2018 CPGM Interactive Mock Draft Grades – NFC West
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Los Angeles Rams @jagsontherise
It’s really simple here. The Rams identified the player they coveted and got him. They traded the 23rd overall pick and a third round selection to move up five slots and select linebacker Rashaan Evans. The former Alabama defender figures to slide right into one of the starting inside linebacker spots vacated by Alec Ogletree. Evans could very well be an upgrade to Ogletree not only because he’s younger and cheaper but profiles as a better inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. A well-coached, physical tackler, with three-down chops and pass rushing ability off the edge; his play will go a long way in determining the Rams’ success in 2018. As I previously mentioned, Los Angeles decided not to take any chances and landed their target but left some meat on the bone. Ideally, they would have found a way to bolster their offensive line, and/or add some speed to replace Sammy Watkins’ ability to stretch the field and open things up for Gurley, Woods and Kupp. Additionally, I tend to believe Evans would have been available at the 23rd pick; if not Leighton Vander Esch would have been quite the consolation prize. Still, L.A. addressed their primary need on the defensive side of the ball, added some pass rushing from the second-level, and stabilized their run defense. Solid job by the Rams.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B-
Seattle Seahawks @Rza911
Entering CPGM’s 2018 Interactive Mock Draft with only one selection in the 1st three rounds the Seahawks went to work and did a hell of a job navigating the draft board. The aforementioned trade with the Rams netted a 2018 third round pick and a subsequent trade with the Steelers allowed Seattle to add a 2019 second round pick to its coffers. Meanwhile they landed the second best offensive lineman in the entire draft class according to the CPGM Top 50 Draft Board in Isaiah Wynn with the 28th overall pick acquired from Pittsburgh. Wynn is a masterful technician and has the ability to play just about every spot on the offensive line. I assume Seattle will play him at guard considering that they acquired left tackle Duane Brown during the 2017 season but there is at least one member of the CPGM Front Office that thinks that the former Georgia standout is actually a better tackle than guard despite not having the desired measurables of a prototypical offensive tackle. At any rate, it’s a great problem for the Seahawks to have as their offensive line has been a turnstile for years. With Isaiah Wynn in tow and additional draft capital acquired I was prepared to give Seattle an “A” grade before they selected cornerback Tavarus McFadden out of Florida State in the third round. Entering the 2017 NCAAF season McFadden was bantered about as a fringe 1st round pick given his length, a few flashes, and mostly perception based on the recent success of Xavier Rhodes and Jalen Ramsey at the NFL level but the only thing he has in common with Rhodes and Ramsey is that they played at the same school. While I tend not to harp on measurables, McFadden lacks long speed and technique. He is a willing competitor in press coverage and certainly fits best in Seattle’s Cover 3 scheme but the Seahawks don’t have the same pass rush the former Legion of Boom played behind and I worry he’s going to be heavily penalized and get beat often. Still, I was impressed by what the Seahawks managed to accomplish in terms of Isaiah Wynn.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B
San Francisco 49ers @EricJag
The 49ers continued to add to their impressive and young defensive core by selecting Tremaine Edmunds with the 9th overall pick and cornerback Mike Hughes with the 34th overall selection. Edmunds profiles as having immense potential considering his size, athletic profile and age (will only be 19 when drafted). However, he isn’t as sure a thing as the draft community may think. He is lacking in experience, awareness and play recognition. The expectation is that it will all come with coaching and IF it does Edmunds will be the type of player offenses have to game-plan for every week. San Fran packaged the 59th and 74th picks to climb to the 34th slot in order to acquire the aforementioned Hughes. A shrewd move in my opinion, as the Niners’ front seven continues to take shape and is bordering on the ridiculous in terms of talent, the secondary leaves something to be desired. Hughes is a first round talent at a position of need so the value is strong early in the second round. His game needs some refinement technically, but I think he has the ability and mentality to start right away. The CPGM Front Office believes he has the highest ceiling of all corners in the class. Third round pick, wide receiver Jaleel Scott out of New Mexico State has a bit of a cult following. The 6’5″ Scott doesn’t have the suddenness and route-running prowess to consistently stack defenders and create separation but his catch radius is substantial and he does a good job of reeling in the contested catch. He adds some size to complement Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin. He’ll need to make an impact on special teams to earn more playing time but may serve as a decent red-zone target by season’s end. Overall the 49ers’ 2018 draft class is chalk full of potential with a slight bust concern. Still the collective talent is undeniable. My only true gripe with this class is that the offensive line wasn’t addressed. San Fran tried to bolster the position group via free agency but I would have liked to see a more concerted effort to get better in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball. However, the aggressiveness to secure Hughes solidifies this class for me.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B+
Arizona Cardinals @Ebonicallyurz
I have it on good authority that the Cardinals were making a play to move up in the first round (for a quarterback I presume) but an outlandish asking price from the Buffalo Bills stymied negotiations. Instead the Cards held firm at pick 15 and selected what they believe will be the successor to Larry Fitzgerald in Courtland Sutton out of SMU. Arizona continued its re-tooling of what was previously thought to be a position group of strength that ultimately underachieved (primarily due to injury) with the acquisition of DeVante Parker from the Miami Dolphins. Parker has his own injury concerns but still offers some upside. Arizona parted with a couple third round selections (2018, 2019) to acquire the former first round pick. On Day 2 the red birds continued their exercise in adding size to their roster with 6’3″ defensive back Holton Hill out of Texas in the second round; then followed that up with a dart throw at quarterback in Luke Falk in the third. It was obvious that Arizona coveted the statuesque athlete during the draft and they managed to acquire considerable upside on the perimeter on both sides of the ball. Sutton strikes me as a boom or bust type of prospect, that doesn’t play up to his size consistently enough. However, I like what he offers after the catch. If he plays with more edge and physicality prior to the catch he could make me a believer. I actually think both the Cardinals and Dolphins did well in the DeVante Parker trade. Parker has to find a way to stay healthy but I still believe in his talent. I assume Arizona is going to give Hill a crack at corner opposite of Patrick Peterson which has proved to be an effort in futility for quite some time now. But, with several departures at the safety position Hill’s physicality and penchant for being around the football suggests that safety may be his home. I think scheme fit is important for Hill. He has the requisite tenacity and physical tools to play aggressive bump & run, man-to-man coverage but he doesn’t trust his technique. However, if the Cards transition to more of a Cover 3 look considering the hire of head coach Steve Wilks and Hill gets his head on straight, he could be the answer Arizona has been searching for opposite Pat Pete. I sit firmly on the fence when it comes to Luke Faulk. I admit I have a bias against the offense he played in and he doesn’t really move the needle for me. But his compact delivery and short to intermediate accuracy is noteworthy. I consider him a decent developmental prospect. Frankly, I think the Cardinals should have pivoted to trading down. I believe Sutton would have been available 5-10 picks later and they missed an opportunity to put themselves in position to address more of their needs, specifically the offensive line. As I mentioned before, the Cardinals added a considerable amount of upside but nothing that remotely reflects a high floor.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: C+
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