Draftageddon 2016: Cheese and Tackles Edition Comment Count

Seth August 9th, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Four_Horsemen_by_MarkWilkinson1

We are drafting Big Ten teams because you're going to be watching a Big Ten game this year and be glad that people who care an awful lot about ranking right tackles told you to watch out for…

Previously on Draftageddon:

  1. Rounds 1-2: A Heisman candidate QB and the reigning Thorpe winner go after two members of Michigan's secondary. (M players: Peppers, Lewis, Butt)

  2. Rounds 3-4: An underwhelming first swing through receivers, and lots of linemen. (Chesson, Cole, Wormley, Glasgow)

  3. Rounds 5-6: A Michigan second-teamer goes before Purdue J.J. Watt. (Charlton, Hurst)

  4. Rounds 7-8: Hodor. (Taco, Hurst)

  5. Rounds 9-11: We go on a mini Iowa binge, and Brian takes a true freshman (YTTF).

  6. Rounds 12-14: A grueling, three-rounder with safeties, RBs, and MSU legacies flexing. (O'Korn, Braden).

  7. Rounds 15-16: We break out laughing at Tommy Armstrong. (Dymonte, Kenny Allen)

How we left things:

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We'll go a bit quicker, and start going Tuesday/Friday to get these done before the season.

ACE: Round 17, Pick 1: Vayante Copeland, cornerback, Michigan State

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[MSU Athletics]

OFFENSE: QB CJ Beathard (IA), RB Saquon Barkley (PSU), WR Jehu Chesson (M), SLOT Curtis Samuel (OSU), TE George Kittle (IA), OT Nick Gates (NE), OG Jacob Bailey (IU), C Michael Dieter (UW), WEAPON Jabrill Peppers (M)

DEFENSE: NT Ryan Glasgow (M), DT Jake Replogle (PU), DE Sam Hubbard (OSU), MLB Josey Jewell (IA), OLB Brandon Bell (PSU), OLB/NICKEL Jabrill Peppers (M), CB Jalen Myrick (MN), CB Vayante Copeland (MSU), S Nate Gerry (NE)

SPECIAL TEAMS: KR Jabrill Peppers (M), PR Jabrill Peppers (M)

This is a pick made on faith, as Copeland redshirted in 2014 and didn’t make it two games into his redshirt freshman season before going down with a neck injury. Copeland earned a starting job heading into 2015, and while the rest of the secondary struggled around him, he put in solid performances against Western Michigan (which featured an excellent WR in Corey Davis) and Oregon before injury struck; I’ve gone back over those two games, and when MSU was victimized, it was almost always on Jermaine Edmonson, Demetrious Cox (before his move to safety), or the safeties.

At 6’0”, 197 pounds, Copeland has great size, and he showed off excellent ball skills when intercepting a fade to Davis to seal the WMU game. He was back on the field this spring as MSU’s top corner, and save for last year being the top corner at MSU under Dantonio has meant the NFL is in your future. I’d lean towards drafting Jeremy Clark or Channing Stribling here if I had confidence one or the other would start; while this pick also has risk, at least I know Copeland will be in the lineup, and he could very well have a breakout season.

[After the JUMP: a run on right tackles]

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ADAM: Round 17, Pick 2: Erik Magnuson, OT, Michigan

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[Eric Upchurch]

Offense: Pat Elflein (OC-OSU), Dan Feeney (OG-Indiana), Amara Darboh (WR-Michigan), Justin Jackson (RB-Northwestern), Brandon Reilly (WR-Nebraska), John O'Korn (QB-Michigan), Ben Braden (OG-Michigan), Erik Magnuson (OT-Michigan)

Defense: Jourdan Lewis (CB-Michigan), Dawuane Smoot (DE-Illinois), Taco Charlton (DE-Michigan), Maurice Hurst (DT-Michigan), Vince Biegel (OLB-Wisconsin), Matthew Harris (CB-Northwestern), Hardy Nickerson Jr. (LB-Illinois), Marcus Allen (S-Penn State), Damarius Travis (S-Minnesota)

The criteria for draftable tackles this season is "mammal, preferably bipedal, trainable to the extent of avoiding a false start" and Erik Magnuson checks all those boxes. He also happens to be garnering a bit of NFL Draft hype, with CBS Sports ranking him the ninth-best offensive tackle.

