Early look at receiving battles in NFC West
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Seahawks and 49ers appear dramatically improved at receiver this season. The Cardinals might also improve at the position if 2008 third-round choice Early Doucet emerges following an injury-affected rookie season.
Uncertainty at the position in St. Louis could lead the Rams to keep an eye on the NFC West discard pile when roster limits tighten.
The chart shows how many receivers each NFC West team has carried for its past six regular-season openers. The top row shows current counts. A look at how they stack up:
Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Jerheme Urban are back. Sean Morey, listed as a receiver, has been a Pro Bowl player on special teams. Lance Long is reportedly looking good again this offseason. Also: Shane Morales, Justin Brown, Ed Gant and Onrea Jones.
San Francisco: Isaac Bruce, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Brandon Jones, Jason Hill and probably Arnaz Battle stick around. Dominique Zeigler isn't a significant contributor on special teams, hurting his chances if the others stay healthy. Also: Maurice Price, Mark Bradford, and Dobson Collins. Note: I have listed Michael Spurlock as a kick returner. That's why his name didn't show up on this list initially. I changed the 49ers' count to 11 given that Morey is counting at the position for Arizona. Thanks to redng0ld for pointing it out.
St. Louis: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Laurent Robinson and Tim Carter comprise the likely top four based on what we know so far. Derek Stanley is recovering from knee surgery. Brooks Foster is a rookie fifth-round choice. Also: Travis Brown, Nate Jones, Horace Gant, Chad Lucas, Sean Walker and Jarrett Byers.
Seattle: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and Deon Butler comprise the likely top four. Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu could be favorites for the final two spots if Seattle keeps six. Also: Billy McMullen, Michael Bumpus, Mike Hass, Logan Payne and Jordan Kent.