The Forgotten Teams of the NFC West—Draft Preview:

St+Louis+Rams+v+Arizona+Cardinals+LdYbngOt72rlEveryone who watches football knows about the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.  What do you expect when these teams have taken the division crown for the last three years? The Niners and Seahawks are clearly on the rise, but how do the other teams—the forgotten ones—plan to make their way back to relevancy and reclaim the division title?  If you watch the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals last season, you know there is much work to do.  Fortunately, for the Rams I don’t think they are far off, while the Cardinals have to put in serious work to get back to the Kurt Warner glory days of the past.

Lets start with the Cardinals.  Last year with a new quarterback in Kevin Kolb and high hopes, the Cardinals managed to start the season off 4-0.  They even beat a super bowl contender early on in the New England Patriots.  Sounds great, right?? Well, not really.  The Cardinals finished the season loosing 11 out of their last 12 games.  So what do the Cardinals need to do make sure they don’t have another dismal season like last year?  For starters, they need a quarterback.  Kevin Kolb and the multiple backups that took his place after injury last season are clearly not the answer.

The Cardinals need a franchise quarterback–someone that can win games for this team for the next 5-10 years.  This years draft picks are not ripe with quarterbacks, so I don’t suggest they break the bank in finding a quarterback there.  Chances are they will have better luck finding a veteran quarterback in free agency that can carry them through a few rebuilding seasons.

Most importantly however, the Cardinals need to focus their draft picks on the offensive line.  Watching the Cardinals last season, it was clear that they couldn’t keep other teams away from their quarterbacks.  In fact, they were one of the most sacked teams in all of football last year—that’s why none of their quarterbacks could stay healthy.  The offensive line is the foundation of any good offense.  Without it, quarterbacks cant see the field or get into a rhythm, and thus, the whole offense stalls.  The Cardinals need to address their offensive line struggles and make this their top priority in this year’s draft.

As for the Rams, its simple, get more playmakers around Sam Bradford.  Branford is a stud, and he will continue to get better under the helm of Jeff Fisher.  This offseason, the Rams got rid of two key playmakers in Danny Amedola and Steven Jackson.  If Rams want Branford to succeed they need to surround him with talent. If they do this, I expect to see a break out season for the Rams.  In my humble opinion, the Rams were a few playmakers away from being a winning team in 2012—lets see what they can do with more talent in 2013.

What do you guys think? Where do you see these teams headed in 2013? Who should they get in the draft? I’d love to hear your comments.  Until, next time follow me on Twitter @JCConway1.

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