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2024 NFL Draft Wish List: NFC West

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The NFC West has the potential to be one of the most competitive divisions in all of football in 2024. Of course, the San Francisco 49ers are the heavy favorites, but the Los Angeles Rams aren’t too far behind. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks always play these teams tough, while the Arizona Cardinals have a healthy Kyler Murray and a ton of draft capital here in 2024.

(Check out the NFL Draft Wish List series: AFC EastNFC EastAFC NorthNFC North | AFC South | NFC South | AFC West)

2024 NFL Draft Wish List: NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

  • First pick: 1st round, 31st overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 10

The NFL Draft could get really interesting for the 49ers. There have been rumors surrounding Brandon Aiyuk, who could possibly be traded, though San Francisco has made it pretty clear they want to keep him around. Still, I don’t think anyone should be shocked if Aiyuk was moved on draft night and if that happens, the wide receiver position will be pushed up San Francisco’s draft board. At 31st overall, there is a strong chance the 49ers draft a wide receiver if they do move Aiyuk. And at that point of the draft, Ladd McConkey would make the most sense. Of course, they do have 10 selections in a deep draft class and if they waited until later, Xavier Legette and his yards after the catch ability would be a welcomed sight for Kyle Shanahan and company.

But let’s operate under the assumption Aiyuk isn’t traded. In that scenario, the 49ers likely go offensive tackle or defensive back in the first round. San Francisco’s offensive line, outside of Trent Williams, was pretty underwhelming. Tyler Guyton would make so much sense because he could push for the starting job at right tackle and could mesh well in this offense. Guyton is very athletic with good foot speed, which is ideal in a wide zone scheme that will also ask tackles to pull and get out to the second level at times. Perhaps Arizona’s Jordan Morgan could be in play, too.

Arguably the best roster in the NFL, it isn’t a shock to see San Francisco lacking many true needs. I do think they will look at the secondary in this draft. Charvarius Ward has been great for them, but the 49ers could use some more depth, mainly at corner. Ennis Rakestraw Jr. and Andru Phillips could be strong fits for San Francisco’s defensive scheme.

Los Angeles Rams

  • First pick: 1st round, 19th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 11

Don’t look now, but the Rams actually have draft capital for once.

For the first time since selecting Jared Goff first overall back in 2016, the Rams get to make a first-round selection. They hold the 19th overall selection, as well as 10 other picks in this draft. After the surprising retirement of Aaron Donald, the defensive tackle position immediately moved up the draft board. Two players obviously stand out in that range — Byron Murphy II from Texas and Jer’Zhan Newton from Illinois. Murphy has an insane first step to go along with great strength. He posted an impressive 19.6% pass rush win rate in 2023, one of the top rates in all of college football. Newton, meanwhile, constantly pressured opposing quarterbacks in college, despite being the sole focal point of the Illinois defense.

I also expect the Rams to address both linebacker and defensive back, but there are two more positions that could surprise people come draft weekend. Matthew Stafford played at a borderline top-five level last year, and while he’s clearly still a top-tier quarterback, he’s also 36 years old and the Rams have nothing behind him on the depth chart. I don’t think Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix will be there for them unless they trade up into the second round (maybe), but someone like Spencer Rattler in the third or fourth round makes sense. A former five-star recruit, Rattler is very accurate, ranking top-five in college football in on-target percentage. He did a lot of his damage in South Carolina’s spread offense, so he would feel comfortable in Sean McVay’s scheme that runs as much 11 personnel as any team in the league.

Wide receiver is also a position not many are associating with the Rams. But they’ll add someone in the middle rounds. Cooper Kupp is entering his age-31 season, and while Puka Nacua had an historic rookie campaign, he did struggle with injuries in college. I’d love the fit with either of the non-Rome Odunze Washington wideouts, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan.

Seattle Seahawks

  • First pick: 1st round, 16th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 7

It seems very likely Seattle will draft an offensive lineman in the first round of the draft. Perhaps their most pressing need is at guard, but this isn’t the most loaded class for that position. We do have, however, multiple offensive tackles that can absolutely play guard at the NFL level. Washington’s Troy Fautanu makes the most sense for the Seahawks, as he also has experience playing left guard. The Seahawks could also use more help getting after the quarterback, as they ranked towards the bottom of the league in adjusted sack rate in 2023 (6.8%). If Jared Verse is still on the board at 16th overall, I think Seattle strongly debates the selection, but ultimately add the versatile offensive lineman from Washington.

While the Seahawks do have seven selections, only two of them come inside the top 100. I expect Seattle to address the linebacker position, very possibly with their next selection at 81st overall. They did add both Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson this offseason, however, both players are on one-year deals. Keep an eye on Junior Colson and Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Arizona Cardinals

  • First pick: 1st round, 4th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 2
  • Total selections: 11

Draft day should be fun for the Cardinals.

Not only do they have the fourth overall selection, but they also hold picks 27, 35, 66 and 71. There has been some discussion about Arizona trading back from fourth overall, but if I’m the Cardinals, I’m not overthinking it unless a quarterback-desperate team sends a haul. Marvin Harrison Jr. to the Cardinals would be great for the player, the team and fantasy football. Harrison is an elite prospect, possessing an incredibly well-rounded skill set. Harrison can play with size and physicality, but also with finesse and suddenness. Everything about what he does on the football field is calculated and intended, especially in his routes. He knows how to attack leverage and an underrated part of his game is how he seemingly always works back to the football, making defenders defend until the play is over. There have been many comparisons to A.J. Green, and you can easily see why. Harrison is elite.

Harrison is going to flirt with 150 targets right out of the gate. 30% of Arizona’s targets from last year need to be replaced, and we’ve seen the WR1 for this team see massive target totals. Back in 2020, DeAndre Hopkins posted a 29.4% target share, averaging 10 targets per game. And with Hopkins suspended for the first six weeks of the 2022 campaign, Marquise Brown operated as Arizona’s WR1. During that span, Hollywood averaged 10.7 targets and 7.2 receptions per game, while sporting a 26% target share and 23% target per route run rate. Pairing Harrison with Kyler Murray would result in a top-15 ranking from me for 2024.

With their second first-round pick, I like Arizona adding to their secondary. If Clemson’s Nate Wiggins is still available at 27th overall, the Cardinals shouldn’t hesitate. He has 4.28 speed with excellent recovery skills and a strong frame to disrupt passes in both man or zone. Meanwhile, I’d expect Arizona to add to the interior of the offensive line throughout the rest of the draft. That could start as early as 35th overall, which is right where we could see center Zach Frazier come off the board. The Cardinals really need help at that position and Frazier could potentially start early for this team.

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