Michigan fans are understandably hard on offensive linemen after being pricked by the thorny, venomous mess of 2013, so it's wise to turn to an impartial third party for some perspective. CBSSports' Dane Brugler wrote a balanced profile of Magnuson's skills, taking note of the things he does particularly well:

Magnuson, who has experience at tight end on his Michigan résumé, moves with a smooth shuffle and wide base, transferring his weight well in his kickslide to mirror edge rushers. He stays low off the snap and prefers to use his hands to control the point of attack to out-leverage and out-power defenders. Magnuson is able to secure downblocks and anchor at shallow depth, driving his legs to finish in the Wolverines' power offense.

But also finding a number of areas for improvement:

He tends to be a waist bender and lacks ideal length to compensate, which allows savvy rushers to get him off balance and leaning. While powerful when squared to defenders, Magnuson will struggle to recover once defenders attack his shoulder.

The same logic I used when taking Braden holds here: he's already somewhere between solid and good and he's going into his second year with Drevno and Harbaugh, where the Drevno leap is most likely to occur. What Magnuson's ceiling might be is up for debate, but as a 2015 All-Big Ten third teamer his floor is high enough to make him the best RT available.

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SETH: Round 17, Pick 3: Delano Hill, HSP, Michigan

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[Eric Upchurch]

Offense: QB J.T. Barrett (OSU), RB Corey Clement (Wis), WR Chris Godwin (PSU), WR Simmie Cobbs (IN), OL Mason Cole (M), OL Michael Dunn (Md), OC Sean Welsh (Iowa), OG Billy Price (OSU)

Defense: NT Bryan Mone (M), DT Darius Hamilton (RU), WLB Nyeem Wartman-White (PSU), MLB Riley Bullough (MSU), HSP Delano Hill (M), SS Godwin Igwebuike (NW), FS Dymonte Thomas (M), FCB Desmond King (Iowa) BCB Greg Mabin (Iowa)

Specialist Teams: KR/PR Desmond King

Okay so a little bit of this pick is depleting the plausible safety reserves right about the point Brian is wondering if he too should brave the chasm of MSU's secondary on a bridge made of Lansing State Journals. But only a little bit. Because in today's game you really have three safeties on the field most of the time, and in Don Brown's defense, the "Pup" or "Tractor" or "Nickel" or "Dog" or "Money" or "Jaguar" is going to be on your field more often than a third linebacker.

Peppers technically will be that guy in Michigan's defense, but born-looking-40 Delano Hill was and will be again a de facto box safety--which is not that far off. Michigan walked him down on the regular last year, and Hill walked out with a +11.1 from PFF, best among returning safeties, while earning their other (Igwebuike) second-team all-conference spot behind the graduated Badgers.

Despite the PFF stats there's one safety in the Big Ten you can make a strong argument was better: Hill got yanked for Dymonte Thomas when Dymonte got within shooting range of his own vast potential. But even in the game that happened (Indiana) Hill came back and won it with three excellent plays in the final overtime.

The CHAOS game is illuminating because Michigan was using Hill as a quasi-(inside) linebacker. In the first half that didn't go well--he did the rote things but didn't trust himself to attack inside an unblocked pulling guard, or shoot into a screen. In the second half the light went on. All told his moonlight at linebacker went far better than that of the actual linebackers.

Hill has always been rather good at the slot-seam-hole aspects of safety, but falls to a merely passing grade when it comes to deep safety stuff. Dealing with tight ends, blitzing, covering a slippery slot receiver in m2m, taking on blocks, and tackling in space are his strong suits. So let's try him at walkout LB, or whatever you wanna call it; he's already half-way there, and an athletic senior third-year starter sitting around Don Brown's stove is likely to end up as delicious as when I leave some aged-looking garlic around my wife's.

