To kick off our Divisional Mock Draft series we head out to the NFC West, arguably the leagues best division. With all four of these teams in their respective Super Bowl windows, let’s see if we can find some fits for teams that are all expecting playoff seasons come this fall. There are no trades allowed in this exercise, so each team will be make their selections as they stand here in early April.
San Fransisco 49rs:
Round 1 Pick 3 – Justin Fields QB Ohio State
While I’ve been the BackJudge’s most vocal proponent of Zach Wilson and his ceiling, I also love the NFL prospects of Justin Fields. Fields is a superb athlete with arm strength and accuracy to boot. In two years of starting at Ohio State, Fields has demonstrated leadership, moxy, and some great tape against the nations top competition. Like Wilson, where Fields gets into some trouble is with his decision making and occasionally the ability to properly read the defense leading to some poor decisions and ugly turnovers. Enter Kyle Shanahan and his offense in San Fransisco, a system that I’ve long loved and consider to be elite. Shanahan’s system will be able to make Fields’ transition to pro game as seamless as possible while curbing some of the issues Fields has shown to have with going through his progressions. Despite my endless adoration for Kyle Shanahan and more broadly the San Fransisco organization, I will be disappointed if they pass on Fields, and to a lesser extent Trey Lance, for Mac Jones.
Round 2 Pick 43 – Asante Samuel Jr. CB Florida State
Perhaps I’m just higher on Samuel than most, who’s lack of size will likely push him to day 2. Samuel’s lack of ideal size and physicality can lead to him getting bullied a bit by bigger, more physical receivers. However, he checks are the requisite athletic boxes to play the position at a high level and has multiple impressive moments of feel and instinct littered all over this tape. I think he’s a high floor, scheme diverse player, who at the very least can be a starting slot corner in the NFL.
Round 3 Pick 102 – Jaelon Darden WR North Texas
Despite having two young studs in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, receiver is still a sneaky position of need for the 49rs. While it seems prudent to bring in a receiver who fits, the recently departed, Kendrick Bourne’s mold, adding another RAC freak to Samuel and Aiyuk is too juicy for me to pass up. Darden has been a popular draft sleeper for good reason, he’s a twitched up jitterbug, who’s change of direction and make you miss ability is as elite as it gets. At 5’8 174 pounds, Darden will likely be restricted to the slot and gadget plays, but who better to give a weapon like this to than Kyle Shanahan. The idea of Justin Fields throwing to Kittle, Samuel, Aiyuk, and Darden already has me wanting to gobble up all the San Fransisco futures I can find.
Round 1 Pick 16 – Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
Despite being a well documented Kyler Murray fan and believer, I’m still hesitant too fully buy into the 2021 Arizona Cardinals. While most of this caution is due to my lukewarm opinion of Kliff Kingsbury, also a lot of my reservation stems with this defense. JJ Watt is no doubt a great piece to add the trenches and help free up Chandler Jones. Buddha Baker is an elite safety and Isiah Simmons should continue to develop towards being a high end starter. While Byron Murphy has justified my CB1 grade on him coming out in 2019, the rest of the corner room is a mess; enter Jaycee Horn. Horn is the modern cornerback prototype; 6’1 205 with 4.39 speed and a 42” vertical. On top of the measurables and projections, Horn’s tape is also impressive. He’s got that dawg mentality, he competes every snap and backs up his talk. While his tackling ability leaves a lot left to be desired, his coverage floor and upside gives him a firm round 1 grade.
Round 2 Pick 49 – Joseph Ossai EDGE Texas
Behind Chandler Jones there isn’t a lot of quality depth in the EDGE room. Joseph Ossai is a high floor edge who lacks the physical traits of the names we see more frequently mentioned in this EDGE class. He still however is a impressive athlete for this position positing a 4.65 40 yard dash and a 42” vertical. Ossai has a tremendous motor, which lead to so much of his production at Texas. While he may never become an elite pass rusher, he has the tools to be productive and should be plus as a run defender. I think he offers a higher ceiling than Markus Golden and Devon Kennard and should have a solid role from day 1.
Round 2 Pick 56 – Walker Little OT Stanford
As a result of “Organization Hubris,” (insert:BJP Trademark) Seattle has stripped themselves of their draft capital. Their seemingly harmonious marriage with Russell Wilson showed some deep seeded resentment and tension this offseason; supposedly stemming from philosophical differences between Wilson and Pete Carrol, on top of continued porous play from the offensive line. If Seattle has any interest in repairing their fractured relationship with their elite QB, it should start in the trenches come day 2. Walker Little is a former five-star recruit who was the ninth-best overall recruit in 2017. He has an impressive build at 6’8 313 pounds and has the potential to grow into a starting NFL left tackle. The concerns with Little come from the fact that he hasn’t played in two years, opting out this past year and tearing his ACL week 1 of 2019. Little played 783 snaps in 2018, impressing in pass pro while struggling a bit in the run game. While there is considerable risk with Little, the Seahawks should be enamored by his upside.
Los Angeles Rams:
Round 2 Pick 57 – Jevon Holland DB Oregon
Like the Seahawks, the Rams have also sacrificed major draft capital with their past acquisitions, most notably Jalen Ramsey. Unlike the Seahawks, the Rams have very few glaring needs on their roster. The biggest hole is currently the free safety position, the departure of John Johnson hurts and leaves a hole across from Taylor Rapp. Jevon Holland is one of my dudes in this draft class. Another 2020 opt out, Holland’s 2018 and 2019 tape shows a high floor, immediate contributor, who has positional versatility playing both slot corner and free safety. Holland excels in coverage, racking up 20 interceptions and pass breakups through his two years as a starter in Eugene. Paired with his coverage ability, he is a willing and sure tackler in run support who absolutely sells out to make tackles in space. If Holland were to fall to late round 2, I think he’d be an excellent Johnson replacement and an immediate starter in Los Angeles’ vaunted secondary.
Round 3 Pick 88 – Jamin Davis LB Kentucky
Another position of need for the Rams is off ball linebacker, as Micah Kiser and Kenny Young are serviceable, yet replacement level starters. Insert Adam Klepp’s boy Jamin Davis; Davis likely wont fall to pick 88 after destroying his pro day’ measuring 6’3 234 with a 4.41 40 yard dash and a 42 inch vertical. However, in this simulation Davis falls to the needy Rams, who could use a high ceiling off ball linebacker. Davis is a bit raw but has the tools to develop into an absolute stud at the second level for a team that is currently in their Super Bowl window.
Round 3 Pick 103 – Kendrick Green iOL Illinois
Guard is another position that could use a influx of depth and upside, Kenrick Green screams both those things. A three year starter in Champaigne, Green has consistently improved, playing both guard and center. He thrives in the run game and is a adequate pass blocker. His athletic testing is obscene too; 6’2 305, 4.85s 40 yard dash (99th%) and a 36” vertical (99th%). Green is a certified freak who has a high ceiling because of these traits, which are so rare for guards. Green is more than worth a shot at the end of round 3 for a team who has replacement level players starting across their interior offensive line.