32 years old, and they don't provide the consistent pass-rush pressure the Cardinals need from their hybrid scheme. Expect Arizona to find a young, aggressive pass rusher to fill another need.

    Center/guard: The Cardinals would like to upgrade at center, despite the improvements shown by Lyle Sendlein over the course of last season. But at the very least, they could be looking for an inside swing guy who could fill in at center or guard in a pinch.

    Left tackle: Mike Gandy played way above his head in 2008, and that's a tribute to Russ Grimm and the Cardinals' coaching staff. But given Gandy's history, the team can't expect that level of play to continue, and at the age of 30, they should be looking for a new starter anyway.

    Punter: Ben Graham was just okay filling in at the end of last season. Field position is a key battle in every game, but coach Ken Whisenhunt places such a premium on special teams play that it's hard to imagine the Cards not picking up a big leg to take over for Graham.

    Draft choices: 31, 63, 95, 131, 167, 204, 240, 254


    San Francisco *****

    Quarterback: Shaun Hill and Alex Smith can battle all they want in camp. Neither of them should be the starter for this team. Though the ***** haven't shown any public interest in Jay Cutler, they did host Kurt Warner, which tells us they are looking for an upgrade. Could Mark Sanchez or Josh Freeman be in their future?

    Right tackle: Jonas Jennings won't be back, which leaves a very big hole on the right side of the offensive line. The Niners gave up over 50 sacks last season and struggled to get the run game going under Mike Martz. They will have to be in the market for one of these elite tackles early in the draft.

    Safety: Mark Roman has been told he is no longer in the team's plans, and SS Michael Lewis is only an adequate starter. Though there aren't a lot of top flight safeties in this draft, the Niners will still be looking to upgrade.

    Outside linebacker: The team hasn't had a double-digit sack guy in years and last season's team-leader, Parys Haralson, had just 8. If the ***** are to be successful in the 3-4, they need to generate more of a pass rush off the edge with their outside linebackers.

    Running back: Word out of San Francisco is that the Niners are looking to move more toward a two-back system. Frank Gore is tough inside the tackles, but his speed in the open field as a runner and a receiver is his greatest strength. San Francisco would like to limit the beating he takes week in and week out, so look for the team to draft a bigger back who can handle some of the heavy lifting.

    Guard: San Francisco is thin inside along the offensive line. They would like to find an interior swing man who can play both the right and left sides.

    Draft choices: 10, 43, 74, 111, 146, 171, 184, 219, 244


    Seattle Seahawks

    Cornerback: Marcus Trufant had a down year in '08, and while former high draft picks Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings have promise, neither have stood out. The Hawks will look for someone who can compete for that starting job opposite Trufant in the near future.

    Left tackle: Walter Jones is 35 years old and coming off microfracture surgery. He's still one of the best in the game, but he's beginning to show some signs of decline and the next cornerstone tackle is not currently on the roster.

    Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck is 10 years into his career and has taken a beating in recent seasons. Seneca Wallace is athletic but has shown a limited ability to carry the team when asked to step into a starting role. If the Lions don't take Matthew Stafford, the Seahawks would be hard pressed to pass on him at No. 4.

    Free safety: Both Brian Russell and Deon Grant are over 30 this year. The Seahawks need to get younger at this position and need players who will be more of a physical presence across the middle.

    Guard: Mike Wahle and Rob Sims are adequate starters who could be upgraded, and there is very little depth behind them.

    Running back: Julius Jones is expected to carry the load, with T.J. Duckett handling the short yardage and goal line situations, but Jones has yet to prove he's an every-down back. If Seattle is going to focus on the run more under Jim Mora, they could use a back who has the speed to gain the edge and can line up as a receiver.

    Outside linebacker: The loss of Julian Peterson, even at his age, hurts. The team re-signed D.D. Lewis, who was the starter before Peterson arrived from San Francisco. But Lewis is best suited to a backup role at this point in his career.

    Draft choices: 4, 37, 68, 105, 178, 213, 245, 247, 248


    St. Louis Rams

    Left tackle: Alex Barron has moved to the left side for the time being while the Rams figure out how to replace Orlando Pace. Barron is more ideally suited to play the right side where he can focus more on his strengths as a run blocker. With two of the first 35 picks, St. Louis should be taking a shot at one of the talented left tackles in this draft.

