NFC West check-in: Most, least improved position groups post-draft (Cardinals)

The 2024 NFL Draft (Cardinals) is in the books, meaning teams have mostly completed their most significant roster moves for the season. With that in mind, here’s a look at the most and least upgraded position groups for each NFC West team.

NFC West check-in: Most, least improved position groups post-draft (Cardinals)
NFC West check-in: Most, least improved position groups post-draft (Cardinals)

Arizona Cardinals

Most improved position group: Defensive line

It’s tempting to put wide receiver as the most improved position given the selection of Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 4 overall pick, but the Cardinals have poured resources into one of their other major needs: defensive line.

Before the draft, the Cardinals signed free agents Justin Jones and Bilal Nichols — both tackles — and used the second of their two first-round picks (No. 27 overall) on one of draft’s top defensive lineman, Missouri end Darius Robinson.

In 2023, the Cardinals had the NFL’s worst run defense (143.2 YPG) and only 33 sacks. The additions can only help.

Least improved position group: Quarterback 

The Cardinals stuck with Kyler Murray as their franchise quarterback, with former Falcons starter Desmond Ridder and Clayton Tune serving as backups. Neither will push Murray as starter or excite a fan base.

Murray returned from a torn ACL about midway through the 2023 season and produced mixed results. His 89.3 passer rating ranked 20th in the NFL, sandwiched between Joe Flacco and Tommy DeVito.

The Cardinals are paying Murray superstar money, but he hasn’t produced superstar results.

Los Angeles Rams

Most improved position group: Secondary

The Rams returned to the playoffs in 2023 thanks in large part to the return of a healthy QB Matthew Stafford and emergence of rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua.

For all of the Rams’ improvements, however, they still had a weak secondary, where they have struggled to replace former Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was traded in 2023 to Miami. In 2023, the Rams allowed 231.1 passing yards per game, 20th in the NFL.

Los Angeles has spent significant resources to fix the secondary, adding ex-Jaguars CB Darious Williams and ex-Bills CB Tre’Davious White. Both players should start and bring needed consistency to the position.

White is the signing that really stands out because when he is healthy, he is one of the NFL’s best corners. However, because of injuries, he has only played 21 games over the past three seasons and only 10 over the past two.

Least improved position group: Wide receiver

Nacua looks like an emerging star, but the Rams could use more depth at the position. Cooper Kupp, 30, is still a big name, but his production has dropped dramatically over the past two seasons as age and injuries have started to catch up to him. His 4.9 catches per game and 61.4 yards receiving per game in 2023 were his worst marks since his rookie season in 2017.

The Rams didn’t make any major signings at the position in free agency and did not draft a receiver until Texas’ Jordan Whittington in the sixth round, so there’s a significant drop in talent after Kupp and Nacua.

San Francisco 49ers

Most improved position group: Defensive line

What used to be a major strength turned into a surprising weakness in 2023. The 49ers made sure that is not going to happen again by revamping the defensive line with the additions of Leonard Floyd, Maliek Collins, Yetur Gross-Matos and Jordan Elliott.

Floyd and Gross-Matos should take advantage of having Nick Bosa occupying blockers on the other side of the line and thus give the 49ers a more consistent pass rush.

Elliott’s addition is significant because he was one of the best run-stoppers in the league last season with the Cleveland Browns.

Least improved position group: Offensive line

The 49ers have short- and long-term questions on the O-line.

Star left tackle Trent Williams is 35 and has no heir apparent ready to take over behind him. The right side of the line needed upgrades in the short term, but the 49ers didn’t address the issue in free agency. They did, however, select guards Dominick Puni in the third round and Jarrett Kingston in the sixth round in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Seattle Seahawks

Most improved position group: Defensive line

The defense had major problems stopping the run in 2023, allowing 138.4 yards per game, the second-worst mark in the league (ahead of only the Cardinals). Re-signing end Leonard Williams is significant and bringing in veteran tackle Johnathan Hankins helps give them a deeper rotation in the middle.

The most impactful move, however, was using a first-round pick to select one of the best interior defensive linemen in the draft in Texas’ Byron Murphy II. The run of offensive players early in the draft pushed many top defensive players down the board and helped Seattle get a potential steal with the No. 16 overall pick.

Least improved position group: Interior offensive line

The interior of the offensive line has been a big weakness for a few seasons and led to poor pass protection. Seattle made two depth signings in free agency (center Nick Harris, guard Tremayne Anchrum Jr.), but there is no one on the line who projects as a major difference-maker.

The lack of a second-round pick and selection of Murphy II in the first round meant Seattle could not address the O-line until it selected Connecticut guard Christian Haynes in the third round.

You may also like!

Related Posts

Anаlyst: How Byron Murрһy сould һelр Seаһаwks’ fіnаnсіаl future

Tһe Seаttle Seаһаwks fіnd tһemselves іn а рeсulіаr sіtuаtіon wіtһ tһree montһs to go untіl рreseаson gаmes get underwаy. How Seаttle Seаһаwks mаde ‘smаrt deсіsіons’ іn NFL…

Bronсos’ Seаn Pаyton Mаkes Bold Predісtіon About NFL Rule Cһаnge

Tһere wіll be а lot of new fасes аnd tһіngs аround tһe Denver Bronсos аnd Heаd Coасһ Seаn Pаyton tһіs seаson, аnd tһe NFL іs undergoіng а…

Gіаnts’ Brіаn Dаboll sаys һe һаs ‘сonfіdenсe’ іn Cor’Dаle Flott

Tһere іs аn oрenіng іn tһe Gіаnts’ stаrtіng lіneuр аs а рerіmeter сornerbасk to рlаy асross from Deonte Bаnks аnd іt sounds аs іf tһere іs а…

NFL Wrіter Mаkes Inсredіbly Bold Suрer Bowl Predісtіon

Could tһe New York Jets аnd Detroіt Lіons end uр meetіng іn wһаt would be а very іntrіguіng Suрer Bowl next Februаry? Bleасһer Reрort’s Gаry Dаvenрort tһіnks…

Wһy Mаzі Smіtһ’s weіgһt іs so іmрortаnt for tһe Cowboys suссess

Mаzі Smіtһ һаd а seаson to forget іn 2023. Wіtһ only 304 defensіve snарs on tһe yeаr, tһe Cowboys fіrst round рісk struggled to get on tһe…

Could Baltimore Ravens Sign Pro Bowl Safety To Bolster Defense?