four horsemen by mark wilkinson

Draftageddon 2018: Quarterbacks and Running Backs Comment Count

Seth July 18th, 2018 at 2:00 PM

The horses will ride once more



Brian: We only have seven weeks until the season so it's got to be wall to wall.

Ace: Let the torches light the way. Try to avoid the pitchforks.

Seth: So, uh, maybe we just do an All Big Ten thing this year? I know the people won't like it.


BiSB: Like, we jointly draft together? The hell good would that do?

Seth: Brian would finally win?

BiSB: /waves tiny "Venric Mark" flag

Brian: Kemoko Turay is out of the league so what's the point of even Draftageddoning

Ace: It’s 2018, most things are terrible, let’s do this like normal people, I guess.


The one. [Patrick Barron]

Seth: Duh.

Ace: So, uh, yeah, it’s Trace McSorley.

Brian: Is it though?

Seth: He is. Penn State.

BiSB: Yes.

Brian: Okay but what happens with Moorhead gone and Barkley gone and surely at some point he's not going to hit 95% of balls downfield?

Ace: We said that when Godwin left.

Brian: It could happen this time!

Ace: Some of us more than others sorry I took him in ’geddon last year. He’s a slightly poor man’s version of Baker Mayfield and that’ll do in this conference.

Brian: Fine.

Seth: There's always a momentum that carries over. McSorley can still run the same RPO offense this year that negates his bad pass protection and keeps things open.

Ace: I mean, who’s next? Are we unbroken enough to fully jump on the Shea train?

[After THE JUMP: Lewerke for Heisman, Higdon vs Weber]

Seth: Michigan State believes in Lewerke for Heisman!

The Mathlete: If it is not-McSorley, I'm going with Lewerke.

Brian: I would say the randiest of all bodies of water. The most DTF geographical feature.

Ace: Ol’ Tight Windows.

[Bryan Fuller]

Brian: The guy who is either throwing a brilliant third down conversion or brilliant interception constantly

Seth: Except this year he doesn't have a tight end who makes 90% of those throws a good idea.

Ace: Hornibrook in B1G play last year: 13 TDs, 14 INTs.

Brian: But the windows Ace. Tight, tight windows.

BiSB: With a massive running game to lean on.

Seth: And Hornibrook's receivers are the best in the conference.

Ace: Tanner Lee had a better passer rating in conference games last year.

Ace: Iowa’s Nate Stanley should get a mention, too, especially since he’s saddled with that playcalling.

Brian: Ok but can we go back to the UW receivers are the best in the conference thing which is absolutely insane. The reason Hornibrook has to throw into nonexistent windows constantly is that UW's receivers couldn't get separation if provided a crowbar. I mean we saw what happened against Michigan.

BiSB: /Mark Dantonio jots down "crowbars?"

Seth: Quintez Cephus was injured against Michigan. He doesn't need separation.

Ace: Cephus is good. Everyone else at WR was not so good.

Brian: So your argument is that the guy who was out most of the year was good.

Seth: AJ Davis is a productive slot. Danny Davis was a true freshman last year. True freshmen suck, but he really broke out in the bowl game.

Ace: This isn’t helping.

The Mathlete: I have Cephus as the highest rated receiver in Power 5 games last year, with 7 games in play among B10 receivers, that is.

Seth: This adjustment by a true freshman is impressive:

Ace: This is the thing we need to not do. Embed one catch by a true freshman in a futile attempt to win a weird tangential argument.

Alex: This is what Drafteggedon 2.0 is made of Ace!

BiSB: You can take the Draft out of Draftageddon, but the "Geddon" remains.

Seth: Fine, stats: Taylor and Davis had 475 and 418 yards, 5 TDs each. Both caught 2/3 passes their way for 10+ YPT.

The Mathlete: We should probably wrap up the WR section and get to the QBs

Seth: Are there any other QBs in the conference? Like, literally, does Minnesota have one?

Brian: Anyway Hornibrook seems very close to a breakout, because his interceptions are usually throws to blanketed guys on third and long and if he can just get some more help from these dudes and progress a bit I think he's going to be excellent. The end.

