Big Ten Draft O' Snark: The Ludicrous Speed

Big Ten Draft O' Snark: The Ludicrous Speed

Submitted by Brian on August 13th, 2012 at 11:01 AM

PREVIOUSLY ON "MGOBLOG WRITERS DRAFT TEAMS COMPRISED OF BIG TEN PLAYERS IN AN EFFORT TO IMPRESS ONLOOKERS":

HEIKO did some crazy stuff, then stopped being that crazy. He'll probably stop doing crazy stuff entirely at this point.

ACE started drafting Wisconsin players, then started drafting MSU players, then had a tiny Bret Bielema head sprout from his shoulder. He'll probably stop drafting Wisconsin players because this seems like a poor development for a single guy.

SETH got Denard, then started being a homer for the Michigan offensive line.

BRIAN got stuck with Scheelhaase, tried to murder everyone else's quarterbacks with pass rush, and retired to his underground bunker to plot evilly.

READERS inadvertently learned stuff about the league.

WE PICK UP OUR BRAVE DRAFTERS just after the start of ROUND EIGHT. HEIKO is on the clock in the PRESIDENTIAL SUITE of the ISHPEMING RED ROOF INN. He paces back and forth, remembering the horrible nightmares he had just hours ago. Nightmares about… about… Gibbons/Broekhuizen 2010.

ED-S: Google Doc lives here.

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HEIKO

[ED: the following pre-pick comments are in re: my concern about a lack of Wolverines.]

Could be worse. We could be Nebraska, whose quarterback I turned into a running back and whose school record-setting running back is being coveted by nobody.

On the other hand...

images[3]PICK: Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: So I see we're supposed to take two kickers, huh (see first email). What if I only need one? That would totally free up a spot to take another player, like another quarterback, perhaps. Boy do I love me those quarterbacks, so that's why I'm going to go ahead and take Brett Maher right now before someone else steals my genius idea. Maher has the B1G's best leg, period. He can kick off, punt, and PUT IT THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS AHHHH. Last season he averaged 44.5 yards/punt (best in B1G) and made 19/23 FGs (2nd best % in B1G). Those performances got him first team All-America recognition in both kicking categories, and this season he's the favorite for both the Ray Guy Award (best punter in the nation) and the Lou Groza Award (best kicker in the nation). Shall I continue? He's really good, you guys.

SNARK: Don't waste your time -- there are no other dual-threat kickers in the league. I already looked. The closest thing you'll get is Michigan's Matt Wile (hypothetically), but just know that Matt Wile got beaten out for placekicker by Brendan Gibbons.

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ACE

UW Northwestern FootballPICK: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin

CURRENT O:  Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OL, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Taylor led the conference with 150 tackles last season from his weakside spot, nine of those going for a loss. He and Borland should once again combine to flirt with 300 tackles and 30 TFL, helping to cover for potential interior D-line deficiencies, which is nice since I currently don't have an interior D-line. Also, Aceconsin.

SNARK: Heiko, your shenanigans started as cheeky and fun. Now they're just cruel and tragic.

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SETH

Michigan fear? Well to be honest only MSU looks as good as Michigan on my draft board. And even if you have the 1997 Michigan defense (which they don't) you need at least a Brian Griese to run the table. So no, not worried.

Michael Williams Gerald Hodges Alabama v Penn wSH_aZomBDJl[1]PICKS: Gerald Hodges, linebacker, The Former Pennsylvanian Republic of State College and Happy Valley; and Jordan Kovacs, safety, Michigan [ed: fist shaking!]

CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, MICH), Michael Schofield (OT, MICH) [I swear you'll get some friends soon guys, really]

CURRENT D:  Kawann Short (3T, PUR), Johnathan Hankins (NT, OSU), Marcus Rush (DE, MSU), Jonathan Brown (MLB, ILL), Gerald Hodges (SLB, PSU), Jordan Kovacs (SS, MICH), Micah Hyde (CB, IOWA)

EXPLANATION (SCREW BREVITY): Purveyors of UFR and opponent previews can go gaga for various Larry Footes, but the speedster I had first on my draft board at OLB is the guy Penn State fans call the latest great Linebacker of Linebacklehem, and national pundits call a Butkus candidate. Give reality its standard Penn State Fan and national pundits discount and he's still a dude with 106 tackles (mostly solo) and totally non-FAKE 4.48 speed.

