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  1. #1
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    Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    With the main FA rush and the draft done, its time for my annual Preseason All-NFC West Team. As always, rookies are not eligible for the starting team, but can get a mention as "up and coming" players on offense and defense.

    So, without further adieu... here's the list:

    QB: Marc Bulger, Rams
    This one was easy. Bulger has pulled ahead of Matt Hasselbeck, while Alex Smith and Matt Leinart are both still in the developmental stage.
    Up and coming: Matt Leinart, Cardinals

    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

    FB: Mack Strong, Seahawks
    Still one of the league’s best lead blockers, even at age 35.
    Up and coming: Moran Norris, Niners

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    P: Ryan Plackemeier, Seahawks
    Rookie had the best gross and net average in the Division.

    KR: Maurice Hicks, Niners
    Earned his keep as Gore’s backup and on special teams.

    PR: Dante Hall, Rams
    His performance slipped in recent years in KC, but he’s still a guy that opposing teams kick away from.

    And, of course, the all important tally...

    Rams: 9
    Seahawks: 9
    Niners: 6
    Cardinals: 4





  2. #2
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Nice list/team. The only thing that really stuck out to me was listing Larry Fitzgerald as Up & Coming, I see you don't like ties and of course Holt is the number one WR, I just see Fitz right there with Boldin, like Boldin is 2 and Fitz is 2A or even vice versa, especially when comparing Fitz to all of your other "Up and Coming" players, but what can ya do. Nice job on the list, Fitz was the only thing that really popped out at me.
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  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    No doubt, its a toss-up. Boldin had a better year in 2006, but Fitzgerald may have the bigger upside.

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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Excellent list AV. I seen what you were doing here and before looking at your list comprised my own. (except OL positions, which I just don't know enough of the other teams)

    The only difference I had was, Jackson as the number one, Gore I would, not put there yet as he's only had the one season. I also think his cockiness will hit him like a brick wall named 'Adam Carriaker" this year .

    Also I agree with ramsbruce that Fitz, is = with Boldin. minus his short inj last year.

    The only big difference, and thing that I don't agree with on your list is Tatupu being tied with Whitherspoon. I don't think Whitherspoon is as good as Tatupu. He is maybe top 5 in that position in the league, Will... not so much.

    But overall, excellent list, I'd say your on the money! Now, go get yourself a job on the Rams player personal squad and start picking these players up for us

  5. #5
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Frankly, I think Tatupu is a bit overrated. He has been productive, but he misses quite a few tackles.

    Looking at their numbers from last year, though, you really can't separate him from Witherspoon:

    Tackles/Sacks/Interceptions/Passes Defended/Forced Fumbles/Fumble Recoveries

    Tatupu:
    122/1.5/1/6/2/1

    Witherspoon:
    113/3.0/0/8/3/1

  6. #6
    The Shredder Guest

    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Josh Brown is a better kicker than Wilkins. I like Wilkins and all, he's done great for my fantasy teams in the past, but Brown is a better kicker.

    I'd also have to say Vernon Davis is better than McMichael. He would have had a good season last year had he not gotten hurt.

    Other than that the list seems to be solid. That defense as a whole is kinda soft compare to other divisions. Can't really ask for a better offense than that though.
    Last edited by The Shredder; -05-23-2007 at 07:27 PM.

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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    I'd also have to say Vernon Davis is better than McMichael. He would have had a good season last year had he not gotten hurt.
    You have no facts to base your statement on. You don't know if Davis would have had a good season had he not gotten hurt, you are assuming, which doesn't mean anything.

    Come back when the "Av's 2008 Preseason All-NFC West Team" thread is started and then MAYBE we can talk about Davis, or at least wait until Davis has played a full season. Until then, Davis is up and coming at best.
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  8. #8
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    Josh Brown is a better kicker than Wilkins. I like Wilkins and all, he's done great for my fantasy teams in the past, but Brown is a better kicker.
    Based on what?

    Field Goal %:

    2006: Wilkins 86.5%; Brown 80.6%
    Career: Wilkins 82.5%; Brown 79.3%

    Isn't a PK's job to make FGs?

    I'd also have to say Vernon Davis is better than McMichael. He would have had a good season last year had he not gotten hurt.
    That's just plain silly.

    Davis played in 10 games last year. If you take his 2006 stats and project them over 16 games, it would look like this:

    32 receptions
    424 yards
    5 TDs

    McMichael's 2006 stats:

    62 receptions
    640 yards
    3 TDs

    Not to mention that McMichael has had 60+ receptions in 3 years in a row.

    Davis has all the potential in the world, and may very well be the starter before long. But this list is based upon performance, not potential.

  9. #9
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Quote Originally Posted by shredded
    Josh Brown is a better kicker than Wilkins. I like Wilkins and all, he's done great for my fantasy teams in the past, but Brown is a better kicker.
    Okay, here we go...
    Wilkins - FG (0-39 yards) - 18/18 100%
    Brown - FG (0-39 yards) - 15/17 88%

    Wilkins - FG (40+ yards) - 14/19 74% --- 3/3 from 50+
    Brown - FG (40+ yards) - 10/14 71% --- 3/5 from 50+

    Wilkins - total FG% = 86.5% and 0 blocks
    Brown - total FG% = 80.6% and 3 blocks

    Even at his age, Wilkins is the better kicker........NEXT!