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BRIAN: Round 17, Pick 4: Dan Voltz, G, Wisconsin

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[Jeff Hanish/USA Today Sports]

Obvious pick is obvious. Voltz was a second-team All Big Ten player at center as a sophomore and was playing well amongst a bunch of injury chaos last year when he joined that chaos, tearing his ACL against Illinois. He'll definitely be back by fall camp, he says, and should be good to go as a senior—ACLs are six-month injuries these days.
As for the player, this is CBS Sports's Dane Brugler's best shot at a criticism of his game:

WEAKNESSES: Voltz needs to stay coordinated in tight spaces to gain angles and stay on his feet, but he is one of the main reasons for Wisconsin's success on the ground in recent years.

USA Today's draft analyst:

He’s a controlled, patient blocker who understands angles and leverage, but he’s a little light and needs to win on his first step to contact more consistently.

That's from an NFL perspective, of course, and doesn't prevent him from being listed as a top-five interior OL prospect for the 2017 draft.
Voltz is also a good dude who approached the coaching staff about leaving Dieter at C because it was best for the team. He should be All Big Ten again and go relatively early in the draft.

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BiSB: Dane Brugler is a man of few words

Seth: Pro Football Focus had a few more, if you want to know why the rest of us were fleeing from this guy:

Dan Voltz, C, Wisconsin
2014 snaps: 842; Grade: +13.7 (3rd)
2015 snaps: 475; Grade: -9.8 (30th)

While Voltz’s grade could have also been influenced by the fact that he missed the second half of the season due to a torn ACL, he was not his dominant self prior to the injury either. His run-blocking grade went from +8.2 in 2014 to -8.0 last year while he struggled especially against Alabama and Nebraska. In addition, he allowed nine total pressures on 255 pass blocking snaps compared to seven pressures on 295 snaps in 2014.

Alabama and Nebraska interior DL weren't kind to most guys, but neither are the DTs on Wisconsin's karmic schedule this season, and those guys tore through Voltz like processed milk substrate.

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BRIAN: Round 18, Pick 1: Robert Wheelwright, WR, Wisconsin

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[Madison.com]

Offense: QB Tommy Armstrong (NEB), RB LJ Scott(MSU), TE Jake Butt(M), WR Jordan Westerkamp (NEB), WR Rob Wheelwright(UW), OL Cole Croston(IA), OL Brian Allen(MSU), OL Dan Voltz (UW).

Defense: DE Tyquan Lewis(OSU), DE Rashan Gary(M), DT Chris Wormley(M), DT Malik McDowell(MSU). LB Raekwon McMillan (OSU), LB Anthony Walker (NW), LB Jermaine Carter(MD), CB Gareon Conley(OSU), CB Will Likely (MD).

Special Teams: Kenny Allen(K/P), Likely(PR/KR)

I'll stick with the cheese state to grab Wisconsin's undisputed #1 receiver. With Alex Erikson and his 77 catches no longer around, Wheelwright is about to get a ton of targets. Like everyone else on Wisconsin he's coming off an injury, that a broken fibula that cost him the last four games of the regular season. Is he healthy?

I'll go with "yes."

Wheelwright was the talk of Wisconsin's spring practices and seemed to get the same "we know about you, you're shut down" rest that guys like De'Veon Smith got late in the spring:

Wheelwright was dominant throughout practice. The senior beat people deep consistently and caught a number of balls away from his body. In 1-on-1 drills, Wheelwright was virtually uncoverable, displaying an added burst of speed and a physical nature, making cornerbacks uncomfortable when he got his hands on them before the ball was thrown.

He's a big burly gent at 6'3" and will be a major redzone target for Wisconsin. He's late bloomer and a guy virtually guaranteed to approach 1000 yards receiving, with a solid catch rate (65%) and YPT (8.5) last year. If he'd been healthy he would have had around 50 catches and been way more obvious a pick. Thanks, fibula!

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Ace: Damn, was hoping he’d make it back around.

