I was thinking that we would start putting together some irregularly scheduled power rankings for the NFC West as we move towards the 2011 NFL season. As the season gets going it will be a bit easier to rank teams, but for now the turmoil facing numerous teams in the division makes this a difficult task.
Of all the teams one could argue the St. Louis Rams are the only stable team in the division. They've got their QB of the future and are building something pretty solid there. And losing the division to Seattle might have been the best thing that could happen to them in regards to the draft positioning. The rest of the division includes some solid draft positioning but plenty of question marks, particularly at the always important QB position.
The 49ers have an entirely new coaching staff and will potentially be starting a new quarterback in 2011. The Seahawks have a full year under Pete Carroll but they don't really have an answer at quarterback with Matt Hasselbeck a free agent and Charlie Whitehurst being fairly awful. As for the Arizona Cardinals? Well they have issues up and down the roster, but they also have the highest pick in the division in April's NFL Draft. I don't expect a Rams like turn-around in 2011 for the Cardinals, but they could make some progress.
Am I being too much of a homer if I were to put the 49ers ahead of the Seahawks? The folks at Field Gulls might think so but I'm not sure. The Seahawks won the division so that's a possible reason to rank them second but I just can't justify it ahead of the 49ers talent. Neither team has a settled QB so that is a wash, which means we have to look at the rest of the talent and the coaching staff. When we look at that, I just like the 49ers better heading into 2011. Much can change between now and then with the draft and free agency, but for now here's how I think the division stacks up.
1. St. Louis Rams
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Arizona Cardinals