Alex: Frankly I'm appalled that the Leidner Memorial WTF-Is-This-Guy-Doing-In-A-First-Round-Mock-The-NFL-Has-Brain-Worms Award winner Clayton Thorson has not been mentioned yet.

Seth: Thorson might miss the whole season.

Alex: And then get picked #8 by like the Jets or some shit.

Ace: Shea Patterson! I don’t know if I’m broken or not.

Brian: Patterson was hard to judge last year because Ole Miss's offense was very silly. Ton of plays on which he had one option, no pass pro against Alabama or LSU, evil-ass WRs except when their true freshman was getting Roundtreed into the sideline by Bama, etc.

Ace: A non-joking mention for Elijah Sindelar. Purdue could be interesting and he’s got an arm.

Brian: PFF did have him their #3 QB in the SEC and the NFL persons are excited for a reason I imagine.

Ace: I think I’d go Patterson, Hornibrook, Stanley in that order after McSorley. Patterson’s potential is the highest but we know the least about him in this environment.

Brian: It's probably McSorley and then a tier down it's Hornibrook, Lewerke, Patterson, three weeks of Maryland QBs before they're forced to convert a linebacker, and OSU's starter.

Ace: I’m gonna be the resident Lewerke hater, I guess. I’m not quite that high on him.

Seth: Lewerke's legs are as underrated as his arm is overrated. Get him into a pass-a-thon and he folds, but it's tough to do that because his legs are a rushing offense on their own.

BiSB: If someone is going to challenge McSorley for top spot, I think it's Patterson.

Brian: And for my part Nathan Stanley does nothing for me.

BiSB: He could be the best QB in the league. He could be 5th.

Ace: Uninjured Maryland QB could put up some big numbers. We got a couple remarkable games out of Piggy and the freshman before they broke.

Alex: Haskins could be really really good.

Ace: Ugh yeah.

Seth: Small sample size against Michigan but he also drove Joe Burrow out of town.

Brian: Will be because nothing will ever go wrong for OSU.

Ace: Updated: Patterson, Haskins, Hornibrook.

Alex: I mean it sucks but it needed to be mentioned.

Ace: Who wants to talk basketball or running backs?

BiSB: Haskins will get injured, and Random Computer Generated QB #17 will average 9.4 YPA over the last 4 weeks

Seth: That would be Tate "we cloned Forcier and didn't even bother to change his first name" Martell.

Alex: McSorely, Lewerke, Hornibrook, and Stanley are the notable known quantities in my opinion (and I'd rank them in that order); Patterson and Haskins each have tremendous upside and could be better than McSorely—mostly because of the whole Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Ohio State thing I'd say Haskins is likelier to be a star.


Running Backs

[Bryan Fuller]

Ace: Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and (sigh) OSU’s JK Dobbins are locks here, right?

Brian: TBH I think you could pick any of eight different guys out of a hat and it wouldn't make much of a difference.

Seth: Karan Higdon's arms are >.

Ace: I disagree. Taylor is a NFL-level difference-maker. Dobbins might be there too. If we’re throwing LJ Scott in with those guys, I have a problem.

Brian: Actually wait I was thinking about last year's edition of the Big Ten nvm

Seth: Taylor is #1 alone. Dobbins is #2 alone. After that it's a pile.

Ace: That take I agree with.

Seth: The top of that pile could very well be HigdonEvans.

Brian: I don't think it's a pile, I think Higdon is a clear #3.

BiSB: I dunno, Dobbins looked awfully good. The big difference between him and Taylor was volume.

Ace: Yeah, I think I’d grab Higdon third, though Ty Johnson has a strong argument.

The Mathlete: I have Higdon as the top conference back last year in Power 5 matchups.

Ace: Left-field candidate to watch: Miles Sanders is gonna step into the Barkley role and he’s crazy talented.

The Mathlete: Taylor probably should get a bump because of how much volume he can take

Seth: I really like Ty Johnson--he managed to stay above 6 YPC as the offense collapsed last year. But I don't want to leave Chris Evans out of the conversation. Not after the Game he had.

BiSB: Johnson had a strong start to the year, back when Maryland had quarterbacks playing quarterback.

Brian: Johnson doesn't have the workload. 137 carries all last year.

Ace: Higdon didn’t have the workload heading into last year. These be predictions. I mean, our first team guys were true freshmen last year.

