Best young linebacker after Patrick Willis

Patrick Willis sets the standard for linebackers in the NFC West -- and in the NFL overall.

The rest of the division has invested considerable resources in the position over the past two drafts.

I'll be putting together an item for Wednesday looking at which of these highly drafted young prospects has the brightest future. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. has already shared his opinions. I'll use those Wednesday along with the accompanying poll and the comments left following this entry as well, so don't hold back.

The Seattle Seahawks' Aaron Curry, the St. Louis Rams' James Laurinaitis and the Arizona Cardinals' Daryl Washington are the three young linebackers in question. Each was selected in the first two rounds of the two most recent NFL drafts. Each has become a starter.

Curry has the rawest physical talent. Laurinaitis appears to have the best instincts. Washington has played the least, but he flashed ability during his rookie season.

There are other young linebackers in the division, obviously, but focusing on these three made sense given their age and the expectations that came with their draft statuses.