Until proven otherwise, I will continue to believe that Tim Ruskell is more clueless about how to build an offense than Mike Holmgren ever was about how to build a defense. I may do a deeper dive on this topic, but for tonight, let’s take a look at just one position that he has completely and utterly screwed up, running back.
Ruskell inherited Shaun Alexander during what became his MVP season. Let’s look at the running backs Ruskell has passed up each season in the draft:
2008 Seahawks 1st Round Pick (28) – Lawrence Jackson Matt Forte (44th) 1,238 yards rushing, 1,715 total yards from scrimmage Ray Rice (55th) Beat out Willis McGahee to be 2009 Ravens starting RB Kevin Smith (64th) Started for Lions and rushed for 976 yards and 8 TD Steve Slaton (89th) Led all rookies in rushing with 1,282 yards (4.8 YPC) and added 50 receptions for 377 yards Tim Hightower (149th) Became Cardinals starter and scored 10 TDs
And let’s not forget free agency where Michael Turner signed a $15M guaranteed contract and rushed for nearly 1,700 yards while Ruskell spent ~$15M to sign TJ Duckett and Julius Jones.
2006 (2007 wasn’t much to look at) Seahawks 1st Round Pick (31) – Kelly Jennings LenDale White (45th) 1,110 yards rushing and 7 TDs in 2007, 773 yards rushing and 15 TDs in 2008 Maurice Jones-Drew (60th) 941 yards and 15 TDs in 2006, 768 and 9 in 2007, 824 and 14 in 2008 Jerrious Norwood (79th) led the NFL in YPC at 6.4 in 2006, 6.1 in 2007, and was strong at 5.1 in 2008
I can’t even bring myself to look at the 2005 draft when we took Chris Spencer in the first round. You could argue Ruskell wouldn’t be thinking to draft at that position then due to Shaun and Mo Morris, but that hasn’t stopped him from drafting defensive ends by the boat load. This is just a total fail for Ruskell. Youth dominates at the running back position like no other in the NFL. It’s a position you can fill for cheap through the draft, yet we keep trying to solve it through free agency. Give up one Darryl Tapp, Josh Wilson, Lawrence Jackson, Kelly Jennings for one of these guys and we are a different team. 2008, in particular, was known to be a strong RB draft and we drafted…Justin Forsett in the 7th. That’s it. Look at the quality teams got in later rounds.