2013 OTA and minicamp preview: Looking at the NFC West

USA TODAY Sports

The toughest division in football begins its battle with the spring minicamps. Let's look at how each team stacks up right now.

The 2013 NFL season is still pretty far over the horizon, but we're creeping closer to the starting line with the annual minicamps and OTAs. With the majority of camps slated to begin in the next couple of weeks, we're offering a little preview of what to expect from each team, going division-by-division.

Today, I'll take a look at the teams in the NFC West. Arguably the toughest division in football now, the NFC West sports three legitimate playoff contenders (and Arizona, but the Cards should be much improved). Every roster move is going to be critical after an intense arms race in the offseason. Let's look at how each team stacks up at the moment:

Arizona Cardinals

OTAs: May 14-16, 21-23, June 3-6
Rookie minicamp: May 10-12
Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

The Cardinals revamped their offense in the offseason, upgrading at guard with Jonathan Cooper and Earl Watford. They need to sort out a crowded backfield after drafting Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington to compete with Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams. New quarterback Carson Palmer should be a breath of fresh air after last year's four-man QB circus. Daryl Washington's recent arrest for aggravated assault will be an unnecessary distraction.

Complete Cardinals coverage: Revenge Of The Birds

St. Louis Rams

OTAs: May 21, 23-24, June 3-4, 6-7, 11, 13-14
Rookie minicamp: May 10-12
Mandatory minicamp: None

The Rams like West Virginia receivers so much they drafted two of them. Tavon Austin is the team's best playmaker since Torry Holt and can thrive with a creative playcaller. Together with college teammate Stedman Bailey and free agent signee Jared Cook, Sam Bradford has everything he needs to take the next step as a quarterback. Adding Jake Long to the offensive line won't hurt.

Complete Rams coverage: Turf Show Times

San Francisco 49ers

OTAs: May 21-23, 28-30, June 3-6
Rookie minicamp: May 10-12
Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

Last year's first round pick A.J. Jenkins is already on thin ice. He played sparingly in 2012 and the team has since then traded for Anquan Boldin and drafted Quinton Patton. Jenkins needs to show something in these camps if he wants to keep his roster spot. Don't expect to see much from rookies Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore as they recover from knee surgeries. The 49ers are dripping with talent and can afford to give both guys a "redshirt" season.

Complete 49ers coverage: Niners Nation

Seattle Seahawks

OTAs: May 20-21, 23, 28-29, 31, June 3-6
Rookie minicamp: May 10-12
Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

The Seahawks upgraded their defensive line with free agents Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. They are expected to work in a rotation alongisde Red Bryant and Bruce Irvin while Chris Clemons recovers from ACL surgery. One starter at outside linebacker needs to be determined after they let LeRoy Hill go. Malcolm Smith is the current front runner to win the job. Marshawn Lynch's DUI case is still looming, and if he's suspended by the league it will be up to Robert Turbin and Christine Michael to carry the load.

Complete Seahawks coverage: Field Gulls

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