NFL Draft grades 2013: Rams start strong; Cardinals, 49ers make shrewd moves

Justin K. Aller

The teams of the NFC West acquitted themselves well in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.

The St. Louis Rams may have been the big winners in the NFC West on the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft, as they were able to address concerns on both sides of the ball. Arizona's rebuilding effort begins up front, where the Cardinals took a step toward solving their problem at offensive guard. And San Francisco added another piece to its outstanding defense.

Below, we'll look at some of the grades given to each of these picks by draft experts.

Arizona Cardinals, No. 7 overall: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

Rob Rang, CBS Sports: B
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: B
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated: B+

The Cardinals wanted to address their offensive line in the draft, and they did just that by going with Cooper in the first round. Arizona struggled considerably to move the football in 2012, and a weakness at guard was one reason why. Cooper might be the best player at his position in the draft, and while the Cardinals could have addressed needs at linebacker or along the defensive line, the staff of SB Nation's Revenge of the Birds is pleased with the choice made by the franchise in this spot.

St. Louis Rams, No. 8 overall: WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

Rang: B+
Prisco: B
Burke: A-

The Rams lost receiver Danny Amendola and running back Steven Jackson during the offseason, but even with those guys in the fold, the offense needed a jolt. St. Louis finished last season ranked 23rd in total offense and 25th in scoring. So the organization acted aggressively to move up in the draft and grab Austin, who has big-time speed and should provide the team with some big plays in the years to come. The addition of Austin could make the Rams' offense considerably more dangerous in 2013:

Think about what the Rams can do on offense now. They have a speedy guy to stretch the field in Chris Givens. Jared Cook is a versatile tight end that can stretch the field as well, down the middle. Add Austin's versatility into the mix, and suddenly there's a dynamism we haven't seen here since the GSOT days.

Sam Bradford is pretty excited about it.

San Francisco 49ers, No. 18 overall: S Eric Reid, LSU

Rang: A-
Prisco: B
Burke: B+

After Dashon Goldson signed with Tampa Bay, the 49ers had a need in the secondary. Like St. Louis, San Francisco traded up to get a guy they coveted. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has long been familiar with Reid, as he tried to recruit him to Stanford out of high school. Reid might be a better prospect at the strong safety position, but he appears capable of handling the free safety spot as well. He'll get his chance to win a starting spot with the Niners once training camp rolls around.

St. Louis Rams, No. 30 overall: LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

Rang: B-
Prisco: B-
Burke: B+

After adding a major piece to their offense earlier in the round, the Rams chose to strengthen their defense by taking the versatile Alec Ogletree, who began his college career as a safety. His speed and experience there will help the Rams in coverage situations, and he'll be a useful addition to combat the likes of Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson within the division. Ogletree has had his share of off-field issues -- he was arrested in 2010 for theft and arrested for DUI shortly before the 2013 NFL Combine -- but St. Louis liked his skills too much to let that deter them.

More from SB Nation:

NFL mock draft: Who goes in the second round?

Geno Smith's nightmare becomes reality

NFL draft results: First-round picks and analysis

The Drafty Hour: First-round reactions

NFL draft grades: Reviewing the first round

Recapping the NFL Draft's Day 1 trades

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