Most Intriguing Players in the NFC West for 2019
By Julie Voigt and Russell S. Baxter (VIBE)
Special to Pro Football Guru
It was good while it lasted.
Welcome back to the latest work by the team of “Voigt Julie” and “Yours Truly.” With the 2019 NFL regular season roughly two and half months away, it’s a division-by-division look at each club’s most intriguing player. It started with the AFC East, where the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have won a league-record 10 straight division titles. Then onto the NFC East, where the Dallas Cowboys are coming off capturing their third division title since 2014.
A year ago, the Baltimore Ravens won six of their final seven games to overcome a 4-5 start and win the AFC North for the first time since 2012. This past season, the Chicago Bears won the NFC North for the first time since 2010 as new head coach Matt Nagy’s club finished 12-4. As for the AFC South, the Houston Texans opened 0-3 and the Indianapolis Colts started 1-5 this past season and both reached the playoffs. Then there’s the NFC South? In 2017, the division sent three teams to the playoffs. A year ago, only the New Orleans Saints boasted a winning record as Sean Payton’s club finished as the top seed in the NFC. And last season, it was the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs that hosted the AFC title game.
So here’s a look at who stands out when it comes to the NFC West. A year ago, the Los Angeles Rams represented the conference in Super Bowl LIII and the Seattle Seahawks rebounded from a 0-2 start to reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals are looking to put the pieces back together after forgettable seasons.
So here’s the final installment of the 8-part series (teams are in order of 2018 finish):
Los Angeles Rams
QB Jared Goff
BE: This past season, the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft threw for 4,688 yards and 32 scores. But there were also a dozen interceptions and five lost fumbles. Including the team’s three playoff contests, Goff totaled seven TD passes but committed a combined 11 turnovers in the Rams’ final eight outings. Can the three-year pro bounce back from a forgettable stretch run?
MLB Bobby Wagner
VI: The five-time Pro-Bowler and four-time All-Pro is arguably the league’s best middle linebacker. Wagner – who’s totaled at least 100 tackles in each of his seven seasons – is known as a player who puts 100 percent into what he does. So why does he not have a new contract going in to training camp? Although it has been reported that Wagner will not put himself in harm’s way, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
San Francisco 49ers
RB Tevin Coleman
BE: A year ago, the Niners signed free-agent running back Jerick McKinnon away from the Vikings. But he wound up missing the entire season. This offseason, head coach Mike Shanahan and the club added Coleman, who played in Shanahan’s system in Atlanta. This past season, his totaled 1,076 yards from scrimmage and scored nine TDs. As was the case with Devonta Freeman and Coleman with the Falcons, Shanahan has a potent 1-2 punch at his disposal.
WR Kevin White
VI: He was the seventh overall pick back in the 2015 NFL Draft via the Chicago Bears. However, White has not had a very productive career due to injuries. He’s played in a grand total of 14 games and caught 25 passes for 285 yards without a touchdown. White is hoping for a fresh start with the Cardinals, a team that could certainly use any offensive help it can get after a dismal 2018. And the young performer will have a chance to learn from legend Larry Fitzgerald.
Julie Voigt (JulieNoted_PFG) and Russell S. Baxter (@BaxFootballGuru) are the co-founders of @pfgVIBE. Julie is also the Colts’ reporter for OurTurf Football while Russell writes for FanSided and NFL Spin Zone.