The NFC has turned into a pretty stacked conference, but it does seem to be run by the Rams and the Saints right now.
That’s one reason why you can probably bet safely on Los Angeles to win the NFC West and why one of those two teams make the most sense to reach (and possibly win) Super Bowl 54.
Los Angeles will only be better in terms of talent in 2019, and they have an opportunity to reload in the 2019 NFL Draft. Every other team has had their chance to get a facelift during free agency, while getting healthy could put the 49ers back at “Super Bowl sleeper” status.
There is still work to be done across the board, though.
San Francisco and Seattle should be threats to the Rams as they stand, but strong drafts could close the gap. Arizona probably isn’t a realistic problem yet, but drafting Kyler Murray at the #1 spot could completely change the way we view them offensively.
If you’re trying to gauge who will win the NFC West and/or if any of these teams can make a Super Bowl run, it may be wise to start with how they might draft in April.
Let’s break down how things could unfold through the first four rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft for each squad as we try to figure out who takes this division this season.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were trash under their previous regime. Under innovative offensive mind Sean McVay, they’ve been nothing but elite.
Two straight NFC West division titles and a trip to Super Bowl 53 later, and there’s little reason to doubt this team. Vegas agrees, as the Rams are boasting strong +900 Super Bowl odds at trusted Super Bowl betting sites like Bovada.
I’m not picking the Rams to complete the mission, but I do think they remain the cream of the crop in their own division. They’ll be healthy again to start 2019, too, while they could also gain even more talent via this year’s draft.
4-Round Rams Mock Draft
As stacked as the Rams are, they do have some issues to address. They lost some help up front on defense, they may want to worry about the future of their offensive backfield, and their offensive line could use some extra depth.
The most glaring need may actually end up being defensive back, though. Aqib Talib isn’t getting any younger, and as talented as he is, Marcus Peters did not work out in his first season with the team.
LA has four picks in the first four rounds and could drastically improve an already immensely talented roster. Here’s what I think they should do.
- Round 1 – Pick 31: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
- Round 3 – Pick 94: Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
- Round 3 – Pick 99: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
- Round 4 – Pick 133: Malik Grant, S, Marshall
There are whispers that the Rams could get a quarterback to push Jared Goff, but I don’t think that’s necessary. The Rams have the weapons, system, and coaching in place to win with Goff.
Instead, they need to replace Ndamukong Suh up front, and if Dexter Lawrence can slide to them in round one, he’s an absolute steal. I also like them to address their secondary, and Joejuan Williams has the size and tools to be great.
Todd Gurley was not healthy to close out the year, so the Rams may want to go get an insurance policy. The Rams do not have a very reliable option behind him now that C.J. Anderson is gone, but a tough runner with feature back ability like Sanders could be just what they need.
Eric Weddle was a great pickup in free agency, but he won’t be around for long. The Rams should address the future of the safety position, and Grant is an underrated prospect that could eventually be a solid starter.
LA doesn’t have many horrible holes to address, so I wouldn’t mind a luxury pick if they see something they love. They also could grab some o-line depth, but I’d suggest much of the focus should be on the defensive side of the ball.
Seattle just keeps winning, even when they’re not supposed to. The Seahawks continue to be one of the most well-run organizations in pro football, and when you have Russell Wilson, that’s pretty easy.
He makes it look that way at least, but now he’s got a contract situation, and some are speculating he could be dealt. I’m not biting on that just yet, but crazier things have happened.
The Seahawks are in for serious trouble if they trade away their franchise quarterback. If he stays for the long haul, however, Seattle will have a chance to compete for big things in 2019 and beyond.
Seattle already is in a decent spot, but they can get even better with a strong draft this year.
Predicting Seattle’s 2019 Draft Results
The Seahawks only own three picks inside the first 124 selections, but they’ve been known to draft well in the past. I suspect they’ll make good use of these draft choices, but here’s what I think they should do.
- Round 1 – Pick 21: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
- Round 3 – Pick 84: Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama
- Round 4 – Pick 124: Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
Whether the Seahawks keep Wilson in town or not, their offensive line needs to be better. Greg Little’s draft grade varies depending on who you talk to, but Seattle is known for reaches.
That’s a big need, but a more versatile offensive lineman prospect would also make sense. Miller fills a need in the trenches on the other side of the ball, as Seattle has lost some talent on the line and could stand to improve their pass rush.
Seattle has also lost a lot of secondary talent, so going out and getting a stable prospect like Boyd could at worst help out their depth.
The Seahawks really don’t have too many glaring holes at their skill positions, so they just need to add some unsexy players and keep trucking along.
San Francisco 49ers
There were high hopes for the Niners going into 2018. They have a great system and plenty of talent, but injuries derailed them before they could even gain momentum.
The return of both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon gives them a chance to rise up the rankings, while additions like Dee Ford and Tevin Coleman offer serious upside.
I think San Francisco already has the players in place to compete for a playoff spot — and perhaps the division — but they still have some issues to address.
49ers 4-Round Mock Draft
The Niners have an opportunity to land one of the best prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft, but they could also opt to trade down and accrue more picks. I’m fine either way, as they already have a ton of talent and are in position to strike.
I’m not trying to guess whether or not they trade down, though, so let’s start this 4-round 49ers mock draft at the two spot.
