Veteran QB mentors: NFC West and beyond

Moderately accomplished quarterbacks are more likely than great ones to mentor a young prospect, in my view.

They have less to lose.

The "Outside the Lines" video above provides fresh and archived interviews with NFC West alums Joe Montana, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer while taking a closer look at the dynamics. Montana wasn't interested in mentoring Young for obvious competitive reasons. Dilfer warmed to mentoring Matt Hasselbeck.

Young NFC West quarterbacks are largely without veteran mentors heading toward the 2012 season.

San Francisco 49ers starter Alex Smith might be the closest thing to a mentor in the division. He has the experience and personality to become a resource for second-year pro Colin Kaepernick. To what degree that has happened, I'm not sure. Smith returns as the starter, but the situation is competitive, too.

The St. Louis Rams have no veteran mentor for Sam Bradford. The Arizona Cardinals have none for Kevin Kolb or John Skelton. The Seattle Seahawks have none for new quarterback Matt Flynn, although Tarvaris Jackson is nearly 3 years older and does have 34 career regular-season starts.

Having a veteran backup as a resource makes sense in theory, especially when his presence isn't seen as an imminent threat to the young starter's job security.

Among NFC West teams, the Rams would seem to benefit the most from adding a veteran backup. They're the one team in the division with a young starter and no plans for competition at the position.

Current backup Kellen Clemens has only 12 career starts, but he does have considerable knowledge of the offensive system Bradford is learning for the first time.

The chart reflects Flynn's status as the expected starter. He has not yet won the job, however.

NFC West QB Depth Charts