We've been focusing on how the Seattle Seahawks 2011 NFL Draft experience turned out, but it's equally important to take a spin around the NFC West. After all, the entire division is attempting to rebuild and the draft is a big piece of the process. With the NFC West still in the dumps, and considered the laughing stock of the NFL, there's plenty of room for improvement, and all four teams addressed needs in one way or another with the draft.
How did the NFC West grade out? ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has answers and handed out his 2011 NFL Draft grades on Saturday.
The Arizona Cardinals went straight for value, ignoring needs to take the best players available when they were on the clock. Kiper gave the Cardinals a C for needs, an A- for value and a B- overall. Arizona added significant playmakers, but didn't necessarily address some of the holes on the roster.
The Cardinals were a case study in maximizing value, but needs definitely were sacrificed in a couple of spots.
The San Francisco 49ers did address their needs, especially at the quarterback position. Jim Harbaugh got a quarterback he can begin to develop in Colin Kaepernick, at least until the 49ers figure out how to draft Andrew Luck in 2012. First round pick Aldon Smith is also an impact player on the defensive end despite being a bit of a reach at No. 7. Both players may take time to develop, but this draft could pay dividends down the line. Kiper gave the Niners a B for need, a C for value and a C+ overall.
It's all about what happens at quarterback in terms of how we judge the success of the 2011 49ers, but I judge this weekend as a relative success. It's just a small worry when your first two picks both have development requirements.
The St. Louis Rams received an A- for needs, a B- for value and an overall grade of B-. Kiper believes the Rams came away from the 2011 NFL Draft as winners and will be on the upswing because of it. Quarterback Sam Bradford now has a few more weapons and the Rams improved at quite a few positions of need.
The Rams didn't get any help at guard or defensive tackle, but given their needs, they didn't have enough picks to cover them all.
As for the Seattle Seahawks, it wasn't pretty. Kiper gave the Seahawks the lowest grade of any team, a D+. We broke down his grades for Seattle here.
For even more on the draft, head on over to Field Gulls. Check out the rest of our 2011 NFL Draft grades to get caught up on all the picks. For a look back on the draft that was, check out our 2011 NFL Draft StoryStream. We'll be getting to know each of the Seahawks draft picks in our 2011 NFL Draft results StoryStream.