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Day 23: draft a PAC 12 offensive star

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If you could pick just one offensive player from another team, who would it be?

NCAA Football: Washington Spring Game Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

How many days until UW football?

NCAA Football: Washington Spring Game
Jordan Miller is ready to rumble.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Our 30 day countdown continues. Today we ask the question of who among all other PAC 12 players would you want to select if there were an open draft?

The rules for this poll are simple. First, let’s focus only on the offense. We already did this exercise for the defense last week. Second, offense technically includes the kicker and the punter positions, so they are in scope. Third, no QBs allowed. We can work a little harder than that. Plus, you don’t want to piss Jake Browning off. Am I right?

So, here are your candidates:

WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Oregon Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

If it didn’t come through loud and clear in my Gekko Files preview of the Sun Devils, I’m enamored with ASU’s N’Keal Harry. He’s a natural playmaker at the WR position who has all the tools necessary to become a PAC 12 Offensive Player of the Year kind of weapon. Size, hands, catch radius, and ability to generate YAC ... Harry is the whole package.

The last UW receiver to wear the moniker of “whole package” transitioned out of the program after being selected in the first round of the NFL draft last spring. John Ross will be tearing the hearts out of Cleveland Browns fans as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals and, in doing so, leaves a hole in the UW offense. What better replacement than a player the ilk of Harry? He’s a true sophomore who has at least two (if not three) years of sweet, sweet productivity left to offer his program. Purple would look good on him.

TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, USC

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Penn State vs Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Many Husky fans had not heard of Imatorbhebhe before he rolled up to Seattle with his USC teammates for a late season showdown with UW last season. After scorching the stout Husky D to the tune of 5 receptions for 78 yards and back-breaking touchdown, UW fans are effectively in the loop. The Florida transfer is a pass-catching, game-breaking weapon at the tight end position.

A guy like Imatorbhebhe could do some serious damage in the Husky offense. With the departure of John Ross, UW is looking for a weapon to take the heat off of leading returning receiver Dante Pettis. Tight end is a particularly important role in a Chris Petersen style of offense where versatility and deception are key principles. UW has a few young guys of Imatorbhebhe’s ilk - Michael Neal and Hunter Bryant are the kinds of receiving TEs that have similar games. But neither of those guys are ready to be the ying to the yang of UW’s excellent “blocking” tight ends in Drew Sample and Will Dissly. Thus, Imatorbhebhe would be an excellent fit if we were able to wave a magic, purple wand.

OL Cody O’Connell, Washington State

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It might seem like sacrilege to have a Coug on this list, but certain football players just cannot be ignored. This is especially true when that player is a 6’8” 375lb pre-season All American. OG Cody O’Connell projects as one of the best - if not THE BEST - offensive lineman prospect in the PAC 12 this year. He’s a huge man who possesses more athleticism than you think and is as strong as Babe the Blue Ox.

A 6’7” offensive guard might present a problem to a 6’1” QB like Jake Browning, but the benefits that you get in terms of pocket protection and run blocking is too great to ignore. A guy like O’Connell could plug right into either guard position and, along with partners like Trey Adams, Kaleb McGary and Coleman Shelton, make UW one of the best o-lines in the conference if not the country.

That O’Connell is a senior is a bit of a drawback as you’d only get one season out of him. In fact, UW is already expecting two (if not three) other starters to be gone by next season. Thus, a younger candidate might be a better candidate.

P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

NCAA Football: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to channel my inner Dick Baird here and give a little love to the kicking game. We all know that a great punter can be a real weapon, especially on a team that has a good defense. Mitch Wishnowsky is a good punter. In fact, the reigning Ray Guy award winner is the best punter in the nation.

The numbers are ridiculous. As a freshman, the Australian punter led the nation in punt average (48.6 yds) and net punting (45.2 yds). He also boomed a ridiculous 26 punts over 50 yards. While UW doesn’t punt as much as you most other PAC 12 teams (less than four a game last season), their effectiveness in that aspect of the game was not all that impressive - less than 40 yards per punt on average. Wishnowsky would be an instant upgrade, even if the number of opportunities he gets every week to impact the game are few.

The Pick

TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, USC

This was a tough one. Each one of the candidates above are excellent football players who occupy roles that UW could use reinforcement in. I was particularly conflicted with Harry because, as many of you know, I’m very high on his upside potential.

I went with Imatorbhebhe not because I’ve now learned how to spell his name without looking it up (which is an accomplishment to be sure) but because he is a passing game threat at TE the likes of which UW hasn’t seen since Austin Seferian-Jenkins was putting together his Mackey award winning season. At 245 lbs, Imatorbhebhe is clearly more of a receiver than a blocker. But he has the physical skills to be a factor as a deep threat and as an over-the-middle, sticks-moving, possession guy. His strong hands and catch radius are the best that I’ve seen among active PAC 12 tight ends.

Because a receiving threat at TE can do so much to open up the offense for both the rushing game and UW’s young receivers, I’d put Imatorbhebhe number one on my PAC 12 offensive player draft board.

What about you? Who do you take with that first pick if given the chance?

Poll

Who would you pick in a draft of PAC 12 offensive players if you could take just one?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    WR N’Keal Harry, ASU
    (209 votes)
  • 15%
    TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, USC
    (62 votes)
  • 23%
    OL Cody O’Connell, WSU
    (91 votes)
  • 7%
    P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
    (31 votes)
393 votes total Vote Now