Posted by Zach Ring

Training Camp Standouts and a Look Back – NFC West

August 24, 2023

We took a look at the NFC North players we were excited to watch before Training Camp started to see how they fared now that we are nearing the end of Camp. Today we’ll do the same thing with the NFC West. We’ll also discuss a few other standouts from each team.

Arizona Cardinals – Michael Wilson – I think we are about to find out very soon how good Michael Wilson might be. Especially in a very questionable receiving room. I’ll put my money on him being a Training Camp star. I just hope it turns into regular season success as well. Honorable mention: Trey McBride. Really interested to watch him during Camp.

Los Angeles Rams – Cam Akers – What a weird year for Cam Akers last year. From presumed starter to doghouse to finishing the season with 3 straight 100 yard games. It’s so hard for a running back to come back from an achilles tear, but maybe Akers did? The Rams only invested a late draft pick in Zach Evans this offseason, which bodes well for Akers.

San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance –  Brock Purdy might not even participate much in Training Camp, if at all. But there is no doubt he is the 49ers starter, when healthy, in my opinion. Trey Lance will have his chance to show his improvement early in Camp and really throughout Camp. He’ll have to prove he’s capable of running Kyle Shanahan’s offense to have any hope of wrestling away the starting job.

Seattle Seahawks – JSN –  I love Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Not many wide receivers can put up a season like he did for Ohio State in 2021. The big question is whether Geno Smith can support 3 receivers. The Seahawks offense will be fun to watch during camp between JSN and Zach Charbonnet.

Arizona Cardinals

We hit this one on the money. Michael Wilson has been one of the few bright spots in Cardinals Camp. He has consistently made plays in practice and has become a reliable target. Tyler Drake, a beat reporter for the Cardinals, also told us Wilson would be a standout on our podcast episode with him. 

James Conner is also having a nice Camp and is locked in as the bell cow running back. He’s been such a value in fantasy drafts.

Los Angeles Rams

It’s hard to get a read on running backs during Training Camp, but Cam Akers has done nothing to make us think he won’t be the Rams lead runner this year. His Camp highlight is getting into a fight with the Raiders’ Maxx Crosby, but he’s had a healthy Camp and that’s all we can pretty much ask for from a running back. We’ll see if he gets any preseason action.

Other standouts in Rams Camp have bene Tutu Atwell, Puka Nucua, and Brycen Hopkins. Atwell and Nucua are battling for the WR3 spot. Both bring a different element to the Rams passing game, so we may see a rotating door here. That said, they’ve both performed well in Camp for a team that absolutely needs someone to step up alongside Cooper Kupp. 

Hopkins is a name that many remember from a couple years ago when he was gaining a little bit of hype. We aren’t saying he’s a post hype breakout candidate, but he does seem to have the TE2 role locked up behind Tyler Higbee. 

San Francisco 49ers

This is Brock Purdy’s team. As soon as Purdy was healthy enough to practice, he stepped right back into the QB1 role and his lead over Lance has only grown. Lance has had a very up and down camp. His inconsistency has put him in a battle for the QB2 job with Sam Darnold; which Darnold recently won. The Lance experiment is essentially over.

A slimmed down Deebo Samuel showed up to Camp and he’s been solid throughout. He’s looking to get back to his 2021 ways. Brandon Aiyuk is another Camp standout who has dominated practice. 

It’ll be interesting to see what happens at RB behind Christian McCaffrey. Elijah Mitchell is nursing another injury, while Ty Davis-Price has had a great camp. Jordan Mason was the presumed RB3 when Camp started, but that’s not as confident as it once was.

Seattle Seahawks

Jaxon Smith-Njigba did not disappoint in his first Camp. He made play after play, showcasing his savviness and hands. The question isn’t whether JSN can play, it’s whether Geno Smith can support three wide receivers. He’s dropped one pass in 25 practices

Kenny McIntosh was having a standout Camp while Ken Walker and Zach Charbonnet were sitting out with injuries, but then McIntosh sustained his own injury. 

Another under the radar standout has been UDFA receiver Jake Bobo. He’s 25 and ran a 4.99 forty yard dash, but he somehow keeps getting open and making plays. He’s still a longshot to make the roster, but his name keeps coming up. He’s gotten first team reps and has become a locker room favorite.

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