This division took a lot of flack for putting a 7-9 team in the playoffs last year as their division champion, but the emergence of the San Francisco 49ers in the new Jim Harbaugh era has almost assured the fact that something like that will never happen with this division ever again. It is now up to the rest of the teams in the division to step it up and provide the 49ers with some competition.
Seattle Seahawks–First and foremost, this team needs a quarterback. They will continue to go nowhere with Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst at the helm. They will either pick 11 or 12 in the draft based upon a coin flip that will be held later, and there will not be a viable quarterback option to draft at that time. Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M is the 3rd rated quarterback in the upcoming draft according to Scouts Inc., but it would be asinine to draft him that high (Scouts Inc). Marcus Trufant was only able to play in four games this past season, and if he cannot stay healthy, they need to look at getting a new cornerback to replace him. The emergence of Brandon Browner has been crucial, but they need more than one cornerback to be successful. They also need to acquire another defensive end who can help Chris Clemons out as a pass rusher, who led the team with 11 sacks (espn.com stats).
St. Louis Rams–They need to get Sam Bradford a true number one receiver, and if this franchise does not draft Justin Blackmon with the second overall pick, then I think the owner should fire the brand new staff that was just put in place. This is as much of a slam dunk pick as you will get in the NFL draft. With a passing offense that ranked 30th in the NFL, Blackmon is exactly what the Rams need to get their offense back on track (espn.com stats). With the 31st ranked run defense, and an up and coming defensive line, the Rams need two outside linebackers badly (espn.com stats). Their pass defense was ranked high enough that it isn’t a necessity for them to address it during the draft, but it wouldn’t be shocking if they decided to do so. The Rams are a team with a great deal of potential, but they will go only as far as Sam Bradford’s health will take them.
Arizona Cardinals–In my opinion they gave up entirely too much for an unproven quarterback in Kevin Kolb, but unfortunately for them they are going to be stuck with him now. The Cardinals are in dire need of an offensive tackle to protect their quarterback, since they gave up 54 sacks this season (espn.com stats). To add to their problems, they have an old linebacking core, which led to them being ranked 21st against the run (espn.com stats). If they add a new outside linebacker and a new middle linebacker into the mix, it will help out Derrick Dockery and the rest of their defensive line in the run game.
San Francisco 49ers–Jim Harbaugh did absolute work turning this team around, and even with Alex Smith taking the snaps. They have a young quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, waiting in the wings, and he will be their eventual starter, leaving this offense in good hands for the future. As they will have a very late first round pick, I would expect them to draft a second wide receiver to help give Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis more support in the passing game. With the #1 ranked run defense, and the 16th ranked pass defense, I would look for them to address the secondary, where they need a second cornerback and a free safety (espn.com stats). The 49ers are a team that can draft almost anyone they want. They have arisen as a dominant team, and I would expect them to keep being dominant so long as they are healthy.