Part of being the best division in football means good drafting. So which NFL rookies in the NFC West have the best chances to start?
St. Louis Rams: Greg Robinson – LG
He was arguably the best offensive lineman in the 2014 class. Big, powerful and surprisingly athletic, Greg Robinson is exactly what the St. Louis Rams needed to bolster their front. Though a left tackle in college, has all the prerequisites to kick inside to guard next to veteran Jake Long. There his prowess as a run blocker will become very pronounced. As competition goes for the spot, frankly, there is none.
Arizona Cardinals: Troy Niklas – TE
This may become the surprise of the NFC West division. Initially playing behind more proven veterans in Rob Housler and John Carlson, it looked like it would take time for Troy Niklas to get on the field. However, his talent has really begun to show up in practice and he was then aided by both Housler and Carlson having bad games in week two of the preseason. If Niklas can put together a good performance in week three he may just steal the honor of being the first rookie for the Arizona Cardinals to start away from 1st round pick Deone Bucannon.
San Francisco 49ers: Marcus Martin – C
Any name mentioned is a hard sell with the San Francisco 49ers. That is how good their depth is on paper. They have a number of quality veteran reserves behind their starters, making it difficult for rookies to have a shot at seeing the field, let alone starting. If there is one position it could happen, keep a close eye on center. For the time being veteran Dan Kilgore is on top but he’s fighting to hold off rookie 3rd round pick Marcus Martin, who brings a lot of physical size and ability to the position. An ankle injury hampered his progress, but there is still time for him to pull a comeback.
Seattle Seahawks: Justin Britt – RT
Filling the right tackle position became a priority for the Seattle Seahawks after losing veteran Breno Giacomini to NFL free agency. After losing Michael Bowie to an injury, the postion became a wide open race between veteran Eric Winston and rookie Justin Britt. Thus far the Seahawks are giving Britt, who they really liked when drafting him, every chance to lock down the job. Winston at this point is competition but more of a security blanket if Britt doesn’t perform up to standard. One thing is clear, if he doesn’t win the job then the chances of a rookie starting anywhere on the roster are minimal.