Friday, April 27, 2012
What I like about NFC West first-rounders
By Mike Sando
The first round of the 2012 NFL draft has come and gone. A few things I liked about the NFC West selections:
- St. Louis Rams: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. Defensive tackle was a position of critical need for the Rams. Brockers projects as an instant starter with the versatility to play more than one position on the line. The Rams added a second-round choice for moving back from sixth to 14th overall. That was more than other teams trading back secured. Yes, the Rams still need a No. 1 receiver, but one school of though says this draft didn't feature a sure-fire one. No one can accuse the Rams of reaching. They got bigger and stronger on their defensive line. Having three second-round picks puts them in position to help the offense Friday.
- Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Floyd comes to the Cardinals with an advantage. He already knows Larry Fitzgerald. Both players are from Minnesota. Fitzgerald publicly supported Floyd's selection heading into the draft. Floyd will get first-class mentoring from Fitzgerald, on and off the field. Fitzgerald has welcomed young players into his home and taken a direct interest in their development. That should help Floyd, who has a history of alcohol-related arrests.
- Seattle Seahawks: Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia. Coach Pete Carroll is personally and passionately invested in Irvin's success. Carroll and his defensive staff have enjoyed great success when matching players with specific traits to specific roles. Irvin possesses a very specific set of skills. He's a pass-rusher, plain and simple. That's all the Seahawks will ask him to do, at least initially. The 14-sack season San Francisco got from Aldon Smith in 2011 serves as a model for what the Seahawks will want from Irvin. Smith did not start a game, but he was a force in passing situations.
- San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois. The 49ers have time to develop Jenkins. Their depth at receiver should be sufficient in the short term, especially for a team that regularly uses two or more tight ends. That should give Jenkins time to improve his strength, an area of concern. Jenkins has the versatility to line up in more than one receiving spot, general manager Trent Baalke said. That's a bonus. I'm stretching a bit on Jenkins. That's no knock on him. It means I've got a lot to learn about him and about the 49ers' expectations for him.
Fun night. Back at it Friday.