Seth: If Michigan's going to more RPOs there's a good reason to leave Evans on the field even with Higdon.

Brian: Yeah but Higdon has more ability to carry the load; Johnson's a nice all purpose threat but has a high would-get-splintered probability.

BiSB: Counterpoint to Ace's Miles Sanders point: Saquon Barkley WAS Saquon Barkley, and he finished behind three Purdue rushers in conference YPA. And Joe Moorhead is gone.

Seth: And Miles Sanders is kinda fumbly.

Ace: The fumbly part I fully acknowledge. Same with Moorhead. The Purdue rushers bit is volume. Also scheme.

Seth: Darkhorse candidate here is Ricky Slade, PSU's 5-star all-purpose back. Running back is a spot that doesn't care if you're a freshman.

Ace: What do we do with Mike Weber?

Seth: < Higdon. Like that's not even a joke anymore.

Ace: I know he got passed up and some of us aren’t super impressed with him but he is productive when healthy.

BiSB: Look also for Northwestern freshman Djustin Djackson to get 250 carries at 4.1 yards per carry.

Brian: He's Dobbins' backup and will get 100 carries as that.

Seth: I want to state for the record that I believe the conference leader in YPC will be some dude Scott Frost found on Nebraska's track team who gets one carry.

The Mathlete: A really left field pick could be Tre Bryant at Nebraska. If he can come back healthy there could be some large numbers coming out of Frost's offense

BiSB: Weber did have 6.36 YPC in conference play, which was just a hair behind Taylor

Ace: See?

Brian: I have no idea what to make of Nebraska.

Seth: Frost always mixes up his running backs. They brought in a grad transfer who'll at least split carries.

Ace: I think this will be too much of a transition year for Nebraska to be super relevant.

Alex: Nebraska: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Seth: Their offensive line needs a loooooooooot of work.

BiSB: How dare you question the coach of the defending national champions? I would also like to mention Chris Evans. He'll probably get 150 carries this year, and I don't think there will be much drop-off from Higdon.

Seth: We're also counting out Kurt Taylor. Never count out Kurt Taylor.

Alex: I'm willing to go with... 1st team: Taylor, Dobbins; 2nd team: Higdon, Evans.

BiSB: We really should talk about LJ Scott a little bit.

Ace: 1st team: Taylor, Dobbins; 2nd team: Higdon, Sanders

BiSB: Like... what's the deal with LJ Scott?

Alex: I was just about to bring up LJ Scott

Seth: I can't figure out why he returned.

Alex: LJ Scott Avec Stickum is an all-conference back, probably.

The Mathlete: Pure volume runner, I have him as one of the most inefficient in the conference last year.

Seth: He used to be more than that. Getting him to pass block, or care, is an issue.

BiSB: He seems to have regressed.

Alex: Biggest dissonance between "how good he looks like out there (sometimes)" and "how impactful / valuable he actually is" of any skill position player in the league.

Seth: They lost his buddies though. Madre transferred when he heard Scott was coming back. I don't think MSU got the better end of that deal.

Ace: Whoa, I’d still take Scott over Madre “Definition of A Guy” London. On potential alone.

The Mathlete: Lewerke was the only efficient runner on that roster.

BiSB: London averaged 3.66 YPC. That is not good. Holmes averaged 3.63

Brian: I think this goes back to MSU's OL, which was awful on the ground a year ago.

Seth: I thought Madre was poor-damned last year but he never goes down on first contact. Thomas Rawls behind a similar situation.

Brian: Their go to play on third and short was a QB run/

Ace: My sense of MSU’s RB play last year was Scott was clearly the best runner but the coaches couldn’t trust him for pretty justifiable reasons like “occasionally drops the ball into the end zone.”

Alex: You can add "doesn't even pretend to try to block" to that list of reasons, Ace.

The Mathlete: Any votes for the Minnesota guys? I like Brooks a lot more than Smith.

BiSB: Poor Damn Minnesota Running Backs in 2018. There... there is a reason Minnesota was not mentioned in the QB section. Their running backs are going to be working uphill in the mud all year.


Seth: Since I feel like we're getting to the end, I don't think he's a top back but I love to watch Purdue's D.J. Knox because he looks like somebody squished him.

