2011 NFL Draft First Round Review: NFC West


Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU (5th overall)

Peterson is the top overall player in the draft on my board, so this was a great value pick at 5 overall even. He can immediatley upgrade their defensive backfield and return game, and is one of the top overall playmakers in the entire draft. I really like this pick for the Cardinals. He’s not going to get them sacks or keep Fitzgerald happy (not a quarterback) but he is going to be another dimension to a team that needs as much talent as it can get.

San Francisco 49ers: Aldon Smith, LB/DE, Missouri (7th overall)

This was probably one of the first picks that I thought was kind of a reach in the draft. Smith wasn’t my top rated hybrid linebacker, but he is a good pass rusher with solid character. He’s a young guy who has a lot of room for development, but he will be a solid fit for the Niners, who could have easily taken Blaine Gabbert or Robert Quinn in this spot. Still, Smith is a pass rush specialist who adds to their talented linebacker corps.

St. Louis Rams: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina (14th overall)

I thought this was a great pick for Steve Spagnuolo’s unit defensively. Quinn has the potential to be the best overall pass rusher in the entire draft, and the fact that he drops this far is really a testament more to the run on QB’s than anything else. The Rams are getting a fantastic athlete with a ton of upside, and a guy who will pair perfectly with Chris long as the weak-side defensive end.

Seattle Seahawks: James Carpenter, OL, Alabama (25th overall)

This was an odd pick here, but a solid one. Carpenter will probably start for the Seahawks at either guard or right tackle, and he is a guy who really came on with his performance at the Senior Bowl. He vaulted his name into first round consideration, and was one who really benefitted from the run on tackles in the first round this year, and offensive linemen in general. I didn’t think this pick was great value, but we will see. If he turns out to be a good starter for a long time, the spot he was drafted will not matter.