Voting on the best safety in the NFC West

The NFC West finds itself in transition at safety as ESPN.com considers the best players in the game at the position.

The poll asks for your help in identifying which safety within the division projects as the best for 2011.

Consider this my voter information packet:

  • Arizona Cardinals: Adrian Wilson represents the past and present. He's coming off a down season and hip surgery amid expectations that he'll reemerge in 2011. Wilson is the prototypical old-school strong safety in terms of demeanor, hitting and power. With NFL passing games proliferating, there are times when more coverage-oriented safeties fare better. Teammate Kerry Rhodes had four interceptions and two fumble returns for touchdowns last season. He won't get Rex Ryan's vote in this poll, however.

  • Seattle Seahawks: Earl Thomas represents the future of the position in the NFC West after an impressive rookie season. Thomas, drafted 14th overall, was on pace for nearly 11 interceptions through Week 7. He finished with five and sometimes paid for his aggressiveness in coverage. Thomas can be a strong tackler and his range sets him apart from most others at the position. Teammate Lawyer Milloy had four sacks and 16 starts last season, but he turns 38 this season and does not have a contract.

  • San Francisco 49ers: Dashon Goldson could return as a restricted free agent or hit the market depending on what rules the NFL issues for free agency following the lockout. He was generally solid for the 49ers last season. All parties expected more, however, and the 49ers' pass defense struggled overall. Teammate Taylor Mays did not make a significant impact as a rookie after the 49ers selected him in the second round. Starting over in a new defense will not help him break through, particularly if the lockout keeps him off the practice field.

  • St. Louis Rams: The ball-hawking Oshiomogho Atogwe left the Rams for the Washington Redskins this offseason. The team doesn't have an obvious candidate for consideration here.

Vote away.