Our players to watch segment takes a look at the wild wild NFC West
Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd WR- There were a lot of possible choices for who to watch with the Cardinals but one of the biggest burdens to produce will be on last year’s 13th overall pick. In Floyd’s first season he snagged 45 passes for 562 yards with poor QB play. Look for those numbers to drastically improve with the competent play of Carson Palmer. There are high hopes for Floyd to be the other half of a Larry Fitzgerald led dynamic duo.
St. Louis Rams: Austin Pettis WR- Pettis has reportedly been making a name for himself at Rams OTA’s. He is currently slated to start over 2012 second round pick Brian Quick (33rd overall). The rams will need a strong outside presence at WR to take pressure off of Tavon Austin in the slot. With the slate of unproven Running Backs left in the wake of Steven Jackson’s departure Sam Bradford will be responsible for manufacturing offense and he’ll need all the weapons he can get.
San Francisco 49ers: LaMichael James RB- With the 49ers up tempo offense James may be a slightly better fit than Frank Gore. Gore is too talented to phase out completely and will certainly be responsible for the tough yards. It became clearer last season that OC Greg Roman preferred James in up-tempo sets. I’d expect Gore and James to have a much more even split of the offense this season.
Seattle Seahawks: James Carpenter LG- When Carpenter’s name was called in the first round of the 2011 draft many in the football community (including me) were left scratching their heads. Carpenter was regarded as a solid prospect but questions persisted if he had the lateral agility or burst to play tackle. As expected he struggled outside and has since been moved to guard. After two injury plagued seasons the Seahawks wait with bated breath to see if Carpenter will justify the selection.