The NFC West came away with high praise in the 2013 NFL Draft by several analysts.
ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers all “B” grades.
The St. Louis Rams were the only team in the division, and one of three NFL teams, to receive an “A”.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams filled their needs nicely in the first four rounds, acquiring arguably the best skill player in the draft with West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. As if that wasn’t enough to fulfill their receiver craving, they grabbed Austin’s teammate, Stedman Bailey — who caught two more passes than him last season — in the fourth round.
On the defensive side of the ball, St. Louis grabbed Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, who should step right in to defensive coordinator Tim Walton’s 4-3 system.
USC safety T.J. McDonald and Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones were two other big pickups for the Rams.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were not in desperate need of many players entering this draft. With a total of 13 draft picks and only a few needs, San Francisco was able to trade picks to move up and get who they wanted.
LSU safety Eric Reid was a perfect example of that, as the 49ers traded up to get Reid at No. 18 overall. Their second round picks of Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine and Rice tight end Vance McDonald helped bolster the 49ers in thin areas. McDonald should step right into the backup tight end position with the loss of Delanie Walker.
But the most popular pick for the 49ers might have been their fourth-round selection of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. In 2012, Lattimore tore every ligament in his knee in what was considered one of the worst knee injury ever seen. The 49ers used Frank Gore’s college injury as an example of what can still be accomplished, and took Lattimore as a future investment.
While the Seahawks may not have technically had a first-round pick, they did receive Percy Harvin in place of one, which is just as good if not better.
However, it wasn’t until the 62nd overall pick that Seattle made their first pick of 2013 where they took Texas A&M running back Christine Michael.
The Seahawks would fill most of their needs in the mid to late rounds, picking up defensive tackles Jordan Hill from Penn State in the third and Jesse Williams from Alabama in the fifth.
A majority of the Seahawks picks will help add depth to their roster and allow them to develop under their seasoned starters, as they did not have too many holes to fill.