NFC West: Tony Parrish

Parrish, Okeafor among UFL choices

June, 3, 2010
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There's always the UFL if the Detroit Lions aren't there to embrace NFC West castoffs.

I counted nine former NFC West players among the 60 chosen in the 2010 UFL draft Wednesday (story here).

Tony Parrish's love for the game might be admirable and it's his business how he wants to earn a living. As someone who admired his contributions to the 49ers years ago, though, I had a hard time picturing the former ball-hawking safety, out of the NFL since 2006, playing out his career with the Las Vegas Locomotives at age 34.

Parrish won a UFL championship with Las Vegas last season.

The chart breaks out UFL choices with NFC West ties. Former Cardinals coach Dennis Green is coaching the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Each team was allowed to protect 20 holdovers from last season heading into the 2010 draft.

By the decade: NFC West safeties

January, 23, 2010
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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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Former Rams receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce commanded spots on my NFC West all-decade team after leading one of the most-dynamic offenses in NFL history.

Larry Fitzgerald also seemed worthy after posting three 1,400-yard seasons and staking the Cardinals into a late lead with a dramatic 64-yard touchdown reception in Super Bowl XLIII.

With at least three worthy candidates for two spots -- and with receivers Anquan Boldin, Bobby Engram and Terrell Owens more deserving than any of the available tight ends -- something had to give.

"I'm hard pressed to come up with [a tight end] better than Vernon Davis," wrote regular blog contributor Mind of no mind. "But if there is nobody better, then maybe we should drop the TE from the team and go with 3 WR with Bruce."

Done deal.

Holt, Bruce and Fitzgerald became the receivers. That made more sense than adding Davis, Eric Johnson, Jerramy Stevens, Itula Mili or some other relatively unaccomplished tight end to the squad.

Such was the give and take as I sifted through nominations left on the blog and on my Facebook page. One request I couldn't quite accommodate: finding a spot for the legendary Kim Il Zong, a ka The Zonger.

A position-by position look at my NFC West all-decade team follows. Thanks to Adam from Mesa, Ariz., for getting the conversation started (download his suggested team here).

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