The Rams took running back Todd Gurley as the first NFC West draft pick in 2015.
It was a dizzying three days of the draft, as hundreds of college players learned of their professional landing spot last weekend. Like the rest of the league, the NFC West teams were busy fortifying their rosters, hoping to find early-round impact performers and late-round diamonds in the rough. Here is a look at the selections made by the Cardinals' divisional rivals:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Draft picks:Oregon DE Arik Armstead; Samford S Jaquiski Tartt; Virginia OLB Eli Harold; Oklahoma TE Blake Bell; South Carolina RB Mike Davis; Georgia Tech WR DeAndre Smelter; Clemson P Bradley Pinion; Boston College G Ian Silberman; Florida G Trenton Brown; South Carolina TE Rory Anderson
Most intriguing selection:Harold was a first-round possibility according to some projections, but dropped to the third, where San Francisco grabbed him with the No. 79 overall selection. He had 15½ sacks over his final two seasons at Virginia, and his 6-foot-3, 247-pound frame should make him a fit as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the 49ers' scheme. There was some buzz about the Cardinals possibly targeting Harold to add to their pass-rushing contingent, but GM Steve Keim took Missouri linebacker Markus Golden a round earlier. Time will tell which player is more successful in the NFL.
Analysis:As is GM Trent Baalke's modus operandi, the 49ers were active during the draft and came away with 10 selections. Armstead is a physical specimen but still raw, and should compete for playing time on the defensive line immediately. The 49ers have long been known for their impressive depth, but free agent departures and the retirements of inside linebacker Patrick Willis and Chris Borland leaves the team thinner than in past years. Choosing this many players should help as Baalke tries to re-stack the cupboard for new coach Jim Tomsula.
Draft picks:Michigan DE Frank Clark; Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett; San Diego State G Terry Poole; West Virginia G Mark Glowinski; Towson CB Tye Smith; Oregon State DE Obum Gwacham; Buffalo DT Kristjan Sokoli; Oregon State S Ryan Murphy
Most intriguing selection:For the second consecutive year, the Seahawks went with a speedy receiver early, choosing Lockett with their
third-round pick. He should step in immediately as a return man, with an opportunity for playing time on offense since wideout is arguably the team's weakest position. Seattle acquired star tight end Jimmy Graham from the Saints this offseason – giving up center Max Unger and their first-round pick – and if Lockett or Paul Richardson (a second-round pick in 2014) can add a deep threat, the offense will be more dangerous.
Analysis:GM John Schneider built up the Seahawks through the draft, making shrewd move after shrewd move, but many of the team's stars are close to or already on their lucrative second contracts. Finding impact players who can fit in on cheap rookie deals is again essential as the salary cap crunch tightens. Schneider and coach Pete Carroll are taking heat for their first pick, second-rounder Clark, because he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and subsequently kicked off the Michigan football team last fall, although Schneider was adamant the team thoroughly vetted Clark. He will be another pass-rushing option, while the Seahawks drafted a pair of offensive linemen – Poole and Glowinski – in the middle rounds after Unger and fellow starter James Carpenter departed this offseason.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
Draft picks: Georgia RB Todd Gurley; Wisconsin T Rob Havenstein; Louisville T Jamon Brown; Oregon State QB Sean Mannion; Iowa T Andrew Donnal; Missouri WR Bud Sasser; Fresno State G Cody Wichmann; Baylor LB Bryce Hager; Memphis DE Martin Ifedi
Most intriguing selection: The Rams pulled off an early surprise by choosing Gurley No. 10 overall. He is regarded as one of the best running back prospects of the past several years, but between a torn ACL suffered last season and the recent devaluing of running backs, he went higher than projected. If Gurley can return to 100 percent health, he should be a formidable weapon for a St. Louis offense which has lacked punch over the past few seasons.
Analysis: The Rams went with offense on their first seven picks, no surprise after it lagged so far behind the defense last year. The team has a new quarterback in Nick Foles and a new running back in Gurley, but success may come down to how well the line does blocking for them. Last year's No. 2 overall pick, Greg Robinson, is slotted in at left tackle and Rodger Saffold at left guard, but the other three spots are up for grabs. The selections of Havenstein, Brown, Donnal and Wichmann show the Rams are serious about upgrading the line, but the rookies must pan out in a hurry.