With the 2017 NFL Draft around the corner, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks and Around The NFL's Conor Orr are breaking down the biggest areas of need for every team in the NFL, division by division. Below is Conor's look at the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals (8 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 13 overall
» Round 2: Pick 45
» Round 3: Pick 77
» Round 4: Pick 119
» Round 5: Picks 157 and 179 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Pick 197
» Round 7: Pick 231
Biggest needs: Quarterback, wide receiver, interior defensive line.
- 2017 NFL DRAFT
▹ Day 1 winners and losers
▹ QB frenzy shakes up Round 1
▹ How Patriots attack the draft
▹ Tom Brady's DIII Dopplgänger?
▹ Sidelines: How Desmond King made it
▹ Draft Do-overs:
▸ 2008 | 2011 | 2014 | 2015
▹ AFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
▹ NFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
- MARSHAWN LYNCH TRADE
▹ Lynch, Raiders poised for run
▹ Raiders boast NFL's best offense?
Either the Cardinals' talk of finding Carson Palmer's replacement has been a brilliant pre-draft smokescreen or the telegraphing of the obvious -- Arizona does not want to look unprepared in 2018 if Palmer, who flirted with retirement during the winter, makes it official after this season. This is still a fairly complete football team that fell on hard times last season and lost numerous close games (five of Arizona's eight losses were by a touchdown or less, and they tied one game, as well). If the Cardinals plan to expend the 13th overall pick on a quarterback, they'll need some of their early 2016 selections, such as Robert Nkemdiche, to get on schedule and develop this season. At the scouting combine, head coach Bruce Arians mentioned "five to six" really good arms in this year's rookie class. Will one fit his vision?
Los Angeles Rams (8 total picks)
» Round 2: Pick 37 overall
» Round 3: Pick 69
» Round 4: Picks 112 and 141 (compensatory selection)
» Round 5: Pick 149
» Round 6: Picks 189 and 206 (from Dolphins)
» Round 7: Pick 234 (from Ravens)
Biggest needs: Offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver.
The quickest way for Sean McVay to establish himself as a coaching wunderkind on this team would be to re-establish running back Todd Gurley and win some close games on the shoulders of Wade Phillips' defense. Easier said than done. The Rams did a nice job bolstering the tackle position this offseason, but could still use some assistance at guard and center. Phillips could also use some help, with his cornerback depth chart beyond Trumaine Johnson looking rather thin. The assumption is that Philllips' presence alone will elevate defensive tackle Aaron Donald into something otherworldly, but the truth is that Donald needs pieces around him to accentuate his strengths.
San Francisco 49ers (10 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 2 overall
» Round 2: Pick 34
» Round 3: Pick 66
» Round 4: Picks 109 and 143 (compensatory selection)
» Round 5: Picks 146 and 161 (from Redskins)
» Round 6: Picks 198 (from Ravens) and 202 (from Broncos)
» Round 7: Pick 219 (from Browns)
Biggest needs: Quarterback, interior offensive line, cornerback.
I've been going back and forth with colleagues of late as to what, exactly, San Francisco will do with the No. 2 overall pick. While that ultimately depends on how Kyle Shanahan views this year's quarterback class, it does make sense for the 49ers to hit the pause button and wait until 2018 to take their passer of the future. A six-year contract provides unheard-of stability for an NFL head coach. Many mock drafts have San Francisco taking Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, which would team him with former first-round picks Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner to form a potentially deadly troika of pass rushers. But because this is draft needs, it would not be right to complete this piece without suggesting a trade down. The 49ers need help just about everywhere.
Seattle Seahawks (7 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 26 overall
» Round 2: Pick 58
» Round 3: Picks 90, 102 (compensatory selection) and 106 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Pick 210
» Round 7: Pick 226 (from Panthers)
Biggest needs: Offensive line, cornerback, pass rusher.
It is so much harder to solve an ailing offensive line than many seem to think. Take the Giants, for example, who hurled either a first- or second-round pick at the problem from 2013 to '15 and are just now starting to get some returns on their investments. Seattle could be staring down similarly long odds, which is why we saw them take a flier on former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel and swing offensive lineman Oday Aboushi in free agency. Most of their front is replacement-level, at best; a nod to long-time offensive line coach Tom Cable and their power running game. As far as the cornerback position goes, this one is obvious: The Legion of Boom is only going to be good as long as it is a young, hungry entity. If Richard Sherman is a tradable commodity, who isn't?
Follow Conor Orr on Twitter @ConorOrr.