NFL Summer: Sizing up the NFC West

ESPN has kicked off "Hill & Schlereth's NFL Summer" with a look at the NFC West this week.

An interview with St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead gets things going. Snead keeps the usual offseason excitement in perspective by pointing out how the Rams' status as the NFL's youngest team comes with a price: inexperience.

This audio clip transitions away from Snead to Mark Schlereth's thoughts on the division.

Schlereth picks the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West with a record around 11-5 based on their championship-caliber defense, Alex Smith's improvement and the personnel upgrades the team made on offense. He thinks Smith is the best quarterback in the division right now. He also thinks the rest of the division got better this offseason.

Schlereth apparently disagrees with my contention that the Seahawks could have "hidden treasure" at wide receiver. He calls into question Mike Williams' credentials as a No. 2 receiver while downgrading the position overall. I don't think the Seahawks are counting on Williams (his roster spot does not appear assured, in my view). But if some of the younger players fail to develop -- Golden Tate comes to mind -- Schlereth could be right about the position overall. Sidney Rice's durability is another legitimate question mark.

We should have additional segments to post as the week continues.