Mike Holmgren's Greatest Managerial Achievement

Mike Holmgren selected Steve Hutchinson 17th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft, seven picks after selecting Koren Robinson and 23 picks before he selected Ken Lucas. If Robinson could have kept off the bottle, that would have been a hell of a start to a draft. He swapped first round picks with Green Bay for Matt Hasselbeck, drafted Heath Evans, Alex Bannister, and John David Booty's older brother, Josh.

Holmgren built the 2005 offense that weekend. He won the draft. In a draft that produced someday Hall of Fame candidates: Richard Seymour, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Hutchinson, Casey Hampton, Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne and Adrian Wilson, Holmgren won. The Panthers picked Dan Morgan, Kris Jenkins and Steve Smith with their first, second and third round selections, but still Holmgren's was better. He built the unit that would lead Seattle to its first and only Super Bowl.

Well, not quite.

The Bears cut Bobby Engram August 29 and Holmgren signed him August 31. Engram signed a two-year contract that paid him less than $500,000 annually. He was the 101st highest paid receiver in 2001.

Engram received a 60k raise his second season and took on punt return duties to compensate. He averaged 10.7 yards per return and returned one to the house. That was the season Engram became the darling of Football Outsiders metrics. Targets to Engram ranked 26th in total value and 13th in value per target. He was ninth and second in 2003.

Holmgren struggled to fill out a roster and his teams were notoriously thin and talent poor defensively, but man did that man know early 21st-century offense. He squeezed maximum value from slot receivers. Engram wasn't some schlub. He won the first ever Biletnikof trophy in 1994 and still holds most of Penn State's receiving records. Unlike Deon Butler, Engram wasn't a steady four-year starter with time to burn. Joe Paterno suspended him for the entire 1992 season after he was caught burglarizing an apartment and stealing a stereo with teammate Ricky Sayles. All charges were dropped against Engram after police determined Sayles convinced Engram the two were allowed to take the stereo.

The 1996 draft class included Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison, Marvin Harrison, Eric Moulds, Terrell Owens, Muhsin Muhammad, Amani Toomer and Joe Horn. Engram was the eighth wide receiver selected, behind Johnson, Glenn, Kennison, Harrison, Moulds, Alex Van Dyke, Bryan Still and Muhammad. Engram never broke through with the Bears, struggling to receive for 38 year old Dave Krieg, Eric Kramer, Rick Mirer, Steve Stentstrom, Cade "AIDS" McNown and Shane Matthews, but he was good. Engram ended his career with Chicago with consecutive seasons of over 900 yards receiving before an ACL tear ended his 2000 season.

Holmgren didn't cash in a high pick or find a serviceable safety in the second, the kind of feats any GM can stumble into, he did that thing that separates the best general managers from the merely competent: found freely available talent and turned it into a long term asset.

Engram is a free agent after Kansas City cut him earlier this season. His time with the Chiefs was a tornado-obliterated double wide in a Rolls Royce career. Or maybe an efficient Elise is more Bobby's style. His short stop in the nation's dust mite might and probably will end Engram's fourteen-year career.

But maybe week 17, should the Tennessee Titans be out of it, Seattle can IR Patrick Kerney and sign Engram for one last perfectly-timed, Hasselbeck-to-Engram curl route for eight and the first.

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