Introducing the 2009 All-NFC West Team

Lorenzo ReynaCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals scores a 64-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

In college football, they have a projected All-Conference team for each year whether if it's the PAC-10, SEC, Big XII, or even the Sun Belt.

Lately, I've been wondering; what if the media created a projected All-Division team for the NFL?

Who would be considered the best quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers, or even specialists for the NFC West, AFC East, NFC South, etc.?

By creating a list like this, maybe, just maybe, one or two of these guys won't be snubbed by the Pro Bowl voting system. Not only that, fans will take notice of the impact they can bring.

Here's who I think can be the biggest impact players on each division, beginning first with the NFC West.



Quarterback: Kurt Warner, ArizonaIf he continues the magic of his 2008 season, he'll get serious consideration for MVP.

Running Back: Frank Gore, San Francisco—Mike Singletary wants to run the ball. Expect Gore to get more carries and perhaps more yards than 2007 and 2008.

Fullback: Moran Norris, San Francisco—Gore refers to him as "my fullback." Norris shouldn't be ignored in the new run-oriented offense. 

Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona—The Pro Bowler and NFC Champion hero makes the jump ball look so cool.

Wide Receiver T.J Houshmandzadeh, Seattle—He'll breathe new life in the Seahawks passing game if he and Matt Hasselbeck connect.

Tight End: Vernon Davis, San Francisco—Surprisingly, he's becoming a Singletary favorite with his blocking.

Left Tackle: Mike Gandy, Arizona—He protects Warner's blindside, and he is a very underrated performer.

Left Guard: Reggie Wells, ArizonaLike Gandy, the seven-year veteran is counted on to protect Warner's blindside.

Center: Eric Heitmann, San Francisco—He has the three S's that define premier centers: size, strength, and smarts.

Right Guard: Deuce Lutui, Arizona—The former second-round pick has improved each season for the Cardinals.

Right Tackle: Sean Locklear, Seattle—If healthy, he'll be a difference maker for Hasselbeck and company.



Defensive End: Patrick Kerney, Seattle—When healthy, he's a demon pass-rusher. Kearney was limited to seven games last season.

Defensive End: Justin Smith, San Francisco—All he did last year was everything the 49ers asked him to do.

Defensive Tackle: Bryan Robinson, Arizona—He's up in his years, but he can still stuff the run.

Defensive Tackle: Darnell Dockett, Arizona—Dockett was a force in all 16 games and then the playoffs. He will be a defensive end in the 3-4 alignment

Outside Linebacker: Will Witherspoon, St. Louis—The switch to the weakside will allow him to make more plays, especially against the pass.

Outside Linebacker: Karlos Dansby, Arizona—The leader of the Cards' linebacking corps led the way with 128 tackles last season.

Inside Linebacker: Patrick Willis, San Francisco—In just three seasons, he's become one of the best all-around linebackers in the NFL.

Cornerback: Marcus Trufant, Seattle—The Pro Bowl caliber cover man is the Seahawks best shutdown corner. He may benefit even more with the return of Ken Lucas.

Cornerback: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona—He had an impressive regular season; then he had a stellar postseason. The best is yet to come.

Free Safety: Oshiomogho Atogwe, St. Louis—Do you need a ballhawk in your secondary? How about this guy who had five picks, eight forced fumbles, and three recoveries.

Strong Safety: Adrian Wilson, Arizona—If he didn't enjoy his Pro Bowl season, he probably loved his first playoff taste and Super Bowl appearance.


Special Teams

Punter: Andy Lee, San Francisco—Lee has 47.8 yard gross average, and the Bay Area winds never affect his punting either.

Kicker: Josh Brown, St. Louis—Brown was one of the few highlights of the 2-14 Rams last year. He went 31-for-36 in field goal attempts.

Return Man: Allen Rossum, San Francisco—Still a dynamic returner after 12 years, Rossum averaged 26.8 return yards on kickoff returns with one touchdown last season.

Specialist: Brian Jennings, San Francisco—Signed a new five-year contract because he's one of the best at long snapping.


Honorable Mention

Lofa Tatupu, Linebacker, Seattle—We'll see if the defensive changes can benefit the heart and soul of the Seahawk defense.

Steven Jackson, Running Back, St. Louis—He's an elite playmaker for the Rams, but he's missed a combined 10 games in the past two seasons.

Steve Breaston, Wide Receiver, Arizona—If Anquan Boldin does get dealt away, this burner will become the No. 2 guy next to Fitzgerald.

John Carlson, Tight End, Seattle-First Seahawk rookie since Steve Largent to lead the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Seahawk coaches will expect more from him in sophomore year.

Top Rookies


Jason Smith, Right Tackle, St. Louis—He will likely start on the right side, but he's a suitable replacement for Orlando Pace due to his athleticism.


Aaron Curry, Linebacker, Seattle—He's capable of being a do-everything linebacker with his speed, versatility, toughness, smarts, and physical play.



Head Coach: Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona—He could become the greatest head coach in the history of the once moribund Cardinals.

Offensive Assistant: Jimmy Raye, San Francisco—He likes running the ball, which means he's already on the same page with Singletary.

Defensive Assistant: Bill Davis, Arizona—He just might become an upgrade over Clancy Pendergast with this veteran group of defenders he'll coach. He has spent three seasons with the team.

Special Teams Coach: Al Everest, San Francisco—He has Joe Nedney, Andy Lee, Brian Jennings and Allen Rossum to coach.