680 KNBR audio: NFC West bests

Steven Jackson, Justin Smith, Larry Fitzgerald and CenturyLink Field came to mind when discussing NFC West "bests" with Dave Benz on 680 KNBR in San Francisco on Monday.

They've made available the audio.

I didn't have a firm answer when asked to identify the second-best wide receiver in the NFC West, after Fitzgerald. A healthy Sidney Rice would enter into the conversation. What about Michael Crabtree?

The coming season will provide welcome evidence.

In the meantime, I've put together a chart showing 2011 third-down conversion rates for NFC West wide receivers and tight ends, with columns showing how much distance was needed for a first down. Seattle's Doug Baldwin made 23 first downs on 42 targets for a 54.8 percent conversion rate. Each of those figures led the division.

NFC West teams ranked 24th (Seattle), 29th (Arizona), 31st (San Francisco) and 32nd (St. Louis) in overall third-down conversion rate.

Note that Vernon Davis is the only tight end listed, and that his percentage suffered from zero conversions in eight targets on third-and-10 or longer. The 49ers added Mario Manningham from the New York Giants, but he wasn't much of a factor on third down last season (eight first downs in 20 targets). Manningham's Giants teammate, Victor Cruz, converted 22 first downs in 36 third-down targets.

2011 NFC West WRs/TEs: Third-Down Conversions By Distance Needed (min. 15 targets)