What is Draftageddon: In place of a trite and useless preseason "best players in the Big Ten" series, we drafted teams out of the the same pool and got into detail about our picks and what makes them worth picking. If such an exercise isn't your bag, I implore you to skip this one; a roundtable-y informative thing will follow later.
Previously: opening round, stupid round, hair round, corners round, a lineman from Rutgers round, Hack round, Peppers round, a member of the Illini secondary is drafted round, terp round, guards round, backups round, dramatic round, punting round.
Now we defend our teams, and make fun of each other's. Then you vote for a winner.
THE HALF-COOKED BRIAN ZOOKS
*Miller (and a couple hits to Seth's Wildcats) happened too late for more supplemental picks
Brian: On offense, I attempted to fuse Wisconsin's core rushing offense into a spread. IE: I tried to replicate last year's Ohio State team. Miller and Gordon are the backfield, with Ferguson in the Wilson/Harvin role and Stephon Diggs being just terrifying on the outside. The OL: Wisconsin. Hooray. Base defense is your standard 4-3. I guess I'm in an over since I've got two similar defensive ends and no obvious on-the-line SAM.
Strengths: every second down is second and two. Every third down is a first down because we picked up eight yards on second and two. The defensive line is highly stout, with upside in spades; the corners are excellent.
|Brian got out of a Michael Rose pick and drafted every Michigan linebacker but the really good one.
Weaknesses: Pass protection. I don't have a left tackle. As we saw with Denard, though, having an incredible athlete at QB tends to turn pass rush off by itself. This was by design after I picked Miller and any true difference-maker tackles were gone by the next pick.
Also my safeties are both Northwestern safeties. And I guess I don't have a punter, but who cares.
Snarked by BiSB: Brian’s theory is pretty basic: find a unit that performed well, and draft The. Whole. Damn. Thing. Wisconsin runs the ball well? Take their running game. Michigan’s linebacker corps looks pretty okay? GOTTA GRAB ‘EM ALL (except for the best piece, of course, which I got). Northwestern’s secondary is outstanding on 3rd and 20? Say no more, give me them safeties.
The problem, of course, is that he’s left with a hodgepodge of assorted whatnot that doesn’t work together. Offensively, I don’t know what the hell Brian is. He took a spread option quarterback and outfitted him with a manball offensive line and running back. His receiving corp is a coming-off-an-injury Stefon Diggs, made-fewer-than-two-catches-per-game Jeff Heuerman, and… Tony Lippett? And of course there’s the whole two-vastly-different-quarterbacks thing he’s got going on with Hackenberg. After a year of lamenting an offensive system that lacked internal cohesion, you’re going to THIS? For shame, sir. For shame. You don’t DESERVE Kyle Prater.
On defense, Brian has a solid-ish defensive line, and absolutely nothing behind it in the middle of the field. His linebackers are Michigan’s current linebackers if you replaced Jake Ryan with
Michael Rose Joe Bolden. Does this sound like a good idea? No. No it does not. It does not sound like a good idea. But don’t worry, because Ibraheim Campbell and Traveon Henry are there to kinda keep the lid on. And again, you have your press-happy stud corner playing alongside a pair of bend-but-don’t-break safeties.
[Immediately after the jump, an image that will probably appear in all future Google searches for Ace Anbender, but just in case: Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender, Ace Anbender]
THE COVER WHO? CORNBENDERS
Ace: Despite my belief that I have the best group of receivers among us, my offense would definitely be a run-first outfit. The line is built for this—Brandon Scherff is a monster run-blocker, and other than Kaleb Johnson, an NFL prospect on a bad Rutgers line, the rest are played on excellent running teams. Ameer Abdullah is a heck of a feature back, Dontre Wilson can spot him in the backfield or go for misdirection with jet sweeps, and Connor Cook is juuuuust fast enough that I could even throw in a little zone read to mix things up. Then defenses have to figure out how to guard two massive targets in Devin Funchess and Maxx Williams, a speedy slot guy in Levern Jacobs, and a solid possession receiver in Tony Jones. All four of my receivers are pretty major threats in the screen game, too, which takes off what little pressure there is on Cook. Good luck guarding all that.
