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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
How I see it: NFC West Stock Watch

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South
Incognito

Falling


1. Richie Incognito, RG, Rams: Incognito picked up where he left off last season, losing his cool and committing penalties. The Rams can use an enforcer. Incognito can be well suited for the role. He simply doesn't know when to back away.

Two penalties for unnecessary roughness and a third for a false start didn't help the Rams' cause during their 28-0 defeat in the season opener.
Brown

2. Levi Brown, RT, Cardinals:
The fifth overall choice in the 2007 draft should be able to hold up against 49ers pass-rusher Parys Haralson.

Brown certainly has the talent, but poor footwork and hand use betrayed him. Haralson had a sack and four quarterback hits for the 49ers as they regularly pressured Kurt Warner.

Branch

3. Deion Branch, WR, Seahawks. Branch generally makes a
positive impact when healthy. He simply isn't healthy often enough. A hamstring injury prevented Branch from playing in the season opener.

The expensive wideout has now missed 14 games to injury since the start of the 2007 season. Matt Hasselbeck has plenty of other options in the passing game.

Rising
Carlson

1. John Carlson, TE, Seahawks.
The addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh was supposed to make it tough for Carlson to match his 55-catch rookie season. Perhaps it won't be so tough. Carlson caught six passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. He caught only five scoring passes all last season.

Carlson provides a big target with good hands, a welcome combination for Hasselbeck as the quarterback masters a new offense.
Haralson

2. Parys Haralson, OLB, 49ers.
The 49ers heard about their poor pass rush all offseason. They won't have to hear about it this week after Haralson stepped up against the Cardinals. Haralson accounted for one of the team's three sacks and four of its eight quarterback hits.


3. Alan Branch, DL, Cardinals.
Few Cardinals players during the Ken Whisenhunt era have taken more heat than Branch for underachieving. The 2007 second-round choice appeared in danger of being released at various points during the offseason.
Branch

Whisenhunt remained cautious when Branch showed signs of progress early in training camp. Optimism grew during the exhibition season when Branch showed the versatility to play nose tackle or defensive end in the team's 3-4 scheme. Branch played well against the 49ers as Arizona contained the 49ers' ground game.