- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Up next: wide receivers.
NFC West teams drafted five of them: Tavon Austin (eighth overall pick) and Stedman Bailey (92nd) to the St. Louis Rams, Chris Harper (123rd) to the Seattle Seahawks, Quinton Patton (128th) to the San Francisco 49ers and Ryan Swope to the Arizona Cardinals (174th).
We pick up the conversation there.
Sando: Matt, you had Arizona first last time, followed by Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis. What has changed?
Williamson: I have to keep the order the same for now, but it's harder now. Swope would have been a much higher pick without the concussion problems. His timing for being eligible is terrible, but I keep Arizona No. 1 for sure. Nobody got better enough to take the top spot. Michael Floyd is a really good player. Larry Fitzgerald is a stud. Andre Roberts, you could do way worse than him for a No. 3 and Swope might even challenge him.
Sando: Swope ran 40 yards in the 4.3-second range at the NFL scouting combine. He is 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds. The speed he brings gives the Cardinals something they didn't really have previously. That is something I like about the way NFC West teams drafted wide receivers. Harper gave Seattle a 230-pound presence. Austin gave St. Louis arguably the most electric player in college football last season.
Williamson: The Rams might be going back to their Greatest Show on Turf days. They got so much faster over the weekend. They are a dome team. That is interesting in two regards. The team has had success in the past being fast and multiple on both sides of the ball. Remember, Alec Ogletree is fast, too. But they compete against the two most physical teams in the whole league. Is that the approach to take as the third-best team in the division? Seattle and San Francisco are bangers. You are fighting Tyson here. But the receiver moves were very Sam Bradford friendly.
Sando: One worst-case scenario from a Rams standpoint during the draft was that the team might stay in the 16th overall slot, miss out on Austin and draft a receiver just to draft a receiver. The fact that they moved up to get Austin, then recouped picks in the move back with their second first-round choice gave them the best of both worlds, to a degree.
Williamson: They can use Austin in a lot of ways. Bailey is very NFL ready and they got him with one of the picks they received in the trade with the Atlanta Falcons. They did well.
Sando: Receiver is one of those positions in the division where the gap between No. 1 and No. 4 isn't nearly as much as it was a while back.
Williamson: Yeah, I'll keep the Rams No. 4 for now. They don't have a Percy Harvin or a Larry Fitzgerald. They might not even have a Michael Crabtree in that group yet, and maybe Anquan Boldin would be the best receiver in St. Louis right now. But we will revisit this one.
Sando: No question. The Rams are so different. As we discussed on the blog earlier, they are replacing 46.9 percent of their offensive snaps from last season. And that assumes every returning offensive player still with the team remains on the team.
Williamson: The line is better. They have weapons. This really could be Bradford's make-or-break year.