Never mind the bollocks -- here's the offense!
Certainly interesting that all four picks in our back-and-forth have been defensive players, but I'd imagine that John and I are both under the impression that Ruskell isn't looking to build the 2007 Patriots here -- he'd much rather have the 2002 Bucs he helped create. A dominant defense, and an offense good enough to win. So, let's talk about the aerial component of that offense. Last year's faceplant was led by two unbelievable injury waves -- an offensive line in which all five starters wound up on injured reserve, and a receiver corps that was down to nothing seemingly before the season even started.
Through the era of greatness, Seattle's air attack was defined by Bobby Engram. In the Super Bowl year, he was the team's leading receiver. He was always Matt Hasselbeck's optimal bailout guy, the one he could count on among the surface-talented, ball-dropping blockheads and 12th-round SEC projects. But Mr. Third Down is gone. The cupboard seems to be stacked in Engram's absence, but that's only without the microscope. Nate Burleson is just as capable of inconsistent route-running as he is the highlight touchdown catch. Deion Branch is a 2-to-1 bet to lose a season after blowing a knee tripping over a blade of grass. T.J. Whosyourmama is an outstanding flanker/slot hybrid who can make the tough catch over the middle and is just as good blocking down the seam. That slot position, so crucial to whatever brand of the West Coast Offense Seattle's running these days, remains undefined.
Third Round (68) - Juaquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma
It's fairly common for offenses (especially college offenses) to be tailored to the skills of one player, but the change seen in Norman, Oklahoma over the last three years has been nothing short of galvanic. In transitioning from Adrian Peterson to Sam Bradford as the face of the offense, the Sooners went from 2,682 passing yards in 2006, to 3,615 in 2007, to 4,891 in 2008 -- from 340 to 401 to 517 attempts. This ain't no Bud Wilkinson three-yards-and-a-cloud offense -- the new Okies are just as prone to go five-wide on your ass and score 60+ points in game after game. And the root of all that dynamism, aside from Bradford and the best offensive line in college football, has been Juaquin Iglesias -- the 6-1, 210-pound Texas native who led the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2007 and 2008.
He's seen as a third-round prospect for a few reasons. There are serious questions about his straight-line speed, and whether he can beat press coverage without the benefit of a system that forced defenses to bail out all the time. But there are two things that caught my eye. First, his ability to get the first move at the snap -- he's very quick off the line, and he's great at using angles to avoid the press altogether. Second, when you watch his YouTubeage, check out how he beats first contact and picks up extra yards. These are the things that separate real slot specialists from guys with good hands who just can't run a 4.3-40. An impressive route-runner with the ability to fill a role sooner than later in the pros, Iglesias would find himself climbing the depth chart in Seattle as the glue over the middle.
Oh -- and in 2008, he converted 19 of the 22 third downs in which he was the target. Sound familiar?