ARIZONA CARDINALS

NFL Draft: What will the Cardinals’ NFC West rivals do in the 1st round?

Apr 20, 2020, 6:36 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2020, 8:45 am
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (R) talks with general manager John Lynch durin...
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (R) talks with general manager John Lynch during practice for Super Bowl LIV at the Greentree Practice Fields on the campus of the University of Miami on January 29, 2020 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals’ eighth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft isn’t the only first-round selection that should matter to the Red Sea.

San Francisco and Seattle combine for three first-round picks in this year’s draft, which gets underway on Thursday. The Rams don’t have a first-rounder — at least not for right now — but the draft is always an opportune time for trading and dealmaking.

With Arizona increasingly becoming a dark horse candidate for the 2020 playoffs, what division foes do will be just as important to the Cardinals as their own selection.

So with that, here’s a look at the other three NFC West teams that the Cardinals compete with and what they could be doing in the first round this week.

San Francisco 49ers

First-round picks: 13, 31

The 49ers, who are fresh off a Super Bowl appearance, have the 13th pick that they got in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for DeForest Buckner. They also have their own pick, the 31st overall selection.

But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Niners are taking calls on both of those first-round picks. San Francisco doesn’t have any picks in rounds two through four, so Schefter said GM John Lynch wants more picks. Otherwise, their first three selections would be at spots 13, 31 and 156.

NFL.com pegs the Niners’ needs as defensive back, defensive line, offensive line and wide receiver. If they kept it, the 13th pick could be a good place to target one of the top wideouts in the draft, provided the guy they’d want isn’t taken just before them; the run on wide receivers could start right after the Cardinals pick at No. 8.

Los Angeles Rams

First-round picks: None (traded to JAX)

The Rams traded their 20th overall pick in this year’s draft plus their first- and fourth-round picks in 2021 in order to get cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jaguars. So if L.A. wants to get in on the first-round fun, they’ll have to swing a trade.

Per ESPN’s draft guide, the Rams’ biggest need is offensive line, despite them bringing back all of their O-line starters from last season after re-signing Andrew Whitworth and Austin Blythe. The same guide suggests Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson or Houston’s Josh Jones as solutions for the Rams at that position.

Jones has been mocked by NFL.com as going in the mid-late first round, well before L.A.’s current first pick of No. 52 overall.

Seattle Seahawks

First-round pick: 27

The aforementioned ESPN draft guide says the Seahawks’ biggest need is a pass rush, and perhaps a running back, too. Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa and Auburn’s Marlon Davidson could be fits, Vincent Verhei wrote. NFL.com went with TCU defensive lineman Ross Blacklock.

From NFL.com’s Chad Reuter:

Seattle is another team likely trying to move out of the first round — but will all of these teams find trade partners? Probably not. The Seahawks’ athletic profile points me to two players they could take in the first round: Blacklock and Yetur Gross-Matos. Blacklock was a defensive tackle for the Horned Frogs, but I could see him as a strong-side end for the Seahawks if they want Jarran Reed and Poona Ford on the field.

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