Ace: Purdue has a fun group. Markell Jones is solid, too. The other Indiana school has a back with decent potential in Morgan Ellison—I thought he could’ve put up solid numbers with a better scheme/OL.

Alex: That DeBord shade was too subtle for my tastes.

Ace: /giphy DeBord

Seth: Saddest moment in spring ball was Morgan Ellison on crutches handing out homemade oatmeal cookies. The DeBord has permeated everything.

Alex: Morgan Ellison would be Literally Barry Sanders if his offensive coordinator wasn't a sentient Whopper Jr. Value Meal.

Brian: Anyway.

Seth: The good news in Minnesota is they can get away with not blocking Khaleke Hudson this year.



Ace: Alec Ingold, Wisconsin’s other fullback last year.

There wasn’t much dropoff from Ramesh, who was awesome.


Ace: I’m out of fullbacks I know now.

Seth: Michigan State will have one and have some ludicrously practiced play for him against Michigan.

Ace: We’re done, I think.


MGoBlog's Preseason All-Big Ten…


# Brian Seth Ace BiSB Alex Mathlete
1 Trace McSorley, PSU McSorley McSorley McSorley McSorley McSorley
2 Alex Hornibrook, UW Dwayne Haskins, OSU Haskins Patterson Lewerke Lewerke
3 Brian Lewerke, MSU Lewerke Patterson Lewereke Haskins Haskins
4 Shea Patterson, UM Brandon Peters, UM Hornibrook Haskins Patterson Patterson

Seth: Though Patterson will be awesome against Notre Dame before he's knocked out for the season. I'm sorry, I'm broken.

Alex: The odds of Shea playing all 13 games are not high.

BiSB: He's mobile, so his ability to bravely run away will be key.


# Brian Seth Ace BiSB Alex Mathlete
1 Jonathan Taylor, UW Taylor Taylor Taylor Taylor Dobbins
2 Karan Higdon, UM J.K. Dobbins, OSU Dobbins Dobbins Dobbins Higdon
3 Rodney Smith, MN Higdon Higdon Higdon Higdon Taylor
4 Random Tractor Scott
Frost Finds In A Field
Smith Miles Sanders, PSU Johnson Chris Evans, UM Johnson


# Brian Seth Ace BiSB Alex Mathlete
1 J.K. Dobbins, OSU Evans Evans

A back is a back.

2 Ty Johnson, MD Johnson Johnson
3 Chris Evans, UM D.J. Knox, PU Ingold
4 Alex Ingold, UW Ingold Knox



July 18th, 2018 at 2:05 PM ^




July 18th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

Honestly, thinking Lewerke is a top five quarterback in this conference is so egregious that it will distract people from their ire over Draftageddon. Brilliant strategy. 


July 18th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

McSorley, Patterson, Haskins will be the top three, in some order. No single order would surprise me. Stanley and Hornibrook would round out my top five. I think tiers are more appropriate than straight rankings, I'd go:

Tier 1: McSorley, Patterson, Haskins

Tier 2: Stanley, Hornibrook

Tier 3: Ramsey, Thorson, Lewerke, Sindelar

Total Unknowns: Pigrome or Hill?, Martinez or Other Nebraska QB?

Bottom Tier: Whoever Minnesota, Rutgers, and Illinois start


July 18th, 2018 at 2:54 PM ^

Hornibrook's passer rating was 21 points higher than Lewerke's last year and his YPA 1.6 higher than Lewerke's. 3.3% higher completion percentage as well. 


As for Lewerke and Stanley, I think that one is closer, but I'd still take Stanley. Slightly higher passer rating, YPA, and TD:INT ratio, Lewerke has slight edge in completion percentage.


July 18th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

Saw the title and did a Ep III "Noooooooooooo" in my head but I like this format better. Thanks guys. 

Also, OSU keeps getting guys at the top of these lists; crootin matters. Ugh.


July 18th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

Saw the title and did a Ep III "Noooooooooooo" in my head but I like this format better. Thanks guys. 

Also, OSU keeps getting guys at the top of these lists; crootin matters. Ugh.

