The Lombardi Trophy resides in the NFC West, and it could remain there for another year — even if it changes cities. There's plenty of excitement in this division, as the NFL champion Rams return most of their talent and the 49ers are looking to take a step forward with Trey Lance. And don't sleep on the Cardinals, even with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six games. The Seahawks will feel completely different without Russell Wilson around, but this is still a Pete Carroll-coached team. There's plenty to discuss with this division.
In order to get an accurate assessment of the NFC West heading into 2022, Athlon asked NFL scouts to talk anonymously about the Cardinals, Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from NFL scouts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
"Kyler Murray was full of drama this offseason, but it's calming down. I think they figure something out eventually and stay in business with him. You wish he was bigger. You wish he was more of a leader, but, man, he can play."
Editor's note: This scouting report was submitted before Murray and the Cardinals agreed to a five-year, $230 million contract extension in late July.
"That was smart that they traded for Hollywood Brown. You've gotta think they knew that DeAndre Hopkins was getting hit with the PED suspension. That's a tough blow for their offense, but he'll be back. With Brown and Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz, they should have enough to get by until Hopkins is back. What was he thinking? That's crazy for a player that good to get popped. He doesn't have that kind of reputation, too."
"I'm not wowed at all by their offensive line."
"Between Ertz and Trey McBride, they're absolutely loaded at tight end."
Related: Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart
"James Conner is an old-school, downhill running back. He's been through a lot and he plays the game with a lot of heart."
"A healthy J.J. Watt would make up for losing Chandler Jones. I worry about their pass rush if Watt doesn't play most of the games this season. They're all set at inside linebacker with Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons."
"They're still getting production out of Markus Golden, and that softens the blow a bit from losing Chandler Jones."
"There isn't a better safety, in my book, than Budda Baker. He flies around the field."
"Byron Murphy Jr. is solid, too."
"Super Bowl champs don't need a real influx of talent. They're set. They've got one of the best quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford. They've got the most productive and polished wide receiver in Cooper Kupp. They added Allen Robinson II, and they could get Odell Beckham Jr. back when he's healthy again. Van Jefferson is very good, too."
"They have to replace Andrew Whitworth, and that won't be easy from a leadership standpoint. Not a huge fan of their offensive line, but it's good enough and well-coached."
"They lost some good offensive coaches, including Wes Phillips, but as long as Sean McVay is there, this offense should keep humming."
"Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. are a strong tandem and made Sony Michel expendable."
Related: Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart
"There's no stopping Aaron Donald. The guy can't be blocked, at least not by one person. It takes two or three to slow him down."
"Bobby Wagner gives them a sideline-to-sideline presence."
"No better corner than Jalen Ramsey. He covers the best receivers, and he hits hard."
"I thought the Troy Hill trade helps them. He knows the defense, and he can cover."
"Leonard Floyd is the X-factor. He makes this defense really go. He's a tough assignment."
"Taylor Rapp has a lot of range."
"If they don't fix this Deebo Samuel situation, the biggest loose end in the NFL, they've got a real problem. He's such a huge part of the offense. Hopefully, cooler heads prevail."
"I like some of their other receivers, especially Brandon Aiyuk and the rookie, Danny Gray, who can really run, but none of them are Deebo."
"Is it time for Trey Lance? Feels that way. They've got to find out how good he is and move on from Jimmy G. Lance has a lot of tools working in his favor. I think he's going to be really good."
"Nobody is better than Trent Williams. I repeat, nobody."
"They've got to get Jake Brendel ready."
"I always come away thinking they need to throw the ball more to George Kittle."
"Elijah Mitchell is above average, at the very least."
"Kyle Juszczyk is a strong pass-catcher who knows this offense perfectly, and he can block."
"Nick Bosa is the headliner, and rightfully so. This defensive line is so loaded. They've got backups who would start for lots of good NFL teams."
"Fred Warner, to me, is the best off-the-ball linebacker in the NFL."
"Dre Greenlaw is a fast-striking guy."
"Signing Charvarius Ward gives them a solid corner to go with a good signing at safety in George Odum. I think the defense is going to be a strength again. This may be DeMeco Ryans' last year as a defensive coordinator. He's definitely head-coaching material."
Related: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart
"Life after Russell Wilson is going to be interesting. Are the Seahawks leaning into a rebuild, or can they compete with Drew Lock as their guy? It's questionable, at best, but it looks like they're determined to try."
"Lock isn't bad, but he's far from great. If he winds up being QB1, his job isn't that tough as far as having really good wide receivers to throw to. DK Metcalf is a total stud. He's got every tool it takes. Tyler Lockett has great speed, creates separation easily."
"The Charles Cross pick is perfect. It kept them from having to re-sign an older left tackle in Duane Brown. They've moved on quite well. They need to keep drafting good offensive linemen to rebuild that group."
"Including Noah Fant in the Wilson trade may wind up really paying dividends."
"Geno Smith is one of the better backups in the league."
Related: Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart
"Rashaad Penny and Ken Walker III give them enough in the backfield to move on if they have to."
"Poona Ford is really, really good inside. He's going to earn another contract."
"Jordyn Brooks is fast and hard hitting."
"Signing Uchenna Nwosu gives them a really competitive edge rusher."
"I like the Boye Mafe pick a lot."
"This is a nice safety tandem with Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs."
"Not in love with their corner situation."