If you were asked to build the best offense possible but could only use the current NFC West players, what would your team look like? Which 11 starters would you select?
The NFC West is widely thought of as the deepest division in the NFL, so you’ll inevitably leave off some talented players. I’ll take a stab at this, and you can let me know where you disagree.
Quarterback - Russell Wilson, Seahawks
I’m not sure if my opinion for one player has changed as much as it did with Russ during the 2020 season. When Seattle put more on his plate, as everyone begged for, Wilson got worse. Sure, his numbers remained great, but it’s the throws that he didn’t attempt or the issues Wilson caused the Seahawks offense.
He remains the best quarterback in the division, but what good defenses did to Wilson during the second half of last season did not go unnoticed. If you force him to throw the ball over the middle of the field, you’ll have success.
Running back - Chris Carson, Seahawks
As much as I wanted to put Raheem Mostert here, he missed eight games during the 2020 season. Cam Akers from the Rams is intriguing, but he has to become more consistent.
Carson missed four games and still managed to be one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. His battering style of running will always lead to health concerns, but Carson is continually among the league leaders in broken tackles. He also had four receiving touchdowns last season.
Wide receiver - DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals
There aren’t three better wideouts in the league than Hopkins, which means it’s unlikely that three better receivers in the division are better than Hopkins.
We saw firsthand how dominant Hopkins could be during Week 1 of last season, where he caught 14 of his 16 targets for 151 yards.
Wide receiver - DK Metcalf, Seahawks
Metcalf went from being a scary deep threat to becoming one of the most dangerous receivers in the game. He had 83 receptions and averaged 15.7 yards per catch with ten touchdowns last season.
As was the case with Nuk, Metcalf terrorized the Niners during a Week 8 performance where he caught 12 of 15 targets for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s scary to think what Metcalf can become after dominating the league for two seasons.
Wide receiver - Cooper Kupp, Rams
This was close as Tyler Lockett is a stud. Brandon Aiyuk is emerging, but I’ll go with Kupp. He’s asked to do so much in that Rams offense. There are about 5-10 plays a game where Kupp serves as a lead blocker on run plays. He’s not great against press coverage, but that’s why Sean McVay puts Kupp in the slot.
He caught 94.8% of his catchable passes, had 50% of his receptions go for a first down, and averaged more yards after the catch than just about every top receiver in the game.
Tight end - George Kittle, 49ers
It didn’t feel like it, but Kittle played in eight games last season. Despite playing with quarterbacks who shouldn’t be throwing the ball during a regular-season game in the NFL, Kittle still managed to be productive.
You’ve heard me reference Sports Info Solutions’ “total points earned.” Here’s a fun fact: Kittle earned more points than names like Diontae Johnson, Marquise Brown, Ceedee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and a few other bigger named players.
That just shows you how much of an impact Kittle has when he’s on the field.
Left tackle - Trent Williams, 49ers
Williams somehow outperformed expectations as he sat out all of 2019 and then returned during the 2020 season and never missed a beat. It took one practice against Nick Bosa to realize Williams was the real deal.
Williams finished the season with 18 blown blocks, and ten of those came in a span of three games. There were five games where Williams didn’t miss a block, which is as impressive as it gets considering the athletes on the other side of the ball.
Left guard - Laken Tomlinson, 49ers
Center - Ethan Pocic, Seahawks
Right guard - Austin Corbett, Rams (he’s probably playing center this year)
Right tackle - Rob Havenstein, Rams
Let’s add up the teams.
Seahawks: Four players
49ers: Three players
Rams: Three players
Cardinals: One player
What would your team look like? Where do you disagree from above?