Friday, May 4, 2012
West adds weapons with eye on end zone
By Mike Sando
NFL teams selected 14 wide receivers and running backs in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft, an average number since the league expanded to 32 teams for the 2002 season.
Five of the 14 landed in the NFC West, three more than the total for any other division.
The emphasis began with the Arizona Cardinals, who used the 13th overall choice for Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd.
The San Francisco 49ers went with a first-round receiver (A.J. Jenkins) and a second-round running back (LaMichael James). The St. Louis Rams used second-round choices for a receiver (Brian Quick) and a running back (Isaiah Pead).
The Seattle Seahawks, having used free agency (Sidney Rice) and trades (Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington) to address those positions in recent seasons, were among the majority in this draft. They joined 21 other teams in targeting players at other positions in the first two rounds.
Floyd projects as a likely starter in Arizona. The others might need additional time, with James and Pead looking more like change-of-pace backs than the ones typically asked to start games and carry the ball on early downs.
The Cardinals, Rams and 49ers are among eight teams over the past three drafts to have used multiple picks in the first two rounds for receivers and runners. Detroit leads the way with four. Cleveland has three. The others have two.
I'll be interested in seeing how these new additions affect scoring. The Rams ranked last in that category for 2011. The Cardinals were 24th and the 49ers were 11th.