Ranking the NFC West by position

The draft is over, so let’s take stock of the four NFC West teams.

I’ll rank them by position. First place is worth 10 points, second place is worth 6, third place is worth 3 and last place is worth zero. The final score is at the bottom.

QUARTERBACK

1. 49ers: Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels

2. Seahawks: Russell Wilson, Brady Quinn, Josh Portis, Jerrod Johnson

3. Rams: Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, Austin Davis

4. Cardinals: Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley

Why: Kaepernick is the best quarterback in the division and McCoy probably is the best backup.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

1. 49ers: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis

2. Seahawks: Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, Paul McQuistan, Breno Giacomini

3. Rams: Jake Long, Shelley Smith, Scott Wells, Harvey Dahl, Roger Saffold

4. Cardinals: Levi Brown, Jonathan Cooper, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Bobby Massie

Why: The 49ers have one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Seahawks and Rams have pretty good O-lines and very good left tackles – Okung and Long. The Cardinals have a very good left guard – Cooper.

 

RUNNING BACK

1. Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Spencer Ware

2. 49ers: Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore

3. Rams: Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, Zac Stacy, Terrance Gannaway

4. Cardinals: Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington

Why: Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league, and the Seahawks have three good RBs backing him up. The 49ers could overtake the Seahawks RBs one day if Hunter and Lattimore return to full health. The Rams don’t have a proven power runner since Steven Jackson signed with the Falcons, but Daryl Richardson is a good change-of-pace back. The Cardinals drafted former Stanford Cardinal Stepfan Taylor, who could become a good power back in the NFL.

 

WIDE RECEIVER

1. Seahawks: Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Chris Harper

2. Rams: Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, Austin Pettis

3. 49ers: Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Quinton Patton, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins

4. Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Ryan Swope, Andre Roberts, LaRon Byrd

Why: The Seahawks had three good WRs last season – Rice, Tate and Baldwin – and then the Seahawks signed Harvin, who was an MVP candidate before he got injured. The Rams have three WRs who are lightning quick – Austin, Givens and Bailey. The 49ers have one excellent receiver – Crabtree – and two solid receivers – Boldin and Patton – but they don’t complement each other. All three are possession receivers. The Cardinals’ receiving corps is not bad – Fitzgerald still is an elite player, and Floyd and Swope are good complementary players.

 

TIGHT END

1. 49ers: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek, Cameron Morrah

2. Seahawks: Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy, Luke Willson, Sean McGrath

3. Rams: Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, Cory Harkey, Mike McNeill

4. Cardinals: Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray, DC Jefferson

Why: Vernon Davis is one of the best tight ends in football. Zach Miller is a solid tight end, and Jared Cook is fast.

 

BASE FRONT

1. 49ers: Parys Haralson, Justin Smith, Glenn Dorsey, Ray McDonald

2. Seahawks: Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, Red Bryant

3. Cardinals: Sam Acho, Darnell Dockett, Dan Williams, Calais Campbell

4. Rams: Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Chris Long

Why: The 49ers’ base front can stop the run and pressure the quarterback better than the other NFC West base fronts.

 

NICKEL FRONT

1. Seahawks: Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane, Michael Bennett, Bruce Irvin

2. Rams: Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford, Chris Long

3. 49ers: Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ahmad Brooks

4. Cardinals: Sam Acho, Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Alex Okafor

Why: The 49ers’ have the best Nickel front when they’re healthy, but health is an issue this season. Justin Smith is rehabbing a torn elbow ligament and Aldon Smith is rehabbing a torn labrum and Tank Carradine is rehabbing a torn ACL. It is unknown when they will be 100 percent healthy. On the other hand, the players on the Seahawks’ Nickel front are young and healthy and combined for 29.5 sacks last season.

 

LINEBACKERS

1. 49ers: NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks, Corey Lemonier

2. Seahawks: Heath Farwell, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright

3. Rams: Jo-Lonn Dunbar, James Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree

4. Cardinals: Kevin Minter, Daryl Washington, Lorenzo Alexander

Why: The 49ers have the best linebackers in the NFL. The Seahawks have two very good linebackers – Wagner and Wright. The Rams have three solid linebackers.

 

SAFETIES

1. Seahawks: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor

2. 49ers: Eric Reid, Donte Whitner

3. Rams: T.J. McDonald, Darian Stewart

4. Cardinals: Yeremiah Bell, Rashad Johnson

Why: Thomas and Chancellor are the best safety-duo in football. The Rams’ and Cardinals’ safety duos are subpar. The 49ers have a talented duo, but Reid is a rookie and Whitner is a liability in coverage – he gave up four touchdowns in three playoff games.

 

CORNERBACKS

1. Seahawks: Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Antoine Winfield, Tharold Simon

2. Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, Antoine Cason, Tyrann Mathieu, Jerraud Powers

3. Rams: Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins, Brandon McGee, Trumaine Johnson

4. 49ers: Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Nnamdi Asomugha

Why: The Seahawks have the best group of corners in the NFL. Peterson is an ascending player for the Cardinals, and this offseason they added two good corners to complement him – Cason and Mathieu. Jenkins is an improving player for the Rams and Finnegan still is very good. For the 49ers, Rogers does not match up well with quick receivers, Brown does not match up well with tall receivers and Culliver does not match up well with deep threats because he can’t find the ball when it’s in the air.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Rams: Greg Zuerlein, Johnny Hekker, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens

2. Seahawks: Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Percy Harvin, Christine Michael

3. Cardinals: Jay Feely, Dave Zastudil, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu

4. 49ers: Phil Dawson, Andy Lee, LaMichael James, Kyle Williams

Why: Tavon Austin, Percy Harvin and Patrick Peterson could be the three best punt returners in the NFL next season. The 49ers don’t have a healthy, proven punt returner on their roster. That’s what separates these four units.

 

FINAL SCORE

Seahawks: 86

49ers: 68

Rams: 43

Cardinals: 12

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