After every NFL draft, sports journalists tend to give draft grades, dive into the analytics of each draft pick, and sometimes make season predictions based on draft selections alone. But at the end of the day, each team goes into the draft with an objective in mind. These objectives range from team improvement to adding depth or perhaps replacing a star player.
When all is said and done each team has achieved some type of goal or objective once the seven rounds have concluded. Here is what each NFC West team accomplished with their selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Objective Achieved: Adding players to fit Kliff Kingsbury’s offense
From the day that he was hired it was an open secret that Kingsbury wanted Kyler Murray as his quarterback based on their past together. So not only was Murray the No. 1 overall choice, the Cardinals also drafted wide receivers Andy Isabella (Massachusetts), Hakeem Butler (Iowa State), Keesean Johnson (Fresno State), and UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson. Isabella was taken with the second-round pick Arizona got from Miami in the trade for quarterback Josh Rosen. The Cardinals certainly have interesting pieces, now it's a matter of it all coming together under Kingsbury, who has no prior NFL coaching experience. It should be an interesting season out in the desert.
Los Angeles Rams
Objective Achieved: Insurance policy for Todd Gurley
When the Rams chose Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the third round (70th overall), the decision certainly fell under the “best player available” strategy, but a deeper look suggests otherwise. Gurley was held out of the final two regular-season games due to what the team referred to as knee inflammation but it was clear he wasn't the same player when he returned for the playoffs.
After he was a virtual no-show in the Super Bowl loss to New England, more questions about his knee started to swirl. While the team has confirmed little, there have been multiple reports suggesting Gurley has arthritis in his knee. No one really knows what to expect from Gurley until he returns to the field, but it only made sense for the Rams to bolster their backfield depth.
During his time at Memphis, Henderson ran for 3,545 yards, caught 63 passes for 758 yards, contributed 487 kick return yards, and totaled 45 touchdowns. It's entirely possible head coach Sean McVay will come up with ways to have both backs on the field at the same time, but at least there's another option should Gurley's knee issues flare up.
San Francisco 49ers
Objective Achieved: New targets for Jimmy Garoppolo
While the 49ers' defensive haul was the focus of their 2019 draft, they also added some pieces with the intent of improving their passing attack. Garoppolo is coming back from a torn ACL, so one of the ways to keep their $137 million signal-caller happy is to give defenses plenty of guys they have to cover. In wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jaylen Hurd, as well as tight end Kaden Smith, San Francisco has added to a receiving corps that already features tight end George Kittle along with wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Deante Pettis.
Combine them with capable pass-catching running backs Jerick McKinnon (also coming back from a torn ACL) and free-agent acquisition Tevin Coleman, and Garoppolo will not lack for options to throw to. The 49ers' offense could be sneaky-good this season.
Objective Achieved: Addressed all team needs
Just like the New York Jets, the Seahawks also took care of business during draft weekend. They left no stone unturned as they upgraded some offensive talent, and boosted their defensive depth. TCU defensive end L.J. Collier was the team's first-round pick, and Seattle also drafted Utah safety Marquise Blair (2nd Round), his linebacker teammate Cody Barton (3rd Round), as well as Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (5th Round), among others.
Seattle entered the week of the draft with just four picks, but between trading defensive end Frank Clark to Kansas City prior to the draft and a flurry of trades during it, the Seahawks ended up making 11 selections. General manager John Schneider traded down in the first round twice, turning the team's original selection (21st overall) into six players, including the aforementioned Blair and Burr-Kirven as well as wide receivers D.K Metcalf and Gary Jennings Jr.
Schneider also has an additional second-rounder coming to him next year to complete the Clark trade with the Chiefs. Between making Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in NFL history and maximizing Seattle's draft haul, Schneider has gotten a lot done in the past few weeks.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Top photo courtesy of www.buccaneers.com)