While he looks kind of like a safety, he put enough time in the weight room to be this offseason's second-most likely person to be mentioned in an article concerning State College athletic facilities. He also generated 10 TFLs and 4.5 sacks, those backfield numbers coming mostly from plays where he was blowing up bubble screens (including one ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FIELD!). When he did blitz--not nearly often enough--he had a Shawn Crable-like ability to knife past blockers before they're out of their stances. On my defense he's going to be what we wish (in the wishiest of wishes) Cam Gordon could be: a tall, north-south-east-west SAM who shuts down the slot and also does the Crable things.

Jordan Kovacs vs WMU[1]And Kovacs: The only possible explanation for the far and away best player (next is either Ibraheim Campbell or Christian Bryant) at such an important defensive position slipping this far is that he's a walk-on from some school nobody's ever heard of. A quick search of opponent message boards will teach you all you need know about Kovacs, which is that he's a walk-on who walked onto the team as a student body walk-on, and only played since his freshman year because his nowhere team didn't have any scholarship players after they all ran off because of Rich Rod.

He's probably short and white and slow and has to be carried in coverage, and is only on my team because I want journalists to have a feelgood Gritty McGritterson with LEADERSHIP™ story to write about after those games when I've held my opponent under 100 yards. That plus he's the best tackler in the Big Ten, and can diagnose the offense's play up to 3.2 milliseconds after they break the huddle.

SNARK: That's right, Ace, 150 tackles for Mike Taylor: 60 unassisted, and 90 when he leapt onto an already-coagulating pile of bodies because somebody told him there was cheese in there. In Soviet Russia every comrade get tackle assist.

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ACE

l4860635[1]PICK: Ricardo Allen, cornerback, Purdue

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OL, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: With Johnny Adams providing strong run support for me on the boundary, I can go with the small (5'9", 186) but aggressive Allen, who has started every game for Purdue in his first two seasons. Despite his lack of size, Allen is known for his press coverage, and with three interceptions in each of his first two years—three of which he returned for touchdowns—he's got a knack for the big play. Allen is no slouch against the run, either, with 60 solo tackles in 2011; you could blame poor coverage for that high total, but I'll point to the non-Kawaan Short portion of the Purdue defense. I'd worry about this pick a bit if any team could field two big, playmaking wide receivers, but unless you're really drinking the DG Kool-Aid there aren't two in the entire conference, let alone on any one team in this draft.

SNARK: Interesting that you should point out the solo tackle numbers, Seth, since Borland and Taylor are first and third, respectively, among returning B1G players in that very statistic. Let's not blame them for happening to regularly converge on the ballcarrier at the same time.

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HEIKO

10077400-large[1]PICK: Isaiah Lewis, S, Michigan State

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Isaiah Lewis (S, MSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Not that you guys have any receivers to cover, but just to insure against some random walk-on (note that I did not say "white guy," though they do sound similar) running loose in the secondary, I'll take Isaiah Lewis. He's the best free safety in the B1G with 74 tackles and 4 INTs (two of which were returned for TDs) last season. More importantly I didn't want to get stuck with Ibraheim Campbell, whose stock is inflated because he intercepted two of Denard's backfoot throws. Whoopty-doo. I remember him more prominently as being on the losing end of a Junior Hemingway jump ball, but then again, who wasn't?

SNARK: You guys are so predictable. Brian's next two picks: Ibraheim Campbell and C.J. Barnett.

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BRIAN

University-of-Michigan-player-Fitzgerald-Toussaint[1]

CJ Barnett is the safety guy futilely chasing Toussaint. I mention this on a whim only.
BONUS: yeah, that's Shazier behind Toussiant, too.

