- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
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ST. LOUIS -- Earlier this offseason, my NFC West NFL Nation colleagues and I voted on an All NFC West division team, taking our observations from viewing the four teams up close and putting together a group we deemed to be the best.
Despite a couple of disagreements, mainly at punter and linebacker, that team included three Rams: defensive end Robert Quinn, punt returner Tavon Austin and linebacker Alec Ogletree. Punter Johnny Hekker missed the cut despite my arguments to the contrary, but ultimately the team was mostly a consensus.
Over at Pro Football Focus, the guys used their internal grading scale to piece together their version of the All NFC West team. Like our team, PFF also came up with three Rams for the final team, though the names differed a bit.
Quinn and Hekker, both of whom made the Pro Bowl and All Pro teams, landed their expected spots on the roster. In fact, Quinn became the highest graded 4-3 defensive end in the relatively short history of PFF's existence with a grade of 77.2. Hekker finished second amongst all punters in their scoring system and was a slam dunk choice as well.
A bit more surprising was the presence of Rodger Saffold as one of the guards next to San Francisco's Mike Iupati. Saffold was outstanding in four of his five starts at guard (he moved to tackle early against Tampa Bay in the fifth) and clearly proved capable of being a high level player at the position.
Despite that small sample size, Saffold did enough to earn a spot on PFF's All NFC West team. Of course, there wasn't a lot to choose from on the interior of the offensive line in the division but we did learn that Saffold could be a mainstay on teams such as this if he's able to continue at guard into the future.
The PFF grading system is by no means a perfect picture of how a player performed but it's doing something right in that it's hard to argue with the inclusion of any of this trio of Rams.
A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we looked at a pair of Rams that ESPN.com would have liked to see get a shot at the Super Bowl. ... In the next edition of the NFL Nation confidential survey, the players selected Seattle's Pete Carroll, something that probably doesn't sit too well amongst Rams faithful. ... Finally, we come near the finish line for our plays that shaped the season with No. 2, a play call that didn't sit too well with Rams nation.
Here's the news story on the players selecting Carroll from Seahawks reporter Terry Blount.
Columnist Jeffri Chadiha writes that Carroll's selection is a result of some of his unorthodox methods, which have won over many players.
At stltoday.com, columnist Bernie Miklasz wonders whether Rams general manager Les Snead can do what's necessary to overcome the other talent evaluators in the NFC West.
Dan Caesar has the news on a profile of CBS Sports broadcaster and former St. Louis Cardinal Dan Dierdorf.
At 101sports.com, Randy Karraker discussed the new look of the Pro Bowl and ways it can still improve.