The NFC West bloggers from the FanSided Sports Network are working together to create a team featuring the best players from the division. Check out analysis on other positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, and offensive guard.
One center will be selected to represent the NFC West. Feel free to share your opinion, and don’t forget to vote!
Arizona Cardinals: Lyle Sendlein
Sendlein, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2007 as an undrafted free agent, has started every game at center the past two seasons. Although he is far from an elite starter in the league, he has steadily improved and is very durable and consistent. He is at his best during pass protection, allowing only one sack last season.
San Francisco 49ers: Eric Heitmann
Heitmann has been a consistent start on San Francisco’s offensive line since he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2002 NFL Draft. After playing several different positions, Heitmann settled in as the starting center in 2006. At 6-foot-3, 312 pounds, Heitmann has good size but is not particular strong or quick. Despite his physical limitations, however, he shows good ability and has developed into a good center for the 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks: Chris Spencer
A former first-round pick, Spencer has mostly been a disappointment for the Seahawks. He returns as the starting center for the fourth consecutive year, however, and could find new success in Alex Gibbs’ zone-blocking scheme. Spencer is a good athlete and moves well, but he has had difficulties staying on the field. If he can stay healthy, there is a chance Spencer could finally become the starting center the Seahawks envisioned when they drafted him in 2005.
St. Louis Rams: Jason Brown
Last year, the Rams signed Brown to a five-year, $37.5 million contract. With the acquisition, the Rams seemed to have found their starting center for the foreseeable future. At 6-foot-3, 328 pounds, Brown has the size and power to open holes in the running game. For his size, he is also impressive at pulling and getting to the second level. He has not missed a start in three seasons.
I don’t think there is an elite center in the NFC West. Most of the starting centers in the division are probably above average at best.
I’d love to see Chris Spencer find success under the tutelage of Alex Gibbs, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
If I had to pick a starting center from the field of four, I would probably choose Eric Heitmann. There are certainly better options around the league, but Heitmann quietly impresses and does a solid job for San Francisco. Brown and Sendlein are good options, but I think I’d prefer Heitmann. I just can’t convince myself to vote for Chris Spencer.