PICKS: Fitzgerald Toussaint, M, RB, and LeVeon Bell, HB/FB, Michigan State

CURRENT O: Nathan Scheelhaase (QB, ILL), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB, M), LeVeon Bell (HB/FB, MSU), Jared Abbrederis (WR, UW), Taylor Lewan(LT, M)

CURRENT D: John Simon (DE, OSU), Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois), Jake Ryan (LB, M), Denicos Allen (LB, MSU), Terry Hawthorne (CB, ILL)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Seth is probably going to be mad since he expected the two of us to play chicken with the tailbacks for a while longer, but I'm going to push Bell to my spread's "superback" slot—think Owen Schmitt—and pick up the two most productive runners in the league not being gently escorted to the endzone by Wisconsin's offensive line. I'd rather have the two guys averaging 5.2 YPC than Burkhead and his durable but incredibly boring production.

You probably know about Toussaint, who is Mike Hart but fast but not as powerful and more likely to be suspended. After battling through injuries for most of his career he took off after his inexplicable two carries against MSU. He cracked 100 yards in four of the final six games, only failing to make it against Iowa (when the offense devolved into an under-center I-form attack that Michigan couldn't block for) and Virginia Tech. That latter was an all-around collapse not traceable to Toussaint. When healthy, Toussaint can juke in a phone booth and set sail for the endzone after doing so. He's a natural fit for a spread and should go over 1000 yards easily this year as long as he calls a cab when he should. BONUS: Toussaint has not fumbled yet.

leveon-bell-18jpg-d3d3077bf162312c_large[1]Bell provides the thunder to Toussaint's lightning. He may have had the most impressive season of any tailback in the Big Ten last year, averaging 5.2 YPC behind Michigan State's patchwork line and chasing Edwin Baker off to an NFL that wasn't really interested. The contrast between Bell and Baker's production is shocking: despite Baker lighting up the crappy edges of Michigan's defense to the tune of 167 yards, he could only manage 3.9 YPC on the season despite having more of his carries against the dregs of the schedule.

At 6'2", 237, Bell is definitely big enough to take on whatever blocking duties will be required, and as a bonus if you put him one in one in space with a linebacker or secondary guy he will run them over productively. He's also a good option out of the backfield with 35 catches a year ago--third most on the MSU roster. He's Brandon Minor, but bigger and more useful as a receiver.

EVIDENTLY REQUIRED SNARK ABOUT PREVIOUS PICKS: Ruling on taking a combo kicker: Heiko can use the extra slot on a quarterback as long as that quarterback is assigned to a spot on defense.

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HEIKO

Eric-Page-scores-a-touchdown-for-Toledo-Rockets[1]PICK: C.J. Barnett, S, Ohio State [ED: face down @ right. Not that this is why I avoided him like death. /SNARK'D]

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL),
Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR,
MSU)
CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Fine, if Brian wants to spite me and not take C.J. Barnett, I'll take him. Just to be clear, Barnett -- not Christian Bryant -- is Ohio State's strong safety. I know this because I checked my own preview in HttV, which was coauthored by both Seth and Ramzy Nasrallah, and I trust this preview more than Phil Steele. Anyhow, Barnett is the strong safety version of Isaiah Lewis. He's fast, hard-hitting, has excellent ball skills, and is probably going to be some kind of All-B1G once the season is done. Last year he had 75 tackles and two interceptions.

Ohio State's entire defense returns this year, and they retain Luke Fickell as one of their defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. As such, the unit as a whole should improve and Barnett should be in much better position make plays this season.

I know, I know, taking Lewis and Barnett back to back isn't as sexy as my previous picks, but I just got myself the B1G's best safety tandem. Have fun deciding between Ibraheim Campbell and Tanner Miller or something while I go back to being sexy.

SNARK: Reaction to ruling on taking a combo kicker: Maybe I'll take a quarterback, maybe I won't. I just checked my roster and it seems I have pretty decent depth at that position. How are your quarterbacks doing?

