Inside Kiper's NFC West mock

February, 18, 2010
2/18/10
3:58
PM ET
Insider subscribers might have seen that Mel Kiper's latest mock draft is updated with his explanations for each pick.

The measurables are all there -- 32 picks, 2,000-plus words, handy links to player bios -- and I'd like to offer some thoughts on his NFC West choices.

And since Kevin Seifert did something similar on the NFC North blog, I'll follow his format (note that a coin toss will determine whether the 49ers pick 16th or 17th):

1. St. Louis Rams

Mel's pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

My thoughts: The Rams worked last offseason to rebuild their offensive line, with encouraging results. They need to rebuild the defensive line next and Suh would help them on that front. Chris Long improved quite a bit last season. The team needs to replace aging defensive ends Leonard Little and James Hall, who might not be back. Adam Carriker's injury issues prove the Rams cannot count on him. Suh makes sense, in other words, even though the Rams should take a franchise quarterback if they see one in this draft.

6. Seattle Seahawks

Mel's pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

My thoughts: If Bradford is good enough to go sixth overall, the Rams should take him at No. 1. A good quarterback beats a very good defensive tackle. The Seahawks are in better position to take a chance on a quarterback early because they have another pick in the first half of the round. The second pick provides some insurance. Matt Hasselbeck's recent injury history should force the Seahawks to address this issue in the near term. Bradford could spend a season or at least part of a season on the bench, depending upon his health, Hasselbeck's health and Hasselbeck's production.

13. San Francisco 49ers

Mel's pick: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

My thoughts: The 49ers do need a return specialist. They could use a change-of-pace running back, too. Spiller would fill those needs and let's face it, mock drafts are mostly about matching teams needs with the prospects available. But as the 49ers found out when Michael Crabtree fell to them unexpectedly, surprises happen. It's important for the 49ers to keep things in perspective here. It's way too early to write off Glen Coffee as Frank Gore's backup. A running back drafted in the first round needs to play, in most cases, and this selection would invite more questions about Gore's role in an offense that ignored him for stretches once Alex Smith became quarterback. It's possible to find return specialists later in the draft. Spiller should be the pick only if the value is there, not just to fill a couple needs.

14. Seattle Seahawks

Mel's pick: Everson Griffen, DE, USC

My thoughts: The Seahawks will take criticism if they fail to draft an offensive lineman among the first two choices. They'll probably take criticism if coach Pete Carroll seems to be filling the Lawrence Jackson Scholarship with this selection. If the top tackles are gone, however, the Seahawks do need to consider other options. And Carroll's combination of NFL and college experience should give him a good feel for whether Griffen or anyone else from USC is ready for the next level. It was telling, I thought, when Carroll suggested several recent NFL choices from USC might have been overvalued. It's not like Carroll drafted Jackson, after all.

16. San Francisco 49ers

Mel's pick: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

My thoughts: The 49ers would win the draft-day report cards if they emerged with Spiller and Williams, filling two obvious need areas. This might be a little earlier than the 49ers would like to find their next right tackle. They drafted left tackle Joe Staley at No. 28 in 2007. But based on how Staley has performed, the 49ers could have justified drafting him earlier. If Williams is the real deal as a right tackle, he would give the 49ers bookend tackles for years to come.

26. Arizona Cardinals

Mel's pick: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

My thoughts: This pick would make a great deal of sense. Veteran Bryan Robinson has exceeded expectations as the Cardinals' nose tackle, but he'll be 36 in June. The Cardinals have committed more fully to a Steelers-style defense, and that makes nose tackles more valuable. No complaints with this pick.

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