    Middle linebacker: Will Witherspoon and Chris Draft are both better suited to play outside in Steve Spagnuolo's defense, which means the Rams need a man in the middle to anchor the defense and defend the run. A player like Pitt's Scott McKillop might be ideal in the middle rounds.

    Quarterback: Marc Bulger has taken a beating in recent years; entering the season with Brock Berlin as the backup would seem irresponsible. Certainly the team could be looking for its next franchise signal caller, but they may need to make a move for a veteran as well.

    Tight end: New GM Billy Devaney and Spagnuolo have already said they will ride Steven Jackson this season. If that's the case, they will need a blocking TE who can help the Rams set the edge on the outside run. Randy McMichael and Joe Klopfenstein are better receivers than blockers.

    Defensive tackle: Spagnuolo has said his team needs to get bigger up front, particularly on the interior where DT Adam Carriker weighs in at under three bills. Look for a run stuffer in the middle who can protect the linebackers and let them run to the ball.

    Wide receiver: Torry Holt and Drew Bennett have been cut. Last year's picks, Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, have promise, but another playmaker and some added depth are on the Rams' to-do list.

    Running back: Jackson has been dinged up in recent seasons, and if the run game is going to be the backbone of the new offense, the Rams have to make sure they have a solid No. 2 in place.

    Cornerback: Former first-round pick Tye Hill is an adequate starter, and the team thinks highly enough of Ronald Bartell to have re-signed him this offseason. But in a division that features the spread offense of the Arizona Cardinals, you better have a strong nickel package, and the Rams don't.

    Draft choices: 2, 35, 66, 99, 103, 138, 176, 211


  2. #2
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    pretty accurate list here

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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    I'll be ecstatic if Tye hill can be an "adequate starter"

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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    Draft choices: 2, 35, 66, 99, 103, 138, 176, 211


    Huh? Do we have two 4th round picks this year?

  5. #5
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    I don't see anyway that this is possible without being Cap Strapped down the road. It wouldn't really be that smart. IMO

  6. #6
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    Just more proof of how clueless the "experts" are:

    Barron is more ideally suited to play the right side where he can focus more on his strengths as a run blocker.
    Actually, Barron was a LT in college and, false start penalties aside, is actually a better pass blocker than run blocker, from what I've seen.

    DT Adam Carriker weighs in at under three bills.
    Actually, he's about 310-315.

    Cornerback: Former first-round pick Tye Hill is an adequate starter, and the team thinks highly enough of Ronald Bartell to have re-signed him this offseason.
    Anyone who knows the Rams would start by mentioning Bartell (the clear #1 starter). At this point, Hill is not necessarily even a starter on this team.

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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    All the usual suspects are there even if the analysis & details are a little sloppy.

    I'd prefer a DE over a developmental QB,though, if Adeyanju doesn't sign.

  8. #8
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    so someone who gets benched is now an adequete starter?

  9. #9
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    No mention of the upgraded secondary, the strength of the interior offensive line, where I believe the team is much stronger with Bell, Brown, & Incognito, where Brown's play will make both guards much better. For starters Barron at left tackle & right tackle coming or maybe reverse it.
    No mention of the strong blocking fullback Karney. Just those additions should improve the running game. With a strong running game and Bulger given protection can be very accurate passer, another upgrade. Granted we need to improve our receivers as a group however, last years rookies played quite a bit, valuable playing time could help them to be starters this year. In an article I read last year, the team was criticized for playing the rookies so often, Bulger's remark was look how good they will be next year, next year is almost here.

    i believe the Rams will draft a offensive left tackle, middle linebacker, and a strong receiver, quarterback, a defensive tackle, then fill the other holes as needed.

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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    Quote:
    DT Adam Carriker weighs in at under three bills.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Just more proof of how clueless the "experts" are:

    Actually, he's about 310-315.

