Draft Grades

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Divisional recap: NFC West

St. Louis provided the most drama on draft day, after the Dolphins had already taken Jake Long with the top pick in the draft. St. Louis, however, wasted little time in getting its man. Arizona has the chance to have the highest reward on its draft. San Francisco looked to increase its offensive line. Seattle had one of the most unheralded drafts in the division, with very little flair, but did add to its defensive line.

Safest pick: Defensive end Chris Long (St. Louis). Long comes in with a great pedigree and should have an instant impact in St. Louis. There was some thought of going with Glenn Dorsey, but this allows the team to keep Adam Carriker inside.

Riskiest pick: Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Arizona). There is no doubt that Rodgers-Cromartie is very talented. But the Cardinals have drafted talented players before who didn't pan out. If he can live up to his potential this could be a great pick.

Best Day 2 value: Receiver Early Doucet (Arizona). Doucet battled injuries, but was a productive receiver for LSU. To be available for the Cardinals in the third round was a great value.

The Cardinals filled their most pressing needs on the defensive side with their first two picks, drafting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Calais Campbell. Both players have high ceilings and could have an impact this season. Fourth-round pick Kenny Iwebema also adds depth on the defensive line. Receiver Early Doucet could be pushed into the mix if the team trades Anquan Boldin, otherwise, he will fill the departed Bryant Johnson's role. Running back Tim Hightower is in the mix to back up Edgerrin James. See Arizona's complete draft.

St. Louis' 2007 season unraveled as injuries began to mount on the offensive line. The team addressed that need by drafting tackle John Greco in the third round. Defensive end Chris Long means that last year's top pick, Adam Carriker, will remain on the inside and give the club a pretty good foundation on the defensive line. The team released long-time receiver Isaac Bruce during the offseason, so taking Donnie Avery in the second round and Keenan Burton in the fourth round answers the call at the position. See St. Louis' complete draft.

The 49ers traded away their top pick to the Patriots last year in order to draft tackle Joe Staley, who moves to left tackle this season. Offensive and defensive lines were a priority, so taking defensive end Kentwan Balmer was a good move. Guard Chilo Rachal provides more depth on the offensive line as offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense will put a quarterback at risk. Not taking a receiver until the sixth round was kind of startling, but the team must be content with veterans Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson. See San Francisco's complete draft.

The Seahawks released Shaun Alexander, but the team must have confidence in Julius Jones as they didn't draft a running back until selecting Justin Forsett in the seventh round. Defensive end Lawrence Jackson could one day replace Patrick Kearney. Seattle has long struggled to find receivers who can catch the ball, so it is kind of a surprise that the team didn't move in that direction during the draft, especially with the health of Deion Branch in question. See Seattle's complete draft.

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