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NFL Draft

Which NFC West Team Has Best Non-QB Roster?

  • The Draft Network
  • July 7, 2021
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A division representative of two of the last three NFC champions, the NFC West has become one of, if not the most competitive division from top to bottom the NFL has to offer. With elite talent in abundance, including many soon-to-be Canton inductees laced within the division’s franchises, it’s a yearly arms race to the top for that ever-important playoff berth.

In this exercise, the household names in Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, and soon-to-be San Francisco 49ers starter Trey Lance are deemed irrelevant, as we look to identify the best roster the NFC West has to offer, outside of the pocket. 

San Francisco 49ers

When healthy, the 49ers roster stacks up toe-to-toe with any roster the league has to offer. Headlined by a stout front seven littered with All-Pro talent in Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Fred Warner, and Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco is able to pin their ears back week to week, consistently wreaking havoc within any opposing pocket. 

A roster completely ravaged by injury the last couple of seasons, a fully available 49ers roster has no limit on its capabilities. They return every weapon within their arsenal on offense while adding Trey Sermon and Wayne Gallman to a packed running back room, and looked primed to trot out a receiving duo of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk that has rapidly progressed into one of the NFL’s best pass-catching tandems, when healthy. 

Their only hole lies within the secondary, as the loss of Richard Sherman could prove to be massive if Jason Verrett is unable to stay on the football field for a full season—something he’s been unable to accomplish this far in his professional tenure. But, with added talents in Ambry Thomas, Talanoa Hufanga, and Deommodore Lenoir within the third level, there isn’t much to worry about as far as the secondary hampering a potentially dominant unit.  

Oh, did I mention they have George Kittle, too? 

Los Angeles Rams

Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan battling out for a division crown is exactly what the football world needs following a COVID-rattled 2020 season. On paper, not much separates the two California clubs.

Defensively, it’s as good as it gets with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. As good as you think Donald is, I promise you you aren’t giving him enough credit for the job he does on a weekly basis. From closing gaps in the run via his thunderous lower half to taking on double teams and driving them in the backfield on passing downs, there is no real way of stopping the three-time Defensive Player of the Year who’s on the verge of earning his seventh consecutive All-Pro selection. He’s on his way to becoming one of the most dominant forces the game has ever seen along the defensive line—and he just turned 30. 

On the offensive side of the ball, McVay’s chicanery and usage of his dynamic trio of wideouts in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and offseason addition DeSean Jackson will be an All-22 film delight. McVay’s constant progression of his offensive playbook is nearly unstoppable, and with Stafford now in the fold… buckle up.

I’m also ecstatic to study Cam Akers in his second campaign. Following an impressive first season last fall, his progression as both an in-between-the-tackles threat and pass-catching option in the flat provides another dangerous weapon for defenses to gameplan for. 

Arizona Cardinals

Not the team you expected, huh?

Well, it’s put up or shut up time for Kliff Kingsbury as time is running out on his attempt to return the Cardinals back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

The Cardinals roster is awfully enticing as we sit here in early July. Sure, it’s easy to draw attention to the additions of future Hall-of-Famer J.J. Watt or the uber-talented-but-aging A.J. Green, but I ask you to focus on the first-year and second-year talent primed to serve massive roles for Kingsbury’s group.

One of my favorite prospects in the entire draft cycle, Rondale Moore has all the makings of the next lightning-in-a-bottle talent. His ability, when healthy, to take the rock the distance from anywhere on the field could prove to be the steal of the draft if he develops into the player Arizona believes he can be. He’s must-see TV.

Additionally, the duo of first-rounder Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons entrenched within the second level of Vance Joseph’s 3-4 defense provides a gleam of optimism for a defense looking to improve upon an underwhelming 2020. While the loss of veteran anchor Patrick Peterson hurts, the development of Budda Baker, the addition of Malcolm Butler, and the progression of Byron Murphy Jr. could round out a solid group of apex defenders for Joseph’s unit tasked with keeping things in reach for a high-flying Cardinals offense. 

Seattle Seahawks

With Wilson out of the fold, you can begin to trudge through the mud and identify where Seattle must improve if they intend to win another title with Wilson in town. 

There’s D.K. Metcalf, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett, and Bobby Wagner. And by no means is Jamal Adams a name to turn your back to. But other than that, Ben Burr-Kirven, Freddie Swain, and Bryan Mone (among others) just wouldn’t keep me up at night when attempting to game plan against this Seattle roster. The depth is just not there.

And sure, not every team is blessed with big-time names and big-time talent, and I get that rosters have scheme-specific players in place to fit certain roles, but Pete Carroll and John Schneider just haven’t had the resources necessary to add the required talent to keep up with the San Francisco’s and Los Angeles’ of the division. With a league-low three selections in 2020, the Seahawks hope they struck gold in second-round wideout D’Wayne Eskridge, but a turn back of the clock offers a deeper look into the failed cycles of years past.

Improvement in abundance is expected out of Jordyn Brooks, the Seahawks’ first-rounder in 2020, as is the same for 2019 first-rounder L.J. Collier, who’s amassed just three sacks in more than 700 defensive snaps his first two campaigns. The names and lack of production go on and on, as the Seahawks search for any sliver of substance to hang their hat on from Darrell Taylor, Rashaad Penny, Marquise Blair… it’s an empty well of talent looking back at prior classes outside of Metcalf, a 2019 second-rounder.

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