Base defense is a 4-3 over, since I don't have a rush linebacker type, but the key to this defense is its multiplicity/versatility, with a couple solid Cover 2 safeties (Jarrod Wilson and John Lowdermilk) holding things down on the back end. Against spread-to-run teams I can put Earnest Thomas out there as a rover and lift Quinton Alston; for spread-to-pass teams, Will Likely can get the starting nod at corner with Darian Hicks shifting down to nickel. Chi Chi Ariguzo and Matt Robinson (a former safety) are both excellent coverage linebackers; I made sure to draft corners that aren't averse to run support. Andre Monroe could play just about anywhere on the line, or even stand up as a rush LB. This defense could really come out in any number of looks depending on what type of offense they're going up against.
Snarked by Seth: Let me start with some great Ace picks: Scherff, Abdullah, Maxxxx, Monroe and Kilgo, Funchess, and some good targets around him (if Brian won't respect your NW Jones, I will, since it forced me to settle with Mac Kings). With so many bad options at safety, a boring one like Jarrod Wilson is fine. I concede Dontre Wilson.
But you took ETIII 63rd, and now you're explaining how (against our 3- and 4-wide spreads no less!) you're not really playing him except in rare nickel sets. You've got Chad Lindsay—a Bama castoff Michigan wanted because we're desperate and Ohio State wanted because Michigan was desperate—anchoring a haphazard OL of competing competencies. Your defense after the respectable DL is Northwestern Desmond Morgan,two crappy LBs, and a white Iowa safety [obligatory:
no that's not Lowdermilk but the whole point of Iowa safeties is they're all the same]
…who only knows how to Cover 2. And Connor Cook was good enough at executing freshman-level reads as a RS Soph; he also started more drives than any other QB in the country in his opponent's territory, and yet had a TD rate like Gary Nova. He's a fine QB, but conservative-wired Connor Cook is the exact wrong dude for a 4-wide, high-flying, only-one-side-is-blocking offense.
You picked up a lot of pieces to block the rest of us, but that just makes you the guy with a lot of mismatched properties and zero Monopolies. The half of your team that's mediocre makes the good half of your team really good irrelevant. You got the chess, but none of the the Fun!
BLUE IN EAST LANSI…LOOK PEPPERS!
BiSB: One word: flexibility. I think either Al Borges or Doug Nussmeier would like this team. I’ve got the weapons (Shane Wynn, Kenny Bell, Deon Long, and Tyler Kroft) to go three- and four-wide, as well as two quality backs in Jeremy Langford and Tevin Coleman. I also have the most balanced of duel threat quarterbacks in the conference. I don’t have a dominant offensive line, but my linemen are (almost) all mobile and athletic, and could operate either a man scheme or a zone scheme. Epping is a brick, but a pretty good one. Offensively, I live and die with Devin Gardner, which feels… familiar.
Where I’m going to win this league is on defense, where I have bona fide stars on every level. I’d argue I have the best defensive lineman (Joey Bosa), the best linebacker (Jake Ryan), and the best defensive back (unnamed Michigan State guy) in the conference. Given the composition of my defensive line, I’ll be playing a 4-man front, and having Jake Ryan makes it tempting to play an Under. I have the best front seven in the league, hands down. And when the biggest question mark on one’s team is “is Jabrill Peppers athletic enough to play boundary corner,” life if pretty okay.
Thing I am like:
Snarked by Ace: Anyway, BiSB's Fightin' Drummonds boasts the most solid defense of our group, but I can't get past the lack of offensive weapons outside of Devin Gardner and Tevin Coleman (which, admittedly, is a very strong start, but these are all-star teams). We've been busy snarking Seth for having (yawwwwwn) Christian Jones as his top wideout, but can we turn our attention to Kenny Bell for a moment? He's BiSB's top target, and there's a very good argument to be made that my fifth receiving option is flat-out better. Even when accounting for Nebraska's crappy QB situation, Bell had a rough year in 2013, and with Quincy Enunwa no longer attracting the opponent's top corner there's no guarantee he regains the form he had in 2012. Shane Wynn needs to go from #3 option to #1 option on Indiana, no small feat for a tiny slot bug. Deon Long is the fourth-best receiver on his own team. Tyler Kroft was a nice late pick at tight end, but I don't think he's on the level of Heuerman or MAXX. The passing game underwhelms here.