    While i tend to agree with you on all your points, the St. Louis Rams website mis-lists Carriker as under 300. This "expert" must be basing his facts on the Rams website... which we all know isn't the most exacting of the 32 team pages out here.

    point: "Well, he's an expert and is busy making pertinent analysis of all the various aspects of the nfl.... its okay for him to rely on the team pages to be accurate for his facts"

    counter point: "Wrong! Experts by definition are individuals who have the extensive knowledge and ability to make top-notch evaluations so that all others turn to them for guidance in their respective area of expertise... to do so requires information that is infallible, even if its what is believed to be fact or reported to be factual by others."

    personally, i tend to lean towards the counter. if you're an expert, you can't go around using other people's faulty information. If you're an expert, you get your own information and make sure its accurate. Wasn't Carriker 296 coming out of the draft? As soon as Adam was drafted he was told he was moving inside so he started putting on weight right away. For an "expert" to not know this is fine... but for an expert to write about the subject and not double check the facts 3 years after its making? meh.
    An expert who doesn't do his homework, is not an expert.

    but i digress. Anyway, to be fair to the pundits, it sounds like the Rams' website hasn't updated his weight since they drafted him.... here's what the Rams' site lists:

    90 Carriker, Adam UT 6-6 296 5/6/84 3 Nebraska

  11. #11
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    I agree with AvengerRam this guy was off base on Barron, Carriker, and Hill. As for Blocking TE we don't need one now with Bajema.

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    I dont even care at this point

    When it gets closer to the draft and Detroit get their pick signed then I will start to pay attention. Otherwise I would get so frustrated if I took these things seriously. However for some reason I read power polls and for some reason they can get me pissed off and they make about as much sense as these mock drafts do. I have to work on that during this year.

  13. #13
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by LARAM View Post
    Draft choices: 2, 35, 66, 99, 103, 138, 176, 211


    Huh? Do we have two 4th round picks this year?
    I have the same "?" the Rams have a extra 4th round pick. I thought the Rams only had 7 picks in the draft.
    Can anyone answer the ? 7 or 8 picks in the draft.

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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    I'll agree that it was sloppy to assume Barron's strength was run blocking just because he has played right tackle and that Hill was a starter even though he got benched, but I'll give him a pass on the weight question. Yes, Carriker was supposed to have put some weight on after he joined the team, but short of watching him get on the scale, how is the guy going to know for sure what the correct number is?

    Also putting blocking tight end ahead of starting wide receiver seems a little silly even if you don't count the Bajema signing.

  15. #15
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Kirwan's Team-by-team draft needs for NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by LARAM View Post
    Draft choices: 2, 35, 66, 99, 103, 138, 176, 211

    Huh? Do we have two 4th round picks this year?
    We do not have pick #99, which I imagine was carried over from the list that did not have compensatory picks added to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk247 View Post
    so someone who gets benched is now an adequete starter?
    Compared to what else we have at the position right now - Wade, King, Quincy Butler, and Marcus Brown - probably.

    Quote Originally Posted by slammin_ram View Post
    No mention of the upgraded secondary, the strength of the interior offensive line, where I believe the team is much stronger with Bell, Brown, & Incognito, where Brown's play will make both guards much better. For starters Barron at left tackle & right tackle coming or maybe reverse it.
    No mention of the strong blocking fullback Karney.
    Why, in an article trying to outline a team's needs, would a writer spend time writing about areas that are not needs anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by KoaKoi View Post
    personally, i tend to lean towards the counter. if you're an expert, you can't go around using other people's faulty information. If you're an expert, you get your own information and make sure its accurate. Wasn't Carriker 296 coming out of the draft? As soon as Adam was drafted he was told he was moving inside so he started putting on weight right away. For an "expert" to not know this is fine... but for an expert to write about the subject and not double check the facts 3 years after its making? meh.
    An expert who doesn't do his homework, is not an expert.
    To defend Kirwan a bit here, he pumped out these articles for every division in the NFL on or around the same day. Not to mention he's doing his daily radio show and trying to keep up with the NFL people he is close with.

    He probably does not have the time or ability to go as in-depth as local writers or hardcore fans can when it comes to a specific team. Listen to the guy's radio show sometime; in spite of him missing on a few personnel things here, he's one of the smartest analysts out there IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    Also putting blocking tight end ahead of starting wide receiver seems a little silly even if you don't count the Bajema signing.
    I don't get the sense these are necessarily ranked in order of importance.

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