Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2009 Tuesdays--A Glimpse at the WR situation [Updated]

by: Chris Sullivan

Well guys, we apologize for the delay. Michael is still swamped with his master's project.

Today, I thought we should take a look at how the wide receivers might be shaping up for next year. We have seen Ruskell remake a different section of the team each year (with mixed success, some might argue), and I think the odds-on favorite for the 2009 revamp is the wide receiver corps. First, let's take a look at what our options will be. I've ranked [loosely] the current Seahawk receivers, the top five options from the Draft, and the top five options out of free agency.

Rank WR Comments
1 Bobby Engram Excellent when healthy, aging
2 Deion Branch Has been injury-prone and mediocre
3 Nate Burleson Improved in '07, missed in '08
4 Logan Payne Ruskell loves him; slot guy
5 Koren Robinson Strong, but drop-prone

So, this information is nothing new. I think there is, at best, a 50% chance that Bobby stays with the Hawks in 2009. I hope he does. Ruskell has not been willing to negotiate with him, and let's be honest, Bobby has been injured a lot over the last five years--we will not pay him based on 2007 alone. I imagine we'll make him an offer, and that will be that. Branch will likely stay on through next year, but who knows? Burleson has done nothing to lose his spot, and really emerged as a favorite target for Hasselbeck in '07. He's on the squad. At this point, I see Logan Payne and Jordan Kent again fighting it out for a spot or two on the team, and I have to imagine it is more likely Payne than Kent. Finally, we've got Koren Robinson whom I still like a lot. I'd love to see K-Rob stick around, but he was hired back begrudgingly and has continued his drops. He's had flashes of brilliance too, but I don't think it's very likely that he is a Hawk next year.

Rank WR Comments
1 Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech) 6'3", 214 lbs, 4.55 40-yd dash
2 Louis Murphy (Florida) 6'1", 195 lbs, 4.40
3 Derrick Williams (Penn St) 6'0", 194 lbs, 4.45
4 Juaquain Iglesias (Oklahoma) 6'0", 194 lbs, 4.45
5 Brian Robiskie (Ohio St) 6'3", 190 lbs, 4.50

I think everyone is hoping at this point that the Hawks grab Michael Crabtree in the first, but we can assume he'll be a top 10 pick (if he does indeed declare--he's still an underclassman). I think it's more likely that we go after another position (OT or DB) in the first or trade down for two first rounders. I like Brian Robiskie a lot, even if he is a Buckeye, and his size is something that Hasselbeck hasn't had in years. He's smaller (but a little faster) than Crabtree--less dominant, but would likely fit into our offense a bit better and could be grabbed in the second or third round. Louis Murphy is another stud, but like Crabtree may well be a bit more than Ruskell will give up for a WR.

Rank WR Comments
1 TJ Houshmanzadeh (Cincinatti) A stud in Cincy, which says a lot
2 Antonio Bryant (TB Bucs) Great year after mediocrity. Promising.
3 Devery Henderson (NO Saints) Nice deep threat, very fast
4 Nate Washington (Pittsburgh) Pretty solid receiver, #2 or 4, potentially
5 Malcom Floyd (SD Chargers) 6'4" has been solid this year. Young.

The free agents this year are actually pretty strong, but in recent years the best guys have often been resigned by their current teams. Out of this crew I like Bryant, Henderson, and Floyd the most. Housh is great, yes, but his price tag is likely out of our league.


So, that's that. Based on the above, I would say a likely scenario would be:
  1. Burleson
  2. Branch
  3. Payne
  4. Robiskie
  5. Kent
and an exciting (and tall) scenario would be:
  1. Burleson
  2. Crabtree/Bryant
  3. Payne
  4. Floyd/Crabtree
  5. Kent
What do you guys think? Who did we miss?

UPDATE: A lot of you guys caught one that I dumbly missed: Ben Obamanu. I imagine Obo will fill in for Kent or Payne in either of those scenarios.