Draftageddon is upon us. We will delight half the readers, irritate the other half, and learn much more about Big Ten football than we ever thought possible; along the way Seth will issue terrible snark about players like they will always be what they were last year and ignore it when Jack Mewhort ends up drafted in the second round.
THE OCEANS WILL BOIL, THE LAND WILL BE BESET. And so forth and so on. Devin Gardner knows what's up.
Everyone drafts a QB, 5 OL, and six skill players on offense. Heiko is not with us but yes you can take a QB to be a skill player other than your QB. The sixth skill player is for flexibility. Please denote RB/FB/TE/WR when you draft, and sure you can draft six tailbacks if you want to feel the wrath of the voters.
On defense, everyone drafts 4 DL, 3 LB, 2 CB, and 2 S and one wild card intended to be a hybrid space player. The extra guy is because nickel packages are important, and defending the spread is important. But yeah he could be whatever you want, you loons.
A punter and a kicker are also drafted.
Standard snake procedure.
Imaginary points are awarded for PR/KR skills amongst your draftees.
Once everyone has filled a particular slot the last remaining guy who has not filled the slot has to take a guy at most three rounds later, to prevent three QBs from going off the board in the first round and no one for the rest of the draft until the very end (although with this group that would be dangerous and leave you with Andrew Maxwell).
Kyle Prater must be drafted far too early.
I get to gloat about Rashede Hageman every third round.
As randomly determined by RANDOM.ORG the order is
Brian, you are me, and also on the clock.
ROUND 1 - PICK 1: Braxton Miller, QB, OSU
O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU)
BRIAN: While I don't think there's that huge of a gap between Miller and Devin Gardner since neither of them are likely to be around when things get back to me I have to grab one now. The clear choice is Miller. The only guy to finish in the top ten in both rushing yards and passer efficiency last year, Miller is by far the most explosive QB in the Big Ten and has steadily progressed as a passer, going from 54% to 58% to 64% completions over the past three years and steadily increasing his ability in the pocket. Will he ever be great there? No. But, uh...
...he doesn't have to be. Main concerns here are dual: OSU revamps its OL and loses Carlos Hyde, which may make things generally less efficient and put more burden on Miller; this leads to concern #2: Miller seems to be bionic with the hits he can take but the was knocked out of enough games last year to get Kenny Guiton 109 attempts. He's not exactly fragile but neither can you expect him to get through a season totally unscathed.
ROUND 1 - PICK 2: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
O: LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
ACE: As tempting as it is to build my offense around Devin Gardner and a functional offensive line, I think in a four-person draft the Big Ten has enough talent at quarterback to hold off on picking one here. Meanwhile, I'm not convinced the conference is as deep at tackle (at least for this exercise), and there just happens to be one—and only one—that could've been a first-round NFL Draft pick had he left early: Iowa's Brandon Scherff, who's present in the top ten of just about any 2015 mock draft you can find.
At 6'5", 320 pounds, Scherff has pro-ready size, and he's a monster of a run blocker with a size/quickness combination that's truly impressive on film. At the very least, watch the first clip from this video of him absolutely dominating Northwestern for a series:
Sure, I'll take the guy who can escort a defensive lineman ten yards downfield with one arm. Also, in a league that features some talented pass-rushers, Scherff provides a reliable blindside protector—Iowa finished first in the B1G in fewest sacks allowed and, since that number is skewed by pace/style, third in adjusted sack rate last season.
While my heart told me to pick Gardner, my brain remembered what happens to quarterbacks that aren't properly protected. With this pick, I've got easily the best run-blocking tackle in the conference, and probably the best pass-blocker, too.
ROUND 1 - PICK 3: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
O: QB Devin Gardner (Michigan)
BISB: I don't think Gardner is the best player remaining, but in my mind there's a bigger drop-off from Gardner to the next quarterbacks than there is between the top-flight defensive linemen I'm tempted to grab. Seth can't take all of those.
[@ RIGHT: Bryan Fuller]
Gardner threw for 2960 yards (in only 12 games) at a 60.3% completion rate. His 8.6 YPA was the best in the Big Ten, and more than a yard per attempt more than Cook and Hackenberg. Ha accounted for 32 TDs (21 throwing, 11 rushing) against 11 INTs. He threw for 14 TDs against 3 picks and 8.85 YPA in Big Ten play. And he did that with absolutely no running game (at least of the 'forward' variety). He did it without padding his yardage numbers with bubble screens. He did it with a strained everything. And the next time he sees a pocket will be the first time.
The last time he stepped onto the field, he threw for 451 yards and 4 TDs with no picks and ran for another score. On a broken foot. And when he was healthy? Boy howdy.
Gardner lost pocket-sized safety blankets Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo, but Devin Funchess is a legit #1 receiver (I swear, if anyone drafts him as a TE I will force-quit the draft), and between him, Freddy Canteen, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, and Dennis "DENNIS NORFLEET" Norfleet he will have plenty of targets, He should be productive once again. Now, if he can just get a liiiiiiittle time to throw the ball...
Uh oh crap forgot about that.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Alarming quantities of opposition defensive linemen]
ROUND 1 - PICK 4: DE Randy Gregory (Nebraska)
ROUND 2 - PICK 1: DT Michael Bennett (Ohio State)
D: DE Randy Gregory(NEB), DT Michael Bennett(OSU)
SETH: Just list Gardner as your defensive end, BISB. I have it on good authority from a close friend of Borges (and bubble screens) that that's what Michigan was planning to do next year--you know, REALLY surprise them. Also 'splains why they moved Jake Ryan. As dismayed as I am that I won't get Michigan's star senior QB again, these days I can take just about any quarterback on Indiana's roster and he'll top Gardner and Miller both in (sack-adjusted) YPA.