- Round 1 – Pick 2: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
- Round 2 – Pick 36: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
- Round 3 – Pick 67: Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
- Round 4 – Pick 104: Dru Samia, OL, Oklahoma
You can argue Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen at the second overall pick, too, and I won’t fight you too hard. No matter what the Niners do here, they land an impact player that could lift their defense to new heights.
Bosa just feels like the total package. He’s a solid athlete, he can rush the passer, he sniffs out the run, and he has a tireless motor. It’s splitting hairs this high up, but I believe Bosa will be the pick here.
San Francisco’s biggest need is probably wide receiver. Anyone pitching the Jordan Matthews signing as some type of upgrade isn’t paying attention. The 49ers need a big-play talent outside of George Kittle in the passing game, and I think they can get it via Brown.
Safety is another issue and at this point — especially with the Niners so active this offseason — is really their main problem area on defense. The Niners are quickly turning into an elite defense in terms of raw talent being collected, so Thornhill has a chance to latch on with a terrific unit.
I also think o-line depth is needed for the Niners. Grabbing someone that is versatile would be ideal, and Sumia’s athleticism could have him fitting in nicely virtually anywhere on the offensive line.
Overall, the Niners are in a great spot. They are getting healthy and adding even more talent, so bettors will want to keep an eye on them at every level.
Lastly, we have the Cards, who fired their head coach after one painful season. I didn’t really agree with that knee-jerk reaction, and I certainly wasn’t impressed with the Kliff Kingsbury hire.
Maybe I’ll be proven wrong about that, but it felt forced, and it also seems to have pushed Arizona into a corner in terms of how they’ll draft. Originally slated to land an elite impact defender, they’ll now probably draft Kyler Murray, and I’m not sure that’s the best call.
Arizona isn’t a quarterback change away from competing at a high level. They need a lot of talent, and this lateral move might work out in the end, but it may also be an epic failure.
Cardinals 2019 NFL Mock Draft
Arizona would honestly be wise to just trade out of the top pick. They have four picks in the first four rounds, but stockpiling more selections given their laundry list of needs would be a good idea.
I wasn’t in love with Josh Rosen last year, but he’s not a bad prospect, and he’s far from Arizona’s only problem. He can be successful in their system, but it looks like the Cardinals will move him and head in a different direction.
The top pick now seems like a formality, but I still think it’s worth dissecting how things could unfold from there for Arizona.
- Round 1 – Pick 1: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
- Round 2 – Pick 33: Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
- Round 3 – Pick 65: Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
- Round 4 – Pick 103: Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma
Murray is whatever up top. He’s obviously a fantastic talent, but he’s tiny and produced for just one season. He could be a brilliant pick in Kingsbury’s system, but we need to believe two things: Kingsbury will craft a system that can succeed in the NFL, and Murray won’t shatter into a million pieces on his first snap.
If Arizona really isn’t sold on Rosen, this pick makes sense, and I’m fine with it. I’d rather keep Rosen and just trade down, but starting fresh with “your guy” isn’t a terrible idea, either.
From there, the Cardinals just need to add talent however they can get it. Rebuilding the trenches on both sides of the ball makes sense, and someone like Simmons — who is immensely talented but got hurt — could slide to them at the top of round two.
Bobby Evans is a solid o-line prospect, too, and while Arizona has made nice moves in free agency to patch up weak spots, bringing in young talent on either line is still going to be very helpful.
I also love the Cardinals going after some pass rushing help. Chandler Jones was all they had in 2018 on the edge, and their answer was to bring in aging commodities like Terrell Suggs and Brooks Reed.
Reed isn’t even productive, and both of these guys could be done after 2018. Fresh legs in the form of someone like Crosby, who is athletic and tireless, could be useful.
Arizona has a lot they need to accomplish in this draft, and it’s arguable they’re setting themselves up for failure right away with the first overall pick. Then again, Murray should fit their system and is a highlight reel waiting to happen.
It will be extremely interesting to see how this all unfolds, but I’ll be surprised if any of Arizona’s moves lead them to a good standing in the NFC West in 2019.
Who Will Win the NFC West in 2019?
I absolutely think the Rams have a tougher assignment on their hands this year. The 49ers are healthy and ready to storm the castle, while the Seahawks — assuming these Russell Wilson trade rumors are just noise — remain a legit threat.
The only team in this division you shouldn’t be betting on is the Arizona Cardinals. That being said, the Rams are still the most talented team in this division and possibly the entire conference.
Sean McVay has pieced together a true juggernaut. Los Angeles can score on anyone, and they also have a loaded defense. That unit got even better when they brought in savvy safety Eric Weddle in free agency, while a healthy Cooper Kupp should lift the offense back up.
The Super Bowl hangover is always a concern, but the Rams remain on a mission and are probably too talented not to dominate the NFC West again. The Niners and Seahawks are deserving of flier bets if you’re looking for elite betting value, but I can’t go away from the Rams here.
More 2019 NFL Draft Predictions
- NFC North Draft Predictions
- NFC East Draft Predictions
- NFC South Draft Predictions (To Follow)
- AFC North Draft Predictions
- AFC East Draft Predictions
- AFC South Draft Predictions (To Follow)
- AFC West Draft Predictions
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The 2019 NFL Draft – Predictions for All NFC West TeamsApril 15, 2019