The NFC West has been largely dominated by the Seahawks, who have won the division three of the last four years (with the Cardinals winning it in 2015.) That leaves the 49ers and LA Rams, neither of which have been very competitive of late. So how did the draft shake out for this division of haves and have nots? Let’s take a look.
Chad Williams, WR Grambling (3.34)
TJ Logan, RB North Carolina (5.36)
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Williams is perhaps one of this year’s best examples of a player driven up the boards due to his landing spot. He quietly flew under the radar for most dynasty owners until the Cardinals invested a third round pick in him. He didn’t even show up in DLF’s ADP charts until after the draft, and as of June he sits at 29 in DLF’s ADP data.
Williams has good but not great size at 6’0” and 205 pounds. He did run a 4.45 forty at the combine, however, which is a solid number for a receiver of his stature. Williams also has strong hands and is tough to bring down after the catch.
So why was he so under the radar? Well, he has a bit of small school-itis, that inflicts many players in the draft. And he also had some minor off-field issues that had some worried. But now Williams finds himself on a depth chart that’s ripe for the taking. Larry Fitzgerald may be heading into his last season, and there isn’t anything definite behind him. Williams could move up quickly and gain a starting job.
As far as Logan goes, he’s the third or fourth running back on a depth chart capped by David Johnson. He doesn’t have a whole lot of value at this point, but may be worthy of a late round flyer, as the rest of that depth chart is questionable.
For just a taste of IDP, the Cards did invest heavily in the defense in this draft. In the first they drafted Haason Reddick, a linebacker out of Temple. He is well regarded, but it may take some time before his success manifests, as is often the case with the linebacker position. They also drafted a safety in the second round, Budda Baker out of Washington. Baker is an exciting player to watch, but he is a bit polarizing in the IDP community. Some love him, some don’t. Read more on the Cards IDP situation here.
Los Angeles Rams
Gerald Everett, TE South Alabama (2.12)
Cooper Kupp, WR Eastern Washington (3.5)
Josh Reynolds, WR Texas A&M (4.10)
The Rams made a few interesting picks to dynasty owners. Let’s start at the top with Everett. Keep in mind that Everett is quite small for the position, standing at 6’3” and coming in under 240 pounds. Of course that’s slightly taller and heavier than another guy you might know at the position, Jordan Reed. Everett also scored as a superior athlete to Reed in nearly every metric. He’s being targeted in the third or fourth round in most rookie drafts.
They also picked up a pair of wide receivers in Kupp and Reynolds, both of which are going in the third round or so of most rookie drafts. Most dynasty folks seem to like one of these guys, and their value is relatively equal, with Kupp going a half round earlier in most rookie drafts, likely due to his slightly higher pick in the NFL draft. Most see Kupp as more of a possession type receiver, as he has more size while Reynolds has a bit more speed to run vertical routes. Reynolds may be more of a “swing for the fences” pick while Kupp may be a tad more safe. Guys with his size who can run short and intermediate routes and catch the ball tend to get and keep playing time.
The Rams are switching to a 3-4 defense this year under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. This makes it a little more difficult to gauge the value of some of their rookie picks here, as we have to see how they shake out. They did spend a third round pick on Josh Johnson, a safety out of BC. They also spent a fourth on Samson Ekubam, linebacker from Eastern Washington. Ekubam is an edge type OLB in Phillip’s defense, however, so we also need to take a wait and see approach there.
Amara Darboh, WR Michigan (3.42)
I can hear you ask me through the internets, and the answer is yes, that is the only offensive player of note drafted by Seattle. The problem here is compounded as it seems Seattle drafts a wide receiver every year, and every year at least a few dynasty owners end up overdrafting a Seahawk rookie wideout.
But hey, it’s another year. So what’s the story with Darboh? The story seems to be that he’s very good in a lot of ways, but not great in any one area. As dynasty owners we gravitate towards the players with at least one “jump out at you” metric or stat, but Darboh does not quite do that. He has the looks of a very solid but likely not spectacular wide receiver in the NFL.
However, Seattle is still in the market for a WR2 that they can depend on, and Darboh has as good a chance as any on that roster to become that guy. He’s likely worth a third or fourth round flier for some.
You know that defense is where Seattle’s bread is buttered, and the 2017 draft was no different. They picked up defensive tackles in the second and third round, Malik McDowell out of Michigan State and Nazair Jones out of North Carolina respectively. If you are to target either of these guys in a DT required league, you likely want McDowell. They also picked up a pair of safeties in the fourth and sixth in Tedric Thompson from Colorado and Mike Tyson from Cincinnati, but neither will likely see much value this year.
San Francisco 49ers
CJ Beathard, QB Iowa (3.40)
Joe Williams, RB Utah (4.15)
George Kittle, TE Iowa (5.2)
San Francisco went into this draft with as many needs as anyone, which made some of the moves they made all the sweeter (especially the sweet deal with the Bears to move down a single spot.) Sure, it’s nice to get the picks that they got, but that usually means you have a lot of holes to fill. And do they ever.
Quarterback is a big question mark by the bay, and I’m not sure Beathard answers it (and I don’t know if anyone thinks he’s the answer under center.) But word is that he’s the only QB that Shanahan really liked, but coaches are notorious for quotes of that ilk. He’s not a hugely talented QB, but Beathard does have a reputation as smart and tough, and I personally believe smarts can be underestimated at the position. In any case, if you want Beathard you likely can get him for free post draft.
Williams is quite a different story. He’s one of the darlings of the post draft hype machine, with many (myself included) believing Hyde has a tenuous hold on the starting job at best. It also helps that Williams weighs 210 pounds and still managed a sparkling 4.41 forty at the combine. That kind of athletic profile plus a ripe landing spot equals…you guessed it – perhaps a little overdrafting! The potential is there, however, just don’t expect to steal him late.
Kittle, on the other hand, is about as far from being overdrafted as you can come. He’s another guy that you can likely get for free post-draft, but there are good reports coming out of training camp thus far. This is a brand new regime, so many jobs could be up for grabs. Also, what if I told you Kittle is roughly the same size as OJ Howard, ran an almost identical forty time, but had a better vert and broad jump? Are you intrigued by Kittle now?
There were two very interesting picks by the 49ers on the defensive side of the ball, as they spent their first two picks on defense. They took Solomon Thomas, the DE/DT from Stanford with the third overall pick, and took Reuben Foster, the Alabama linebacker at 1.31. Both are guys to watch in your IDP leagues. Foster lost some value due to his incident at the combine as well as some health question marks, and we still have to find out what in the heck San Fran will do on the line in the new 4-3 defense. Trust me, we’ve talked about it in the DLF IDP chat, and we just don’t know at this point. I like Thomas as a possible 3 tech in that new defensive front.
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