- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Matt Williamson, NFL scout for ESPN.com, is back with post-draft thoughts regarding the recently published NFC West positional rankings.
We won't cover every position. Some haven't changed enough. But with the four NFC West teams combining to draft six running backs, Matt and I will begin the discussion there.
Sando: We figured the St. Louis Rams would draft a running back. They ranked fourth at the position in your pre-draft rankings. I was not expecting the Seattle Seahawks to pad their top-ranked backfield with second-round choice Christine Michael and sixth-rounder Spencer Ware. No one can say they reached for need.
Sando: To review, Michael was suspended for violating team rules, supposedly overslept at the NFL scouting combine and fell out of favor with the new coaching staff at Texas A&M. Lattimore remains perhaps a year away from playing after suffering a gruesome knee injury while at South Carolina.
Williamson: I thought it was odd for Seattle to draft a back that early. My first thought was that they must think Marshawn Lynch is starting to break down. But he certainly isn't showing it. Look at the Seahawks at this point. It's like my dad. What do you buy him for Christmas? He has everything. Just take what is available.
Sando: And then Seattle followed that up with another back. The Seahawks are saying Ware can project as a fullback and special-teams contributor. Perhaps he replaces Michael Robinson some day.
Williamson: Ware is a very good runner, though. Those LSU backs are hard to gauge because nobody gets enough carries. Stevan Ridley was a third-round pick and everyone was like, "Who?" Ware is a banger. He reminds me a lot of Chris Ivory moreso than a fullback.
Sando: So, I take it the rankings aren't changing for running backs, at least at the top.
Williamson: The Seahawks are still No. 1 and the 49ers are No. 2. Arizona stays third and St. Louis fourth. San Francisco is the perfect team for Lattimore. Nobody is shocked he went there. They've got three guys ahead of him. There is no rush. But Frank Gore is not long for the league. They don't have a lot of other needs.
Sando: We haven't covered Zac Stacy yet. He could wind up playing more than Michael and certainly more than Lattimore this coming season. The Rams needed a power back.
Williamson: I liked Stacy too. Everyone thinks of him as a little guy because he's 5-foot-8, but he is powerful, he gets downhill, he doesn't screw around. It wouldn't blow me away if he led the team in carries. He looks every bit of 215 pounds.
Sando: In Arizona, I'm not taking anything for granted as to how the team plans to play its backs. Mendenhall and Williams have to show they can stay healthy. The Cardinals drafted Stepfan Taylor at No. 140, 20 spots before the Rams took Stacy. But I'm not sure how much they'll ask him to play as a rookie. Arizona also added Andre Ellington in the sixth round. The overall depth appears much improved, at least.
Williamson: It's interesting that Arizona added two backs. They lost two and added three this offseason. With Mendenhall and Williams, you are happy if one of these two is always healthy. The Cardinals are going to be a lot better on their offensive line, which should help all the backs.
Sando: We'll revisit the lines and other positions as the week progresses.