Lou MacAdoo

July 18th, 2018 at 2:12 PM ^

Love it! Random tractor Scott Frost finds in a field first overall. Who won last year, or is this not really a competition? If it is, how is it judged? Whoever drafts the most Buckeyes wins?


July 18th, 2018 at 2:30 PM ^

I had to look this up -- Brad Salem is the QB coach at MSU, and has been in that role for six seasons now (Cook and now Lewerke).  What I can't tell is this: how much of the combined success is Salem, how much is the talent of the QBs, and how much is something else?  Any ideas?

Hold This L

July 18th, 2018 at 2:33 PM ^

I think Mcsorely will regress big time. He has an average arm, hasn't shown an ability to read defenses, hasn't played a year without Saquon. Saquon and Moorehead were that team the past two years. Moorehead used Saquon as well as anyone could have and made it so easy for Mcsorely to make plays. Losing Moorehead would be like us losing Brown. Our defense would instantly regress. *Knocks on every piece of wood in sight*


July 18th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

I think he'll regress, idk about big time though. He was consistent enough over the last two years that we can say, even if he relied heavily on talent around him that is now gone, he was able to consistently get the ball to that talent. He didn't screw anything up, which makes me doubt a regression that would have him fall out of the top three QBs in the conference. Promoting the WR coach under Moorhead should mitigate some of that loss. The loss of Barkley, Gesicki, and Hamilton will be really huge. Johnson is a big and capable receiver, so McSorley still has that going for him. Everyone points out that Miles Sanders was a 5 star back, but he hasn't popped on film, to me, in his limited action.


I think their offense will probably fall out of the Top 15 in S&P, but probably not out of the Top 30. I think their defense will actually be hurting even more than their offense, and also fall out of the Top 15.


July 18th, 2018 at 10:41 PM ^

I know it's mentioned but I wonder how much people realize defenses focused on containing Barkley.  Everyone knows he was the best RB in CFB last year, yet his stat weren't all that.  He had 5.9 ypc and 11.7 ypr.  That's worse than Hidgon, Taylor, and Dobbins in ypc and worse than Higdon and Taylor in ypr.  When PSU has a mortal RB in the backfield, will McSorley see as favorable coverage in the secondary?

Think of it like the Peppers effect of eliminating screens from the opponents playbook.  You don't realize it's impact until it's gone.


July 18th, 2018 at 2:37 PM ^

The headline picture was a comfort to sore eyes! Finally some football content. I didn't mind the previous format as many other readers, but this is a marked improvement. Thanks! 

Shop Smart Sho…

July 18th, 2018 at 2:42 PM ^

Here's the thing. I was one of the people that really enjoyed Draftageddon and just thought the formatting on the posts just need a bit of tweaking. 

Now the majority of this reads like the second draft I'd get from kids in a play writing class I TA'd after I told them it wasn't a great idea to have all of the characters giving long declarations back and forth so they went the complete opposite direction and just had a continuous back and forth of a sentence or two between every character on stage.

Ron Utah

July 18th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

Love this format.  It's a massive upgrade, IMO, over the actual drafting.  

Would not mind seeing more baseless mocking or use of PFF stats to deride each other over meaningless predictions.


July 18th, 2018 at 3:07 PM ^

I'm really looking forward to some fun #Lolewerke regression this season.

He's the fully realized version of computer generated 70 overall 75 speed QB you would play a season with in NCAA when you took over a terrible program.


July 18th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

Lewerke will be fine this year, but he doesn't do anything great and while I keep seeing people (like Bill C) argue that MSU's passing offense is rough on QBs, I'd argue that an offense that runs the ball a ton and doesn't put it's QB in a lot of third-and-long situations (and Lewerke isn't particularly good at handling those situations) is pretty good at propping up average QBs.  And I mean, 6.7 ypa isn't anything to write home about; Wilton Speight's horrible first couple of games netted him 6.8 ypa.  

So no, it's a pretty big indictment of the conference that Lewerke is considered the second-best QB in it.



July 18th, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

Draftageddon is kind of like a kid's birthday party. You go and there's really nothing for you to do there. But the kid's are having a really good time so you just kind of go with it.


July 18th, 2018 at 3:21 PM ^

I knew it was coming, and yet I'm still excited.  

Mostly for the bitching about this free content being not the type of free they want, but also for the actual content.