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SETH: Round 18, Pick 2: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

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Offense: QB J.T. Barrett (OSU), RB Corey Clement (Wis), WR Chris Godwin (PSU), WR Simmie Cobbs (IN), OC Mason Cole (M), RG Sean Welsh (Iowa), LG Billy Price (OSU), LT Ryan Ramczyk (Wis), RT Michael Dunn (Md)

Defense: NT Bryan Mone (M), DT Darius Hamilton (RU), WLB Nyeem Wartman-White (PSU), MLB Riley Bullough (MSU), HSP Delano Hill (M), SS Godwin Igwebuike (NW), FS Dymonte Thomas (M), FCB Desmond King (Iowa) BCB Greg Mabin (Iowa)

Special Teams: KR/PR Desmond King

Don't head South on I-94 just yet, because there's one more big block of cheese to pry out from between Mendota and Monona. How did Wisconsin keep a 6'6'/308 athletic freak who hasn't allowed a sack in two years of starting a secret while we scoured for anything vaguely tackle-shaped and cheered our luck at finding one with a PFF score over 5?

Well it's a weird story. He didn't play football his first year out of college even though Chryst offered him a scholarship at Pitt. Then Ramczyk walked onto a D-III team and obliterated D-III kids for two years before transferring to Wisconsin. He had to sit out 2015 for an odd transfer rule, otherwise it seems he would have displaced Guy Brian Drafts Every Year last August:

The reports out of practice last season were that if the draconian transfer rules didn’t force Ramczyk to sit out for a season, he was playing well enough that he could have forced Tyler Marz to move from left tackle.

Here's a second-hand review from a guy who murderated Big Ten tackles last year:

"He's a freak, man," Badgers running back Dare Ogunbowale said. "He's a very athletic guy. Even last year, [Joe] Schobert would talk about how Ramczyk was just a beast down on scout team."

Big Ram already secured the left tackle spot in spring over all those guys who got to play between the injuries last year. But don't just take this on practice hype. In Wisconsin's spring game RAMMO got pulled with the "yeah we've seen enough" guys too, but not before giving Corey Clement the first three spots in the highlight reel:

(Watch the second one where he reached a linebacker. Bucky's 5th drew it up.)

Yeah, yeah, it's risky taking a guy who hasn't played a snap above D-III over, uh, Kody Kieler and stuff. But OTs come from weird places. And Brian's bounce-back hopeful from last round had this to say about the ceiling:

"I think he's going to shock a lot of people. The kid is naturally a freak athlete. Like one of the most athletic offensive linemen I've ever seen personally. ... Not many people know about him now, but I think that's going to change pretty soon."

Starting now.

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Ace: I’ll leave this here:

Michigan's Taylor Lewan: OL Ben Braden is 'the most physically gifted individual I've ever seen'

Lewan heaps high praise on Braden, a redshirt freshman who will begin fall camp as the team's starting left guard.

Also, since I’m armed with some knowledge from doing the HTTV previews: Wisconsin has three upperclassmen offensive linemen. They’re Voltz, Ramczyk, a walk-on who’s never played, and a backup guard.

I’m not saying the guy was basically handed his spot, but… that’s kinda what I’m saying.

Seth: You are vastly underappreciating the nickname potential here. Plus he went to school to become a welder! If that doesn't scream successful Wisconsin tackle then just shut down the whole state.

Ace: Ah, the Rodney Farva drafting strategy.

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Seth: Considering OL picks in this exercise have historically been QED'd at "this guy is the left tackle for Wisconsin" even for new starters, and this guy comes with a season's worth of "man, F-- the NCAA" griping from Madison, and brings upside for days at a position where two okay walk-ons and Nick Gates were the pick of the litter, I'll take it.

Ace:

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That’s always gone so well.

Brian: He got hurt

Ace: Regardless, I’m okay with Kieler still being on the board…until Adam picks next week.

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ADAM: Round 18, Pick 3: Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State

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[Jeremy Birmingham / Eleven Warriors]

Offense: Pat Elflein (OC-OSU), Dan Feeney (OG-Indiana), Amara Darboh (WR-Michigan), Justin Jackson (RB-Northwestern), Brandon Reilly (WR-Nebraska), John O'Korn (QB-Michigan), Ben Braden (OG-Michigan), Erik Magnuson (OT-Michigan), Jamarco Jones (OT-OSU)

Defense: Jourdan Lewis (CB-Michigan), Dawuane Smoot (DE-Illinois), Taco Charlton (DE-Michigan), Maurice Hurst (DT-Michigan), Vince Biegel (OLB-Wisconsin), Matthew Harris (CB-Northwestern), Hardy Nickerson Jr. (LB-Illinois), Marcus Allen (S-Penn State), Damarius Travis (S-Minnesota)

We've reached the point in the draft where the next three or four viable left tackles all fall into the same mold: really tall, nimble dudes who usually mash the guy across from them except for once or twice a quarter when they just whiff on a block. At least that's what I saw when doing some research, so I decided to go with the guy with the highest upside albeit the least experience.

