The most impactful non-first round rookies for every team in the NFC West

Cameron Latu (Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports)
Cameron Latu (Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports) /

The 2023 NFL Draft brought in a slew of non-first round rookies who could make an immediate impact. Who in the NFC West would this be?

In the NFC West, there are several rookies who are poised to make a difference for their respective squads. Here are the most impactful non-first-round rookies for each team in the division.

2023 NFL Draft: Most impactful non-first-round rookies in the NFCW

Arizona Cardinals: Kei’Trel Clark – CB – Louisville

The Arizona Cardinals made a splash in the sixth round of the draft when they selected Kei’Trel Clark, a dynamic cornerback out of Louisville. This was one of the hardest picks to make because I kept going back and forth between Kei’Trel Clark, Michael Wilson, and Garrett Williams, who I believe could all potentially start next season. However, I ultimately chose Kei’Trel Clark because of the injury concerns surrounding both Wilson and Williams.

In my opinion, Clark will start in the slot for the Cardinals from day one and make an immediate Impact. Playing primarily as a slot corner last season, Clark showed out as a run defender possessing excellent tackling and blitzing skills. The former Louisville Cardinal showcases a high football IQ and paired with his elite instincts, seems to always be around the football.

Los Angeles Rams: Steve Avila – G – TCU

The Los Angeles Rams addressed a big need on their offensive line when they selected Steve Avila out of TCU in the second round of the draft. Avila will immediately slide into one of the starting guard positions for the Rams, and if he can say healthy should have a very productive rookie season. Although Avila was a second-round pick, this was still the Ram’s first pick in the draft which is further evidence that Avila will almost certainly start day one next season.

The former horned frog has been one of the best offensive linemen in CFB over the past few seasons, earning All-American recognition in consecutive years (2021, 2022). Avila is a versatile lineman that can play anywhere on the interior, but his ceiling is most likely at guard. He possesses high-level strength and leverage, which he utilizes to be an outstanding pass-and-run blocker.

San Francisco 49ers: Cameron Latu – TE – Alabama

With their third pick in the third round of the NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers added an intriguing new player to their already potent offence, in Cameron Latu out of Alabama. The 49ers use two tight end sets on about 22% of their offensive plays, which is top-three in the NFL. Additionally, last season when the 49ers used two tight ends, they ended up running 73% of the time.

Cameron Latu is a versatile tight end who mostly lined up in-line last season for Alabama, but would also sometimes line up in the slot or outside as a receiver. The former Alabama standout is a reliable and consistent blocker who also possesses a very high football IQ.

Latu will slide right into the 49ers TE2 spot next season where he will backup George Kittle. Although this isn’t the most sexy pick and Latu may not put up a ton of stats next season. His blocking and value to the 49ers team will be undeniable by the end of the season.

Seattle Seahawks: Derick Hall – EDGE – Auburn

The Seattle Seahawks added another weapon to their defence in the second round of the draft when they selected Derick Hall out of Auburn University in the NFL Draft. Hall is one of the more underrated and complete defensive prospects in this entire draft class.

He is an explosive pass rusher with a strong build and long arms. He is also a strong run defender who is great at setting an edge and containing the rush. In his last three seasons at Auburn, Hall totalled 133 tackles, 19.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss while starting in 33 games.

The former Auburn Tiger could seriously challenge for a starting spot in his first season with the Seahawks. In fact, according to reports, Hall was the only player left at pick #37 that the Seahawks had a first-round grade on. If I had to choose a second player for the Seahawks it would be nose-tackle Cameron Young out of Mississippi State, because NT is a position of need for the Seahawks and I believe he will contribute from day one.