The NFC West got better last weekend… a lot better.
While the Rams should relish their repeat, the Cardinals and 49ers picking atop every round was a constant reminder that there are three improving teams gunning for L.A.
Including Seattle, divisions rivals made six picks before the Rams made their first; 10 total selections before the Rams took running back Darrell Henderson with their second choice. Arizona brought in a franchise-record 11 draft picks over the weekend.
Even if their success rate proves to be lower than L.A.'s, it would be naïve to ignore the competition's additional "shots at the basket," to borrow Les Snead's new pet phrase.
Here are some other reactions to the what the NFC West competition did last week.
Check out the guys who make up the 2019 Los Angeles Rams draft class!
Keeping up with the Ramses
Of Arizona's 11 picks, the Cardinals took seven offensive players, and five at the skill positions. Makes sense, having finished dead last in scoring.
The 49ers took receivers in the second and third rounds, after acquiring defensive end Nick Bosa in the first to pair with Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner.
The Seahawks went defense with their first two selections, but ultimately took three receivers and a tailback, as well.
You get the sense that the West feels the pressure of the Rams not only running away with the division, but leading the NFC in scoring in back-to-back campaigns. All three opponents invested heavily in keeping pace with the Rams on the scoreboard.
Goodbye, Doug Baldwin?
In drafting D.K. Metcalf and Gary Jennings, the Seahawks seemed to be hedging against the potential retirement of Pro Bowl receiver Doug Baldwin.
Historically, the Rams have defended Baldwin better than any other defense in the West. However, he'll always have my respect as one of the most dynamic and cerebral competitors in the division. It will be a shame if we don't get to see him twice per season moving forward.
Not As Sad to See Rosen Go
I really thought Josh Rosen was ready to take the same second-year leap that Jared Goff made in 2017 and Mitchell Trubisky took in 2018 with the Bears.
He still might; it just won't be with Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals.
Kyler Murray may make me eat these words down the road, but for now, it feels like the Rams caught a break.
If nothing else, Arizona strangely failed to maximize Rosen's trade value.
December Dessert Duel
When Murray officially became the top pick, I was reminded of yet another perk of the 2019 schedule: The Rams don't face the Cardinals until December.
Admittedly, I wanted L.A. to play Arizona in a Monday Night Football opener.
First-time NFL head coach, rookie quarterback making NFL debut? Allow me to introduce you to Aaron Donald.
That didn't happen, but the upshot is that Kingsbury and Murray will be a known commodity come Week 13. The Rams defensive staff will sleep better having watched nearly a full season of film on the revamped Cardinals, as opposed to the guesswork that a MNF opener would have entailed.
Punters Can Be Draft Picks, Too
From covering the Pac-12, I sure do love me some Mitch Wishnowsky.
But 110th overall, San Francisco?
Johnny Hekker probably deserves a commission from the signing bonuses of Wishnowsky and Seattle punter Michael Dickson, who went 149th to the Seahawks last April (and was First Team All-Pro as a rookie).
Surely, the constant exposure to Hekker's game-changing ability over the years made division rivals more willing to invest draft capital in that position?