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NFC West power rankings: Seahawks lead the way among linebackers

Continuing our team rankings by position, the division champs are tops at this position, too.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we finally got to see the St. Louis Rams atop one positional ranking in the division -- the defensive line. But today we move to the linebackers. How do the teams stack up entering this season?

1. Seattle Seahawks: Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright

With the retirement of Patrick Willis in San Francisco, Seattle now has the class of the division. The NFC West has some really good players in the middle of the defense for each team, but there should be no doubt who leads the way -- it is Wagner. He is what takes the front seven for the Seahawks and makes it great.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Aaron Lynch, Ahmad Brooks

Despite losing both Willis and Chris Borland to retirement, the talent is still there both inside and out. If Bowman is fully recovered, he is a difference maker. Smith is one of the most talented pass rushers, although we will see his impact with Justin Smith also retired and now unable to keep Aldon clean off the edge. But Lynch and Wilhoite have also proven their worth.

3. St. Louis Rams: Alec Ogletree, James Laurenitis, Jo-Lonn Dunbar

Laurenitis is one of the best players to not get much attention. But he makes plays. Ogletree is also a tackle machiene. The Rams get the nod here over the Cardinals because of so many unknowns in Arizona.

4. Arizona Cardinals: Alex Okafor, Sean Weatherspoon, Kevin Minter, LaMarr Woodley

OK, the last OLB spot is a mystery. We really don't know who will land it. Will it be the aging Woodley? Will it be special teams ace Lorenzo Alexander, who was the base starter all spring? Or will it be last year's third round pick Kareem Martin or one of the rookies -- Markus Golden, Shaq Riddick or Zack Wagenmann? Weatherspoon, if healthy, is dynamic, but he hasn't been healthy in years, so we can't count on that. Okafor proved to be an able pass rusher. If Daryl Washington were able to be on this list, Arizona would be ranked much higher.