NFC West Update: How The Rams, 49ers & Cardinals First-Round Draft Picks Affect The Seahawks

A look at how Seattle's NFC West rivals operated in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and how each team's moves might affect the Seahawks.

Here's a look at how Seattle's NFC West rivals operated in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and how each team's moves might affect the Seahawks.

Los Angeles Rams

The Pick: No. 1 overall

The Player: QB Jared Goff, California, 6-foot-4, 215 pounds.

What He's Done: He started all 37 games during his three-year stay in the Bay Area, capping his career with a first-team All-Pac-12 selection while setting single-season conference records in passing yards (4,719) and touchdowns (43). He threw for 467 yards and six scores against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, Cal's first bowl victory since 2008.

How It Affects The Seahawks: The Rams did what many expected them to do after the team traded up to obtain the draft's No. 1 overall pick earlier this month. Goff gives Los Angeles one of college's top quarterbacks who according to Rams coach Jeff Fisher will receive a strong chance to start on day one in the team's new city. That means Seattle's defense could see Goff as early as Week 2, when the Seahawks travel to Southern California for the Rams' home opener. NFL analysts have said the Rams, who already have a stout defense and strong running game behind 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley, have been a quarterback away from competing at the next level. The L.A. area is hoping Goff will be the piece that helps push Fisher's club from a sub-.500 squad the past four years into a contender for the division title.


San Francisco 49ers

The Pick: No. 7 overall

The Player: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon, 6-foot-7, 291 pounds.

What He's Done: The Buckner pick marks the second straight draft the Niners have selected a Ducks defensive lineman in round one (the club took Arik Armstead at No. 17 overall last year). Buckner, named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 after recording 83 tackles (17 for loss), five passes defensed, and a conference-leading 10.5 sacks, has been compared to the likes of Calais Campbell, the disruptive Arizona Cardinals defensive end Seahawks fans should be familiar with.

How It Affects The Seahawks: After finishing 2015 ranked fourth-to-last in sacks (28.0), San Francisco's pass rush should see an immediate improvement with the addition of Buckner. That'll mean more work for a Seahawks offensive line that allowed 46.0 sacks last season, and for a unit that is working to replace two starters from last year in left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy, who signed elsewhere in free agency.

The Pick: No. 28 overall (from Kansas City Chiefs)

The Player: OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford, 6-foot-4, 312 pounds

What He's Done: In 2015, Garnett won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman and also took home the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's offensive lineman of the year. He was a team captain and first-team Pac-12 selection as a senior for the Cardinal last year.

How It Affects The Seahawks: The 49ers had one of the NFL's best offensive lines not long ago, but it's one that's looking for reinforcements after retirements and free agency took key pieces away. Trading back into the first round for Garnett suggests the Niners see the Stanford product and Puyallup, Wash. native as someone who can help the club for years to come. He provides a physical presence up front and one the 49ers brass sees as "the best run-blocking lineman in this draft."


Arizona Cardinals

The Pick: No. 29 overall

The Player: DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi, 6-foot-3, 294 pounds

What He's Done: His tackle totals were low and he recorded just 6.5 sacks over three years at Ole Miss, but he was once considered the nation's top-rated college prospect and was seen as a top-10 or even top-five talent in this year's draft class who has what it takes to make an instant impact in the NFL.

How It Affects The Seahawks: "He's a nightmare for a guard or center. And he can work a tackle off the edge. I like our group of pass rushers right now tremendously." Those were the words of Arizona head coach Bruce Arians on his team's first-round pick. The defending NFC-West champion Cardinals have made a commitment to upgrading their pass rush this offseason, adding defensive end Chandler Jones through a trade with the New England Patriots and now adding Nkemdiche in the draft. Expect those two new faces to factor into the Seahawks' game plan as the team lines up against Arizona twice this season.

Take a look behind the scenes of the 2016 Seahawks Draft Room where Pete Carroll, John Schneider's team of player personnel experts are shaping the future of the club.

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