BiSB will assert that his defense is just fine with Jabrill Peppers at boundary corner, and while that very well may be true, we'll have no way of knowing that this year with Peppers lining up at either nickel or strong safety. Things get really dicey if you're not convinced a true freshman is ready to start right away at cornerback—with a freshman Charles Woodson, Michigan finished a meh 29th in pass efficiency defense in 1995, and he started across from a senior Clarence Thompson. Other than Sojourn Shelton, there isn't a cornerback on the roster. Maybe BiSB can try Sean Davis there when RJ Williamson inevitably outperforms him at strong safety? Oh, right, that would be a disaster.
SPACEBALL SETH AND THE WOUNDED WILDCATS
*Mark has since decided to transfer too, and Christian Jones is out for the season. Blake Countess is fine but might have been pushed out of the starting role. If you're asking if I'm upset that key skill players on the offenses of Michigan opponents are disappearing while one really good Wolverine CB may have been passed by two better ones, no, I'm not upset at all.
Seth: What kind of team? Well first of all it's a TEAM. Offensively, it's a hyperspeed spread-n-shred outfit that's built from the inside-out; even if some of the skill pieces aren't as flashy (or present), it's not the Big Ten's defensive backs I thought I needed to answer so much as those DL. My focus was on building an offensive line of smart, experienced, talented, agile dudes who know how to run an up-tempo spread. You look at a guy like Vitabile—he's run this offense for four years, he's spent the last three in All Big Ten land, and he's going to the NFL. If the last few years have taught us anything, a great center in a cohesive offense is worth letting any 10 receivers go off the board.
Which I did, but got myself role players who can stretch that defense vertically to keep things operating underneath. Jesse James's size and Kings's route-running can add pressure there, and that makes space for the home run hitters in the backfield.
|Countess may be relegated to nickel or rotation duties this year; weirdly this is a good thing. [Upchurch]
On defense, it's a base nickel under (figuring these are all spreads I'm going against), which alignment gets Gregory (WDE) and Bennett (3T)—just the two best DL in the conference—a lot of single blocks. Rush (5T) and Herring (NT) are no-mistake complements. In a weak LB draft Longa and T.Jones were a steal. My HSP is the starter but in 4-3 sets Davis (SAM) can be another edge terror opposite Gregory. Those guys should get enough time to do their thing, because in a draft where secondary holes are a dime a dozen I got Amos-Cooper-Murray-Countess-Caputo.
Also I have a punter who can punt, and he's also a kicker who can kick.
Snarked by Brian: Seth, let's just sit and think for a moment about cleverness. It is clear that from pick one you were setting your team up to be CLEVER so that when the final reveal was made you could say "I made Indiana's offense," figuring that the appropriate bits to do that would be undervalued.
In doing so, you picked Venric Mark over not only Melvin Gordon but Ameer Abdullah, who is like Venric Mark except he played football last year. That is too clever by half, and is thus not clever. And then, like... Christian Jones? This year's completely replaceable Northwestern WR? Brandon Vitabile? A completely replaceable center to go with another center? And then you just talked epic shit about everyone else... this was the thing, Seth. Your offense is a collection of middling talents that look nice statistically because of tempo and structure, and y'all be trashing Ace for having Scherrf/Funchess/Abdullah.
On D... actually you're pretty much fine there. Taiwan Jones was a massive reach, but the Caputo HSP pick was very good late. Murray is probably fine. But they're just going to be on the field all the time when your offense goes sploot.
Who won? You decide. In…… EPIC DRFFFT BTTTSARRRISTERRRRERR