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ACE

Campbell-in-space-after-1st-INT-vs-Robinson[1]PICK: Ibraheim Campbell, safety, Northwestern

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OL, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: All Campbell did as a redshirt freshman last year was record 100 tackles with 3.5 TFL, 2 INTs, and 4 PBUs en route to Freshman All-America honors. At 5'11", 205, he can come up and lay the wood from his safety spot, and he's lauded for his natural instincts. As a bonus, heading into his sophomore year, Campbell should improve at a greater rate than the upperclassmen comprising the lion's share of our rosters. In this league, I want a defense that can stop the run, and while I'm still lacking the DTs at least I have a lot of players who can cover for that weak spot. I'm pretty sure Michigan is banking on the same this season, and we think that can work out, right? Right?

SNARK: Yes, how are your quarterbacks doing, Brian?

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SETH

Michigan St Nebraska FootballPICKS: Rex Burkhead, running back, Nebraska; and Kofi Hughes, wide receiver, Indiana

CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, M), Rex Burkhead (RB, NEB), Kofi Hughes (WR, IN), Michael Schofield (OT, M)

CURRENT D: Kawann Short (3T, PUR), Johnathan Hankins (NT, OSU), Marcus Rush (DE, MSU), Jonathan Brown (MLB, ILL), Gerald Hodges (SLB, PSU), Jordan Kovacs (SS, MICH), Micah Hyde (CB, IOWA)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Seth is gonna be mad, huh? That you not only broke our unstated running back pact (which could have guaranteed us these same guys when Ace is down to drafting Muenster Emmentaler and Heiko is teaching Max Shortell to play tight end) but took two guys while doing it? Mad that I got stuck with...oh, look, two Heisman candidates in my backfield. Drat.

As forced consolation prizes go, Burkhead is no Scheelhaase. You call 1,357 rushing yards and 17 TDs boring? Well how about a guy who ran for 4.8 YPC against defenses who didn't have to wander more than 5 yards off the LOS with old Tyranno-arm at QB, and behind a busted up offensive line? He's got more career receiving yards than all of Heiko's All Star bin to go along with the ridiculous rushing totals, never goes down on first contact, and has a penchant for heroics against Michigan's rivals. If getting played means pairing my Denard Robinson action figure with Mike Hart except fewer fumbles and is more bothersome to Spartans, call me PLAYAH.

Kofi Hughes Indiana v Ohio State 638XPuygFfml[1]And while I'm under the gun I'd better get a receiver while there's some gettin' left. For this I've dug up junior Kofi Hughes, who's basically any of Heiko's wide receivers if any of Heiko's receivers played wide receiver in the Big Ten last year. Actually he's Junior Hemingway if Hemingway was an inch shorter and languishing in Indiana. Kofi is a big target and a leaping-type of deep threat (35 catches for 536 yards) who's never caught a ball he didn't have to fight for. Hughes gives me that downfield outlet to occasionally make something out of the occasional DENARD: NO!, and can otherwise block the snot out of puny CBs when TEAM HEISMAN is doing their thing. Downside: held out of one game for a violation of team rules, but that didn't stop Brian with Toussaint.

SNARK: Speaking of the must-draft rule, there's three strong safeties off the board now, so what's it gonna be Brian? Shelton Johnson? Suppo Sanni?

[ED: at this point it was mutually agreed on that 1) SS was too specific and positions for must-drafts were broken down like so: QB, RB, WR/TE(4), OL(5), DE(2), DT(2), LB(3), CB(3), S(2), with kickers and our FB/HB spot exempted and 2) we would extend the must-draft provision to three rounds from the original two. And by "mutually agreed on" I mean "decided by fiat."]

Our league commissioner

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ACE

975385[1]PICK: Travis Frederick, center, Wisconsin

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OL, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: I'll cop to a critical error in drafting, as I chose a strong safety before Seth's picks even though he had Kovacs, therefore losing my chance to stick Burkhead in the same backfield with Ball and run you all to death. Damn. So, I'll take Frederick, a behemoth of a center at 6'4", 338. In 2009, he became the first true freshman lineman in Wisconsin history to start on opening day, and he was a consensus All-B1G second team selection at guard last year. I'll stick Frederick at center for now, though I could flip him to guard depending on how the rest of the draft shakes out.

