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NFL Draft: Team Report Cards - NFC West
John Tuvey
April 28, 2008
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Arizona Cardinals

Needs Addressed: The Cards can’t complain about adding talented corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and mammoth defensive end Calais Campbell, filling two major needs on the defensive side of the ball. Early Doucet has upside as a third receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin—and, if Boldin gets dealt, maybe even as a starter. While Arizona didn’t address the need to back up/augment/replace Edgerrin James with an early pick, fifth-rounder Tim Hightower could be a pleasant surprise. 
Fantasy Impact: A Boldin holdout would get Doucet on the field sooner rather than later, and with third receiver Bryant Johnson now in San Francisco there’s a possibility Doucet’s contributions will have to come… um, Early. Hightower runs hard, in contrast to Edge, and could crack the lineup as a goal line guy or more.

Overall Grade: A-

San Francisco 49ers

Needs Addressed: It must have been tough for Mike Martz to watch wide receivers slip into round two, only to have the Niners consistently pass them by until the sixth round. However, they addressed a pair of defensive needs—defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer and cornerback Reggie Smith—and added a couple blockers before getting around to undervalued pass-catcher Josh Morgan.
Fantasy Impact: Chilo Rachal and Cody Wallace should make Frank Gore and Alex Smith more productive, and while rookie receivers are rarely seen or heard Morgan could find a match made in heaven in San Francisco’s Martz-helmed offense.

Overall Grade: B+

Seattle Seahawks

Needs Addressed: The Seahawks beefed up their defensive line with two of their first three picks (end Lawrence Jackson and tackle Red Bryant), but they ignored their aging offensive line entirely—unless you count the long snapper they took in the sixth round. They also gave their Julius Jones/T.J. Duckett backfield a vote of confidence by ignoring running backs until round seven, and in a somewhat surprising development the Hawks didn’t take a wideout at all.
Fantasy Impact: After seeing what Nick Folk and Mason Crosby accomplished last year, kicker Brandon Coutu is worth keeping an eye on as he battles Olindo Mare for the starting gig. First-year tight ends generally don’t contribute much to the fantasy bottom line, but John Carlson is talented, has a relatively clear path to playing time, and lands in a tight-end friendly offense. We’re not sayin’, we’re just sayin’.

Overall Grade: B-

St. Louis Rams

Needs Addressed: The Rams addressed need and largely received value for their selections—the notable exception being wide receiver Donnie Avery in round two. Not that Avery can’t play, as the Rams love his speed; however, other teams had as many as 10 receivers ahead of him on the draft board. Tabbing cornerback Justin King—mentioned by some as a first-rounder—in the fourth round balances the scales. A team that was beat up along the offensive line last year added a pair of versatile linemen in John Greco and Roy Scheuning and also nabbed another speedy wideout in the fourth round in Kentucky’s Keenan Burton.
Fantasy Impact: Can Avery step into the slot and produce? Both he and Burton should be able to move past Reche Caldwell and Dane Looker on the depth chart, and you have to assume Scott Linehan knows who fits his offense best. Greco and Schuening offer insurance up front, which is good news for Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson.

Overall Grade: B

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