Agreed. Bulger isn't going to create on his own, but he plays within the system well. He's similar to Hasselbeck in that respect, but more consistent. Alex Smith and Leinart are still undeveloped.
Originally Posted by AvengerRam
I agree again. These are two truly great running backs right here. I'd say Gore has the better vision, and is a better pure runner, but lacks the speed Jackson brings to the table.
RB: (tie) Steven Jackson, Rams; Frank Gore, Niners
I don’t typically like to give ties, but here there’s little choice. Both Jackson and Gore had phenomenal years. If healthy, Shaun Alexander could make it a three way tie. Edgerrin James has lost a step.
Up and coming: Brian Leonard, Rams
I disagree that even a healthy Alexander rival's these two though. He's physically, not on the level of these two smashmouth thoroughbreds that are more complete backs than Alexander ever was anyway.
Nice to see Norris get some love. Strong has had the better career, but IMO Norris is currently the best power running full-back in the league, bar none. He looked like Fred Beasley II last year.
FB: Mack Strong, Seahawks
Still one of the league’s best lead blockers, even at age 35.
Up and coming: Moran Norris, Niners
I'd definately put Boldin at #1. His amazingly rugged RAC ability puts him ahead by a large margin. Fitzgerald's leaping ability are unable to resist at #2. Branch and Holt are comparable in their ability at thise juncture in their career's.
WR: Torry Holt, Rams; Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
The Rams and Cardinals are very strong at the WR spot, while the Niners and Seahawks are lagging behind. Drew Bennett gives the Rams one of the top #3 WRs in football.
Up and coming: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
I'm reserving my judgement on McMichael for now. Not sure how the supplement of a TE in the Rams scheme will work.
TE: Randy McMichael, Rams
Not a particularly strong position in the Division. McMichael has been very productive in past years, and did well under Linehan in Miami.
Up and coming: Vernon Davis, Niners
Vernon Davis is unproven yes, but the talent was all there last season. He's the hardest TE in the league to tackle. And actually was a very solid blocking TE too, a knock on him coming out.
I'm a person who believes Jones has slipped a bit. He had mental lapses at key times last year. Pace should be #1 if he's completely healthy. Brown is unproven. Jonas Jennings is the most consistent of the three when he plays-- but the problem with him is constant injuries.
OT: Walter Jones, Seahawks; Orlando Pace, Rams
Jones had a down year, and Pace suffered an injury, but these two veterans are still the cream of the crop.
Up and coming: Levi Brown, Cardinals
No argument there. Allen isn't as mobile as he used to be but he's still one of the most devastating blockers in history when he has his hands on you. If Seattle had been able to swipe Dielman away from San Diego then we may have had a discussion.
OG: Larry Allen, Niners; Chris Gray, Seahawks
These vets probably won’t be on this list next year, but they haven’t quite been knocked off the top yet.
Up and coming: Richie Incognito, Rams
Heitmann had a phenomenal year last year, and was the most conistent C in the division, certainly #1 with the departure of Tobeck. I don't expect the broken leg to be a big problem for him to come back from.
C: Chris Spencer, Seahawks
Almost a default choice, as none of the teams in the Division had stability at this position last year.
Up and coming: Brett Romberg, Rams
Agreed. Young isn't really playing the same position as Little but I think Little is a little(no pun intended lol) better at what he is expected to do than BY is at this point. Kerney and Berry aren't as disruptive as Little.
DE: Leonard Little, Rams; Bryant Young, Niners
Little by far the best DE in the Division. Young still has some life left. Newcomers Patrick Kerney and James Hall could factor in this equation, as could a healthy Bert Berry.
Up and coming: Darryl Tapp, Seahawks
I would actually put BY into this catergory being a 3-4 DE. I'd put Dockett behind him.
DT: Darnell Dockett, Cardinals; Rocky Bernard, Seahawks
Neither had a great year in 2006, but both have been fairly consistent performers. Still, with the run defenses in this Division, this is hardly a strength position.
Up and coming: Adam Carriker, Rams
Agreed, Willis will play inside in the ***** 3-4 BTW.
OLB: Julian Peterson, Seahawks; Karlos Dansby, Cardinals
Peterson was one of the best FA acquisitions in 2006. Dansby is on the verge of being a Pro Bowl player.
Up and coming: Patrick Willis, Niners
Big disagreement here. Brandon Moore is far and away the best ILB/MLB in the division. He's a dominant force against the run with his great size and strength, and is a big hitter for a LB. Couple that with the fact of his versatility and Joey porter-esque pass rushing skills and I would only put Urlacher ahead of him in the entire NFC conference. Tatupu and Witherspoon are good in their own right, but Moore outclasses them both. Willis could be in this area of discussion by season's end.
MLB: (tie) Lofa Tatupu, Seahawks; Will Witherspoon, Rams
Another tie. Once again, I just couldn’t separate the two. I will say, however, that I think Witherspoon has the higher ceiling.
Up and coming: Gerald Hayes, Cardinals
No argument here. Shawntae Spencer as the #3 CB for the Niners would be fourth after Trufant IMO. lol
CB: Nate Clements, Niners; Walt Harris, Niners
With their free agent prize, the Niners have the top pair of CBs in the Division. Marcus Trufant is close, but did not perform up to par last year.
Up and coming: Tye Hill, Rams
Agreed. Wilson is a more vicious hitter and better in coverage than Lewis is. Both physical players and good tacklers overall though.
SS: Adrian Wilson, Cardinals
May be the top player at his position in the entire league. Certainly the best DB blitzer.
Up and coming: Michael Lewis, Niners
Agreed. Grant's coverage skills/somewhat physical style are what seattle was missing between Babineaux/Boulware last year. Wouldn't be surprised if the new Seattle safety still gets run over by Gore and Steven Jackson though.
FS: Deon Grant, Seahawks
Veteran had some good years in Carolina and Jacksonville, and was brought in to solidify Seattle’s DB.
Up and coming: O.J. Atogwe, Rams
I prefer Brown. His leg may not be as big but I'll take the clutch leg over the powerful one any day.
K.: Jeff Wilkins, Rams
Seattle’s Josh Brown had some clutch kicks (as the Rams know too well), and Neil Rackers and Joe Nedny had great years, but Wilkins (32/37 FGs, 35/35 PATs, 131 points) is just money.
Yep. Andy Lee would probably be my #2 choice though.
P: Ryan Plackemeier, Seahawks
Rookie had the best gross and net average in the Division.
I'd take Burleson (does he return kicks too?) over Hicks if that's the case.
KR: Maurice Hicks, Niners
Earned his keep as Gore’s backup and on special teams.
I think Dante Hall still has the explosive legs left. Burleson is #2.
PR: Dante Hall, Rams
His performance slipped in recent years in KC, but he’s still a guy that opposing teams kick away from.