No snark here, just kicking myself for allowing Seth to have a running game.

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HEIKO

Cool story, Hansel.

bilde[1]PICK: Craig Roh, DE, Michigan

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: I complete my collection of defensive ends with the selection of Craig Roh. At Michigan, Roh is making his final move to his natural position as a strong side defensive end. He's the highest rated B1G player at this position left on the board, so I thought I'd take him before someone else forces me to convert Cameron Meredith to an SDE. Roh is pretty enormous these days. His 6'5 frame carries 281 lbs of running back-crushing muscle and should hold up well to double teams. Last season he struggled with the pass rush (because he's a little on the slow side), but had 8 TFLs and 4 sacks nonetheless.

Opponents' runs to the weak side of Michigan's line always seemed to stop a yard or two behind the line of scrimmage due to Roh's ability to shed blocks in time to give ball carriers a big bear hug. Though his production at Michigan has been muted by GERG and various identity crises, I think he'll finally realize his potential in 2012. The NFL concurs.

SNORK: No, this is not the sexy pick I promised earlier (although Craig Roh's eyebrows are pretty sexy). Also, centers are boring, just like Aceconsin is boring. Have you like totally given up, man? Do you want one of my quarterbacks? I'll trade you Gardner for ... I don't know. Your players don't fit my system. Sorry.

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BRIAN

7_456079[1]PICKS: Chris McDonald, OL, Michigan State, and Jack Mewhort, OL, Ohio State

CURRENT O: Nathan Scheelhaase (QB, ILL), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB, M), LeVeon Bell (HB/FB, MSU), Jared Abbrederis (WR, UW), Taylor Lewan(LT, M), Chris McDonald (RG, MSU), Jack Mewhort (RT, OSU).

CURRENT D: John Simon (DE, OSU), Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois), Jake Ryan (LB, M), Denicos Allen (LB, MSU), Terry Hawthorne (CB, ILL)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: MANBALL!

Also, I've solved my quarterback issues. No longer will Scheelhaase be known as "quarterback." Instead, I'm inventing a new position: guy-who-gets-the-snap-first-and-is-one-of-many-runny-type-guys. I'll work on the name.

Anyway, Jack Mewhort was a starter for Ohio State last year, flipping between both guard spots, and is now slated to be OSU's starting left tackle. Since Taylor Lewan isn't about to give that up around these parts, I'll slide him to right tackle, where his 6'6", 310 pounds will be used to grade roads. I mean, look at this guy:

7918590[1]

QED. Biff Tanner. I just drafted Biff Tanner. This year he'll even get coached!

[SETH INTERJECTION: Biff TanneN! How did you get in my generation anyway? Are you like some Bieber-loving Millenial on stilts with a fake goatee or something?]

bilde[1]Slightly inside Biff I'll put McDonald, the one thing about last year's MSU line that was not makeshift. He's entering his third year as a starter, was honorable mention All Big Ten last year, is on just about everyone's first-team All Big Ten this year, and seems to be a draftable guy, which is pretty good for a guard. Mike Martin put up a –1 in last year's UFR because of McDonald hammering him lots, which… yeah, I'll take that guy.

Scheelhaase is going to be just fine since 100% of his passes will be off play action to Abbrederis.

EVIDENTLY REQUIRED SNARK ABOUT PREVIOUS PICKS: Wait wait wait, we're talking smack about Scheelhaase when Braxton Miller completed 54% of his passes last year? And Heiko followed that up by drafting 60 wide receivers? Also note that I am not adding players from, you know, Indiana.

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NEXT UP ON DRAFTOSNARK:

HEIKO drafts a quarterback to be his backup punter, ACE finally admits that he's the unholy love child of Dantonio and Bielema, SETH falls asleep happily, secure in his Kovacs-assured lack of long touchdowns allowed, and BRIAN continues patching the Scheelhaase hole in his levee. Not like that, pervs.