When you think of powerhouse divisions in the NFL the first one that has to come to mind is the NFC West. No more is the NFC West known as the NFC Least, instead they are the trend-setter in which all other seven divisions aspire to be. A division that is considered black and blue with no shortage of toughness, aggressiveness, and overall physicality, it’s no wonder the NFC West is highly respected. And while the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, and St. Louis Rams all have talent, we started our preseason NFC West rankings by ranking the top five wide receivers. A list that forecasts production, durability, and skill set, it’s these five players who we believe to be the very best in the NFC West.
1. WR Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals)
Analysis: Despite Fitzgerald having a down season last year it’s not entirely his fault, as he did not have the supporting cast around him to make his usual impact. A suspect Cardinals running game combined with little outside help, led defensive coordinators to consistently double-team Fitz, making life difficult for him as he failed to reach the 1,000 yard mark for just the fourth time in his 10-year career. However, he is still regarded by me as the best wide-receiver in the NFC West. His hands are elite and his route running is bar-none, ranking him number one.
2. WR Anquan Boldin (San Francisco 49ers)
Analysis: Boldin is one of the most underrated players in the NFL From savvy route running to snaring one-handed balls for a crucial first-down, Boldin was the 49ers rock on offense. A player that caught 85 balls for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns, Boldin proved his worth in 2013 as he was voted the team’s MVP. Boldin recently admitted he was learning the 49ers offense on the go, leaving me to believe he will be even better in 2014, especially with a healthy Crabtree and Johnson lining up alongside him.
3. WR Percy Harvin (Seattle Seahawks)
Analysis: When Harvin gets his touches he can take it to the house on any given play. A true home-run threat that also adds value in the return game, Harvin is still one of the best game-breakers if healthy. A big if as he was injured for most of the 2013 season, Harvin should bounce back in 2014 as he becomes the focal point of the Seahawks offense with the departure of WR Golden Tate to the Detroit Lions.
4. WR Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49ers)
Analysis: The player known as “King Crab” is in a contract year meaning he’s due for a big season. A player who is coming off of a torn Achilles suffered last off-season, Crabtree will be looking to regain his form as another 1,000 yard receiver for Kaepernick. Whether making the difficult sideline catch or hauling in a quick slant for a touchdown, Crabtree should be Kap’s primary go-to receiver in 2014.
5. WR Michael Floyd (Arizona Cardinals)
Analysis: The dark horse of the bunch is Floyd. A big bodied receiver as Floyd is 6-2 and 220 pounds he is a handful to deal with for any defensive back. The second-year player from Notre Dame had a breakout season last year as he caught 65 receptions for 1,040 yards and five touchdowns, look for that trend to continue as he should only get better.