Jones has spent two years as Taylor Decker's understudy, and it didn't take long for him to step in and claim the left tackle spot; Jones practiced with the first team all spring and was named the starter after spring practice, which is apparently a big enough deal at OSU to announce in front of the team.

PFF liked what Jones did in spot duty last season:

Jones has made the most of his 141 career snaps, grading at +2.9 in the run game. He can create movement at the point of attack and he shows the athleticism to block on the move, perhaps adding another dimension to Ohio State’s zone running attack.

That's not much of a surprise when looking at Jones' recruiting profile, where he was 2014's 58th best player per the 247 composite. He'll have to learn on the fly, but he held Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes at bay in Ohio State's spring game. If Hubbard's hype is real (and, based on what we saw last season, it likely is) and if Holmes is as good as his recruiting ranking indicates (#80 overall in the 2014 247 composite) then Jones should go about 15 rounds higher in next year's Draftageddon.

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ACE: Round 18, Pick 4: Kodi Kieler, right tackle, Michigan State

[ED-S: Ace made this pick before it was announced Kieler was moving to center]

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[Bryan Fuller]

OFFENSE: QB CJ Beathard (IA), RB Saquon Barkley (PSU), WR Jehu Chesson (M), SLOT Curtis Samuel (OSU), TE George Kittle (IA), OT Nick Gates (NE), OT Kodi Kieler (MSU), OG Jacob Bailey (IU), C Michael Dieter (UW), WEAPON Jabrill Peppers (M)

DEFENSE: NT Ryan Glasgow (M), DT Jake Replogle (PU), DE Sam Hubbard (OSU), MLB Josey Jewell (IA), OLB Brandon Bell (PSU), OLB/NICKEL Jabrill Peppers (M), CB Jalen Myrick (MN), CB Vayante Copeland (MSU), S Nate Gerry (NE)

SPECIAL TEAMS: KR Jabrill Peppers (M), PR Jabrill Peppers (M)

Um… okay! I was very close to choosing Kieler on my last two-pick swing; three tackles have gone off the board since then, and Erik Magnuson was the only one I had in the same tier as Kieler. (I’ll admit Jones is an interesting upside pick, especially with Ed Warinner in charge of OSU’s OL.)

As the last couple picks indicate, there’s a dearth of proven tackles in the conference; Kieler is one of the few who’s established himself. A strong run-blocker who’s better in pass protection than he’s credited for, Kieler didn’t give up a sack in the 2014 season, and last year he teamed with Jack Conklin to shut down Penn State’s insanely good pass rush—the Spartans held PSU without a sack for the first time all year and Kieler graded out even better than his first-round counterpart.

Kieler isn’t a high school All-American or a Wisconsin giant, but he’s proven to be a good player at the D-I (as opposed to, say, D-III) level. He’s entering his third year as a starter while Jones and Ramczyk have grabbed their first-year starting spots essentially by default. Once again, I’m confused by the O-line drafting this year.

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Where things stand:

The draft:

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By position:

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By team:

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Comments

creelymonk10

August 9th, 2016 at 10:42 AM ^

Last I heard Kodi Kieler was moved inside and was listed as the starting center for MSU, with Brian Allen pushed out to guard. Not sure if that matters at all with your lineups, but now means MSU will be rolling with 2 new tackles.

mor51352

August 9th, 2016 at 12:10 PM ^

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ST3

August 9th, 2016 at 3:01 PM ^

I like the Ramczyk pick. If it was my team, I'd play him and every time he got a pancake block I'd blast the stadium with RAWK MUSIC! I'd play this song on a permanent loop. It works great when the team is on defense, too. DU HAST NICHT!!!

 

fdm81165

August 10th, 2016 at 12:36 PM ^

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