Anyhoosier, another year, another MSU defensive end overrated for getting on camera a lot. Calhoun's better than Gholston, but Randy Gregory is a guy some people mention as a top 5 or even first overall pick in next year's NFL draft. The numbers: 60 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 9 sacks versus Calhoun's 35/13/6.5. We missed the Gregory show a bit because Nebraska could blitz the middle all day and Michigan chose to option him. How that went:
I thought about taking Calhoun too, but with buckets of fine Buckeye DEs available that wouldn't make anybody sweat. So instead I took the guy responsible for flushing all those QBs Bosa, Spence et al. were picking off. Michael Bennett starts low--6'2/288--so he can function as a pivot if necessary, but his game is far more Mike Martin than Gabe Watson: 42 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 7 sacks. Last time we did this I caused a commotion by taking the only two obvious NFL DT prospects on the board (which is why Brian's so proud he knew Hageman exists). Ace is correct in assuming there's only one great pass blocker out there; sucks that y'all will need two to keep them pretty quarterbacks alive.
ROUND 2 - PICK 2: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
O: QB Devin Gardner (Michigan)
D: DE Joey Bosa (OSU)
Alas, my reverse psychology didn't work on Seth, as I was hoping somehow Gregory would fall to me. I agree about Calhoun being overrated; he's not William Gholston overrated, but I don't see the world-destroying top-ten draft pick we're being sold.
Take the Michigan game, for example. He didn't beat a Michigan tackle all game long, and struggled to disengage from blocks. Instead, he ate Michigan's lunch by plowing over Fitz Toussaint on slide protections, and coming free when Narduzzi used his dark wizard magic and/or stunts to get Calhoun into Michigan's rich nougaty interior line.
Instead, I'll take Joey Bosa, who accumulated 44 tackles (13.5 TFLs) and 7.5 sacks last year. With the aforementioned Bennett demanding doubles on the interior, both Bosa and Noah Spence should have very productive years. And while Spence is solid, Bosa is special. He put up almost the same stats as Spence (and better numbers than Calhoun), but also held up better at the point of attack. If he makes a reasonable sophomore leap, he will be a monster. If he makes a Beilein-level sophomore leap, he may consume our planet. Also, Spence won't be playing for the first two games because of his friend Molly, so I'll take the guy who will be available all year.
ROUND 2 - PICK 3: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
everyone thinks he's O-VER-RAT-ED clapclapclap
O: LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU)
ACE: Hi, I'm here to make my traditional pick of a Michigan State defensive end with a great statistical profile and some questions about how much of those stats were actually due to his own ability and/or the quality of competition. This pick will be mocked with aplomb.
So, yeah, Shilique Calhoun didn't produce too much against Michigan's NFL-quality senior offensive tackles, a Buckeye line anchored by 2nd-round tackle Jack Mewhort, and apparently he wasn't a world-beater against USF, if the writeup that Brian totally didn't do before I got around to writing up my own pick is to be believed. Perhaps, against the best of offensive lines, I'll have to settle for Calhoun simply drawing the attention of the offense and opening things up for the rest of the front seven.
I'll note here that I took the only NFL-quality offensive tackle in the Big Ten this year.
Then I'll note that Calhoun somehow, despite these stretches of non-production, managed to tally 14 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in his first season as a starter, one year after amassing 2.5 TFLs in 13 games as a redshirt freshman backup. It was a season impressive enough that he likely would've been picked in the first two days of the NFL Draft; instead, he came back, and now occupies a spot in or around the top ten on most early mock drafts.
While his production against top competition is a little worrisome, there's a darn good chance he improves this year—remember, he's coming off a breakout redshirt sophomore season—and his combination of size (6'4", 257) and athleticism will be tough to handle for all the non-Scherffs out there. Since that's every tackle not on my team, I'll live with taking Calhoun as the third DE off the board.
(Did I really, really want Bosa here? Yes. Bad dog, BISB.)
ROUND 2 - PICK 4: Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
we are all in agreement that he is Manzeiling
O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU)
D: DT Carl Davis(IA)
BRIAN: After poking around it seems like there are two positions at which there are a couple of talented players at the top and then a huge dropoff from NFL first-round type talents to relative obscurity. Those are (surprise!) DT and WR. At DT, Iowa's Carl Davis is projected as a mid-first round pick by a number of early 2015 mock drafts and helped anchor a rush defense that was 4th in the Big Ten last year without a ton of help. No Iowa DL had more than 2.5 sacks.
Davis is very much a space-eater who occupies a couple guys and makes a statistical impact that's far less than his actual role. Witness Iowa's TFL numbers, which were concentrated heavily amongst their middling senior ILBs--James Morris and Anthony Hitchens combined for 30.5; no DL had more than 9.
(Meanwhile, on Calhoun: I was in vague agreement with Seth and Bryan in their assertions that they felt Caulhoun was overrated, but in case I was just being a homer I checked out DraftBreakdown's videos of Calhoun. They showed a guy who did absolutely nothing against M and OSU tackles. He got through on a couple stunts and obliterated Fitz Toussaint on a couple of plays where our wonderful offense saw Lewan block no one while Toussaint drew this hypothetical first-round pick. But I thought maybe I was shorting him because MSU wants their DEs to play it soft against mobile QBs. The video of Calhoun against USF was the last straw: again he did very little himself. He did clean up for MSU well when coverage and blitzes created opportunities, but he doesn't drive play.)
NEXT TIME ON DRAFTAGEDDON
Something other than a defensive lineman comes off the board! Probably! B1G, y'all, it could just be DL all the way down!
Seth makes inexplicable Heiko picks!
Michigan State's secondary is raided for anything that's not locked down!
SAME BAT PLACE DIFFERENT BAT TIME BECAUSE TIME ONLY GOES IN ONE DIRECTION