Thursday, November 8, 2012
NFC West puts 10 among NFL's Top 50
By Mike Sando
One year ago Wednesday, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. ranked four NFC West players among the NFL's 50 best.
Patrick Willis (ninth), Justin Smith (10th), Larry Fitzgerald (12th) and Chris Clemons (50th) made the cut.
The number has more than doubled since then even though the NFC West placed no players among the top 10 this time. That stood out upon looking through Williamson's midseason Top 50 piece for the 2012 season.
Clemons, Cortland Finnegan, Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Chris Long, Brandon Mebane, Richard Sherman and Aldon Smith gave the NFC West eight players among the 25 Williamson singled out for honorable mention beyond the top 50.
That gives the 49ers four players in the top 50 and three honorable mentions.
The Cardinals have four in the top 50 with zero honorable mentions. Cornerback Patrick Peterson, the fifth overall choice in the 2011 draft and a dynamic return threat as a rookie, wasn't listed. He hasn't made as big an impact as a returner, and he had a rough game against the 49ers on national television.
The Seattle Seahawks have two in the top 50, plus three honorable mentions. Left tackle Russell Okung, chosen sixth overall in 2010, was not listed. He has been playing better as the season has progressed.
The St. Louis Rams have none in the top 50 and two honorable mentions. Quarterback Sam Bradford, chosen first overall in 2010, was not listed. He has played well at times, but he has not produced consistently and is just getting started in his third offensive system as a pro.