It’s very hard to win the NFC West even if you have a complete team, but if you have holes, then you are spinning yourself into the ground. The Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and St Louis Rams all have teams that would be able to compete in any division for the top spot, unfortunately, they all happen to be stuck in the same division to beat up on each other. From what you’ll see below, these teams know how to draft and how to keep the engine running. So without further ado, below are the Remaining NFC West Team Needs.
Arizona Cardinals – I think the Cardinals wanted to strengthen both sides of their line and that is something that you can never really complain about. However, I don’t think they addressed any of the needs they had pre-draft. DJ Humphries on the o-line, Markus Golden on the d-line, and David Johnson to backup Andre Ellington were all solid picks, but I still think they need to fill the following three holes to make their team complete:
Nose Tackle – They will be going with Corey Peters at NT, but he is 305 lbs, most effective NTs are over 320 pounds if not over 330 pounds. Dan Williams, who led their rush defense last year at NT was 330 pounds.
Cornerback – I think Patrick Peterson will bounce back with a good year. He’s too good to be as bad as he was last year, but they have to replace Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie. Currently Jerraud Powers is slated to start and he was almost cut last offseason.
Safety – I think they should have considered getting a Safety. I’m not a big believer in Rashad Johnson and Tyrann Mathieu is good, but maybe injury prone.
San Francisco 49ers – You could not be blindsided any more than the 49er fans have been this offseason by retirements. Not only is the age of the players retiring a shock, but the importance of the players, to go along with the timing of their retirement announcements. Patrick Willis (30), Chris Borland (25), Justin Smith (38), and now as of last week, Anthony Davis (25) have all retired this offseason. Add that to the losses of Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and both starting CBs, Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver to free agency, it’s amazing that the 49ers still have little holes to fill, which were the following:
Cornerback – Their starting CBs on opening week will be Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright. That is not exactly Deion Sanders and Eric Davis. No CBs were selected in the draft. It’s currently their biggest hole on their team.
Nose Tackle – The Niners, like the Cardinals, have a small NT. Currently expected to start there will be Ian Williams, who is 305 pounds and played DE while he was at Notre Dame in their 3-4 Defense at the time.
“Other” – I almost had to add Safety to this list as Eric Reid said he also contemplated retirement. They were also lucky to grab Eli Harold in round three to add depth to their aging LB group.
Seattle Seahawks – The team that was one bad pass, or playcall, depending on how you look at it, from winning the Superbowl, didn’t really have too much to fill in anyway, but just like a championship type team does, they had a very solid draft. With five of their eight picks being either offensive or defensive linemen, they show that to win the game, you have to win within the trenches. WR Tyler Lockett was a steal of a pick in round three to go with OL Terry Poole and OL Mark Glowinski in round four.
Center – Depending on how you look at how they shape their offensive linemen, this may not even be a hole for them. By them drafting two guards, one of the 4-5 guards on their roster should be able to move inside to play C.
St Louis Rams – The only nitpick that someone could have with the Rams is taking Todd Gurley when they had a need at WR. DeVante Parker was there and WR was a bigger need. However, I LOVE Todd Gurley as a player and I have no problem with combining him and Tre Mason. The next four selections of OL Rob Havenstein in round two, OL Jamon Brown in round three, QB Sean Mannion in round four, and OL Andrew Donnal in round five were picks of beauty. With needs at C, G, and T, they filled all three with those three OL, but as I said, the only need left would be:
Wide Receiver – The Rams have to hope for two things and this “hole” goes away. They need Brian Quick to recover from his season ending knee injury and they need Kenny Britt to start to regain brilliance he had before injuring his knee in Tennessee.
If these four teams were in separate divisions, there is a solid chance that at least three, if not all four of them would make the playoffs, or at worst be in contention for a playoff spot. The one thing that being in a tough division does is it makes you playoff ready. If you can make it out of the division and into the playoffs mostly healthy, you will be a legitimate Superbowl contender. With teams like Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, and the 3rd best team in this division will likely be on a similar plane as them. What a glorious year this could be for the toughest division in football, the NFC West.
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