Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.
Here is how I saw the action from the NFC West perspective:
Arizona Cardinals: With concerns about the development of recent picks Gabe Watson and Alan Branch, the Cardinals had to be pleased to see Tennessee’s Dan Williams still on the board at No. 26. Williams was the most dominant defensive tackle in the SEC this past season, but some teams were nervous that he only elevated his game to this level as a senior. If the Cardinals can keep him motivated, they will have found a true steal in Williams.
St. Louis Rams: The Rams were on the phones talking trade up until they made the pick, but in the end they filled the need for a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. The club has to be concerned with Bradford’s inability to stay healthy in 2009, but there is no denying his talent. When protected, he’s shown the accuracy of an All-Pro.
San Francisco 49ers: With an established star in Frank Gore many casual fans might have thought the 49ers were among the best running teams in the league, but an inability to gain an inch on short yardage plays made addressing the offensive line a huge concern for Mike Singletary. Trading up to No. 11 to get Anthony Davis might have been an unnecessary move, as he likely would have been available to the 49ers at their original No. 13 selection. He provides the 49ers with a quality athlete in tandem with current left tackle Joe Staley. Having athletic tackles will help in Mike Iupati’s adjustment to the NFL’s speedier pass rushers. Few, if any presented Iupati’s power as a drive blocker.
Seattle Seahawks: Along with the 49ers, the Seahawks were the only team to enter the draft with two first round picks and successfully filled their two largest holes when talented players fell right into their lap. Seattle’s biggest concern was at left tackle considering the expected retirement of future Hall of Famer Walter Jones. Russell Okung was graded by many as the top offensive tackle in the draft and was a surprise to still be on the board at six. Similarly, with Seattle releasing free safety and team captain Deon Grant a month before the draft, the team was fortunate to have Texas’ Earl Thomas slip to them at No. 14. A classic ballhawk, he, like Okung, will start immediately.