2024 NFL Draft Review: 4 rookies to keep your eye on in the NFC West

These 4 rookies are in the spotlight in the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals edge Darius Robinson
Arizona Cardinals edge Darius Robinson / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The NFC West won’t be the San Francisco 49ers and then everyone else in 2024.  While the Arizona Cardinals still have a way to go, their 2024 NFL Draft was a strong one and the team should see some improvement.  The Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams should challenge for the division as both teams have strengthen themselves through the draft.

Gone is the dominance of Aaron Donald on the defensive side of the ball with the Rams, but there are some tremendous players joining the NFC West. 

Big questions in the NFC West following the 2024 NFL Draft

Did the Rams find their Donald replacement in the combination of two players selected on Day 1 and Day 2? 

Who else selected in the 2024 NFL Draft other than Marvin Harrison Jr. can come in and make an immediate impact for the Cardinals?

Did the 49ers add another exciting playmaker to the mix?

Did the Seahawks get stronger in the trenches on both sides of the ball?

The answers to those questions could be within these four rookies in the NFC West as NFL Mocks looks at each team’s draft pick to keep an eye on in 2024.

Arizona Cardinals– EDGE Darius Robinson (Round 1– Selection No. 27)

All eyes will obviously be on Harrison Jr in 2024, but the Cardinals other first-round pick is a player to keep an eye on the defensive side of the ball.  With Arizona needing an upgrade in their pass rush, the team selected Darius Robinson with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The former Missouri star, who moved to EDGE his final season with the Tigers, racked up 8.5 sacks and 43 total tackles during his final season, earning him a First-team All-SEC nod.  Along with his strength and size, Robinson brings extreme power to the Cardinals defense.  With a motor and upper body strength that gets him past offensive lineman and to the QB, this Cardinals rookie is primed to add some sizzle to the Cardinals defensive front and wreak a little havoc on opposing NFC West offense lines.

Los Angeles Rams– RB Blake Corum (Round 3– Selection No. 83)

The Rams top two picks of the 2024 NFL Draft was on the defensive side of the ball as they selected the Florida State duo Jared Verse and Braden Fiske.  With Aaron Donald hanging up the cleats, all eyes will be on those players to help fill the void.  But that is expected.  A player to really keep an eye on in the NFC West is running back Blake Corum, selected with the No. 83 pic in the draft.

Will Blake Corum be a factor in the NFC West in 2024?
Los Angeles Rams RB Blake Corum / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

In helping the Michigan Wolverines win a national championship, Corum stood out during his final season in Ann Arbor in both offensive production and leadership.  Drafted to back up Kyren Williams, this Rams rookie will complement Williams with his north-south running style and ability evade defenses with his ability to slip through holes and find additional yardage.

Corum can also catch the ball out of the backfield which can make him an effective third-down back for the Rams in 2024.  This dual-threat ability will not only earn him more snaps but make him a viable weapon for Matthew Stafford as the Rams look to compete in the NFC West.

San Francisco 49ers– WR Ricky Pearsall (Round 1– Selection No. 31)

Okay, the 49ers may have reached a little bit by drafting Ricky Pearsall with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  Projected as a top 10 wide receiver prospect entering the draft, the former Florida Gators star was slotted as a Day 2 pick.  Whether he would’ve lasted until the late second round is the question and probably the reason the 49ers pounced on him when they did.

Speaking of slot, Pearsall is an outstanding playmaker who can fit that role in the 49ers’ offense.  In leading Florida with 65 receptions for 965 yards, Pearsall is not only crafty with his route-running but is a reliable target who will make tough catches. 

With the future up in the air when it comes to both Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, the selection of Pearsall could serve as insurance if either of those two players are traded.  In the meantime, he can learn in the offense with those players as Kyle Shanahan will find a way to put him in the best position to make an impact in the 49ers’ offense.

Seattle Seahawks– G Christian Hayes (Round 3– Selection No. 81)

This may not be an exciting choice for the Seahawks, but an important one.  Selected with the No. 81 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, offensive guard Christian Hayes will be a rookie to watch in the NFL West.

Christian Haynes
Seattle Seahawks Rookie Minicamp / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Although the Seahawks missed out on the top offensive guard prospect at No. 16, they may have found a steal in Hayes, who should come in and be the starter at right guard.  At 6-foot-2, 318 pounds, Hayes has the size and power to be a solid starter in the NFL.  A good pass protector, he’ll help stabilize the offensive line in front of Geo Smith and should help in the run game as well. 

Why did he last till the third round?

Well, he played at UConn and didn’t get much national attention, but his power and foot quickness should translate well to the NFL as it looks like the Seahawks found a gem later in the draft than expected.