That was a question we asked on the blog last week, admittedly ripping off an idea from a series of stories produced by ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog.
ESPN.com’s Ted Miller responded with his choice earlier this week, agreeing with the pick of the voters here of defensive tackle Danny Shelton.
As a quick refresher, Miller was asking which player is the most important on each Pac-12 team other than quarterback, which would be the obvious choice for basically every school. Before he could get to his UW choice, I asked voters of this blog to make their own choice.
Voters on this blog picked it this way:
1, Shelton, with 28.55 percent of the vote;
2, WR Kasen Williams (20.5);
3, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (18.45);
4, C Drew Schaefer (16.69);
5, S Sean Parker (5.25);
6, CB Desmond Trufant (5.09).
And other, with 5.47.
Miller said he was going to go with Schaefer, but in part after reading the poll here, decided to go with Shelton (who knew the power of this blog?)
I’d actually have gone with Miller’s first choice — Schaefer. I agree with what Miller and voters said about the potential impact of Shelton. But the offensive line has suddenly become real worrisome with the loss of Colin Porter, and already needing to replace Senio Kelemete.
As we’ve seen this spring, it doesn’t take much for the depth up front to get real thin — and it’s not too realistic to expect any of the newcomers to make a huge impact this fall, I don’t think. Schaefer is the wily veteran keeping it all together up front, and as such, I think his importance may be as great as anyone else on the list.
In the category of “other,” I few of you wrote that I should have included left tackle Micah Hatchie, since that position is generally so important. No argument from me about the importance of a left tackle. But I think the best answers to this question are those players who combine an important position with some known productivity. While reports of his progress this spring have been positive, we haven’t seen enough yet of Hatchie in a game to know that he will perform to a certain level, as we have with everyone else on this list. Even Shelton, while starting just two games last year, played enough to make it clear that he can perform to a high enough of a level that if he were suddenly not there, his absence would be greatly felt.
For now, this is just conjecture. It’ll be interesting to review this list come November and see if people would vote differently then.