Saturday, January 23, 2010
By the decade: NFC West safeties
By Mike Sando
The Cardinals' Adrian Wilson stands above all other NFC West safeties for his efforts during the first decade of the 2000s.
Wilson led all safeties during the decade in starts, interceptions and Pro Bowls. He affected opposing run games with his physical presence near the line of scrimmage. He threatened opposing quarterbacks' health and safety as a blitzer.
I favored playmaking safeties when putting together a list featuring five of the best from the NFC West during the period 2000 through 2009.
Remember Zack Bronson? He probably would have moved up the list if a neck injury hadn't shortened his career with the 49ers. Bronson had seven interception returns totaling 165 yards, returning two for touchdowns, in the 2001 season alone.
Another former 49ers safety, Tony Parrish, was a second-team All-Pro choice in 2003. He had 20 interceptions over a three-year period early in the decade.
Wilson and the Rams' Aeneas Williams were the only safeties to earn Pro Bowl recognition while playing for NFC West teams during the decade. Williams played cornerback and safety. He was good enough at both to finish the decade as the top NFC West cornerback and the second-best safety.
For more on these and other NFC West safeties during the decade, check out the Pro Football Reference archives (Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, 49ers). And if there's someone you think deserves stronger consideration, let me know. Ken Hamlin, Adam Archuleta and a few others showed flashes of excellence during the decade.