    I'd also have to say Vernon Davis is better than McMichael. He would have had a good season last year had he not gotten hurt.
    Fine, let's take the injury out of the equation. He played in 10 games and started 8, so let's just double (being more generous than Avenger's comparison above) all of Davis' stats to see what a full season would have looked like:

    Davis - 40 rec., 530 yards, 6 TDs, 18 FDs
    McMichael - 62 rec., 640 yards, 3 TDs, 35 FDs

    Even without the injury McMichael had the better year. And before relying on your prognostication skills, maybe you can give us something useful like tomorrow's lottery numbers?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  10. #10
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Frankly, I think Tatupu is a bit overrated. He has been productive, but he misses quite a few tackles.

    Looking at their numbers from last year, though, you really can't separate him from Witherspoon:

    Tackles/Sacks/Interceptions/Passes Defended/Forced Fumbles/Fumble Recoveries

    Tatupu:
    122/1.5/1/6/2/1

    Witherspoon:
    113/3.0/0/8/3/1
    I would also add that last season was WW 1st season with a new team, new DC, new HC and new position, period.

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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    I hear that about WW. But the the thing I like about tatupu is his leadership skills. I really like what he brings to the team. He is always able to rally them and bring them up. Thats what I want to see in one of our D players.... which I think we are lacking right now.

  12. #12
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    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
    You see Willis on the outside instead of next to Smith on the inside?

    Also, I think a case could be made for Leroy Hill as an "up-and-comer" on the outside.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  13. #13
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Good list, AV. I only disagree in a couple spots, and most of those are the up and comers.

    Center: Eric Heitmann - the guy really came into his own this year, and was doing a great job prior to breaking his leg in week 15, I think was.

    OLB, up and comer: Patrick Willis will be competing at WILB with Derek Smith instead of playing OLB. I think Leroy Hill and Manny Lawson are good candidates for this honor.

    MLB, up and comer: Brandon Moore would be my up and coming MLB. He started 10 games in 2005, and was 5th on the team in tackles and 2nd in sacks. In 2006, he started 11 games and led the team in both sacks and tackles and had his first DPOW honor as well as a couple other nominations. He can play ILB, OLB, and line up as a pass-rushing DE. He's scheduled to start next year, taking over Smith's SILB spot, and I think alot of people are going to know his name this time next year.

    PR: I give this to Burleson. He had fewer big returns, but despite that he had a higher return average. I think that shows consistency, which is what I'd want in a PR.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Shredder View Post
    I'd also have to say Vernon Davis is better than McMichael. He would have had a good season last year had he not gotten hurt.
    Nah. I'll be the first to tell you how much potential the Duke has, but for now I wouldn't give VD the nod over a proven vet like McMichael. Despite his missing time due to injury, Davis still led the team in dropped passes with 5. Three of his drops were the result him trying to unnecessarily make a highlight reel catch and use only one hand (two of them were in the end zone, another was a deep pass he might've been able to take in), the other two were the result of him turning and trying to head upfield before he had the ball secured. He has all the potential in the world, but he needs to mature and do the little things right if he's going to be a top talent. I'd give this to McMichael easily.

    I didn't buy him as a quarterback. He's just so stiff, especially when he drops back to pass. Really stiff. He reminds me of Kurt Warner.
    -- Kevan Barlow on Adam Sandler's performance in The Longest Yard

  14. #14
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    I might be inclined to agree with you on Heitmann. If he comes back from the injury, he could be on the list next year.

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    Re: Av's 2007 Preseason All-NFC West Team

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    With the main FA rush and the draft done, its time for my annual Preseason All-NFC West Team. As always, rookies are not eligible for the starting team, but can get a mention as "up and coming" players on offense and defense.

    So, without further adieu... here's the list:

    QB: Marc Bulger, Rams
    This one was easy. Bulger has pulled ahead of Matt Hasselbeck, while Alex Smith and Matt Leinart are both still in the developmental stage.
    Up and coming: Matt Leinart, Cardinals
    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.
    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 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.

    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.
    FB: Mack Strong, Seahawks
    Still one of the league’s best lead blockers, even at age 35.
    Up and coming: Moran Norris, Niners
    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.
    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'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.
    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
    I'm reserving my judgement on McMichael for now. Not sure how the supplement of a TE in the Rams scheme will work.

    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.
    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
    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.
    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
    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.
    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
    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.
    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
    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.
    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
    I would actually put BY into this catergory being a 3-4 DE. I'd put Dockett behind him.
    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
    Agreed, Willis will play inside in the ***** 3-4 BTW.
    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
    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.
    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
    No argument here. Shawntae Spencer as the #3 CB for the Niners would be fourth after Trufant IMO. lol
    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. Wilson is a more vicious hitter and better in coverage than Lewis is. Both physical players and good tacklers overall 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
    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.
    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.
    I prefer Brown. His leg may not be as big but I'll take the clutch leg over the powerful one any day.
    P: Ryan Plackemeier, Seahawks
    Rookie had the best gross and net average in the Division.
    Yep. Andy Lee would probably be my #2 choice though.
    KR: Maurice Hicks, Niners
    Earned his keep as Gore’s backup and on special teams.
    I'd take Burleson (does he return kicks too?) over Hicks if that's the case.
    PR: Dante Hall, Rams
    His performance slipped in recent years in KC, but he’s still a guy that opposing teams kick away from.
    I think Dante Hall still has the explosive legs left. Burleson is #2.

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