Draftageddon: One More Time With Feeling

Submitted by Seth on July 21st, 2014 at 10:33 AM

The goal of Draftageddon is to draft a TEAM of Big Ten players that seems generally more impressive than that of your competitors. Along the way, we'll learn a lot of alarming things, like maybe Maryland is good? Full details are in the first post.

PREVIOUSLY ON DRAFTAGEDDON

  1. Everyone not grabbing dual-threat senior QBs grabs defensive linemen
  2. Seth takes Venric Mark in front of just about everyone
  3. Nothing terribly remarkable happens
  4. BISB takes all the guys I want
  5. A ridiculous amount of time is spent discussing the merits of one particular interior lineman from Rutgers
  6. WILDCARD TIME as Brian takes a quarterback despite already having a quarterback.
  7. Peppers drafted in WILDCARD TIME II.
  8. Someone drafts an Illinois defender! I know!
  9. BISB goes Maryland crazy, reminds us all that he has Kurtis Drummond eighty-five times.
  10. GUAAAAARDS!

CURRENT SITUATION

image

ROUND 21 - PICK 2 (Ace): Darian Hicks, CB, Michigan State

O: QB Connor Cook (MSU), RB Ameer Abdullah (NE), WR Devin Funchess (U-M), WR Levern Jacobs (MD), SLOT Dontre Wilson (OSU), TE Maxx Williams (MN), LT Brandon Scherff (IA), LG Kaleb Johnson (RU), C Chad Lindsay (OSU), RT Tyler Marz (WI)

D: WDE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), SDE Andre Monroe (MD), NT Darius Kilgo (MD), DT Adolphus Washington (OSU), OLB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW), OLB Matt Robinson (MD), CB Desmond King (IA), CB Darian Hicks (MSU), S John Lowdermilk (IA), S Jarrod Wilson (U-M), HSP Earnest Thomas III (IL)

ST: KR/PR Ameer Adbullah (NE)

msuosu120813mm

Wears 2 and eats roses; must be Woodson [james brosher]

Ace: We're reaching the point in the draft when it's time to start gambling a bit; with this pick, I'm betting my imaginary cash money on Pat Narduzzi, the East Lansing Cornerback Factory, and Darian Hicks winning the starting job across from Trae Waynes.

The first two things don't seem like much of a gamble at all. The third may not be, either. Hicks saw some action as a true freshman last season, started and ended the spring as the starting field corner despite dealing with injury, was the first corner selected after Waynes in their spring game draft, and had their 247 outlet putting him under the secondary's "reasons for optimism" category—which somehow didn't just read "NARDUZZI"—after the spring ($):

Hicks, meanwhile, passed a host of players to see action as a true freshman last season and held on to his No. 1 spot at cornerback throughout spring ball. We don’t know what this secondary will look like without Jim Thorpe Award winner Darqueze Dennard, but at least we know who will take his place entering fall camp.

With Dennard and Waynes locking down the corner spots last year, no other corner did much that wasn't on special teams, so I went back to Hicks' high school film to see how he'd fit into MSU's aggressive defense. Considering he could do this as a high school junior, I think things will work out:

Hicks earned his MSU offer over a year before NSD 2013; the Spartans identified him early as a guy they really wanted in a class that had room for just one cornerback. His scholarship offer came directly from Mark Dantonio. Pat Narduzzi was his primary recruiter. That's good enough for me.

----INTERLUDE----

BISB: /Starts to snark Ace's selection of a guy who has played like 50 career snaps.

/Remembers, like, everything

/Sits down.

[after the jump: somebody goes totally bonkers for Badgers, and not who you think!]

Round 21, Pick 3 (BiSB) -Tyler Kroft, TE, Rutgers

kroft_ark

Bless you my son; I absolve you of your un-Kosher helmet

O: QB Devin Gardner (UM), RB Jeremy Langford (MSU), RB Tevin Coleman (IU),  WR Kenny Bell (Neb), WR Shane Wynn (IU), WR Deon Long (MD), TE Tyler Kroft (RU), OT Donovan Smith (PSU), OT Jack Conklin (MSU), OG Pat Elflein (OSU), OG Zac Epping (MN) C Austin Blythe (Iowa)

D: DT Louis Trinca-Pasat (Iowa), DE Joey Bosa (OSU), DE Noah Spence (OSU), LB Jake Ryan (UM), LB Mike Hull (PSU), CB Sojourn Shelton (Wisky), CB Jabrill Peppers (UM), S Kurtis Drummond (MSU), S Sean Davis (MD)

ST: Bell (KR), Peppers (PR)

BiSB: Back when we started this draft in the late 18th century, I gave Ace some crap for his selection of Maxxxxx Williams, not because of Williams but because he was Mitch Leidner's go-to guy, and... Mitch Leidner. But Ace correctly pointed out that he was no longer Mitch Leidner's target. He was now a member of Ace's Imaginary Order of the Questionable Secondary (actual name), freed from the shackles of Team Slower Less Accurate Less Jesus Version of Tebow. In fact, it was actually a positive that Maxxxxx was able to do as much as he did in the face of such incompetence.

In that spirit, I now select Gary Nova's binky, Tyler Kroft. At 6'6", 240 lbs, Kroft is one of them new-fangled hybrid tight ends. He was Rutgers leading receiver with 573 yards on 43 catches (13.3 yards per catch, 8.3 yards per target). His RYPR was the highest of any returning Big Ten tight end. And again, he did this with Gary Nova and GARY NOVA'S BACKUP.* He's versatile; he spent most of the Arkansas game lined up as a traditional tight end, and most of the bowl game against Notre Dame split out or lined up as an H-back. He's your typical matchup nightmare; too big and strong for corners and small safeties, too fast for linebackers. He's not a dominant blocker (you probably shouldn't leave him along with a defensive end), but he chips effectively and can reroute linemen if not outright stone them. It's no wonder he's CBS's #2 TE draft prospect for 2016, behind only... GOTDAMMIT PEOPLE HE'S A WIDE RECEIVER.

Also, I HAVE to take Kroft. Watching him in Rutgers' offense is like watching an ASPCA commercial where some moderately famous celebrity is like, "with your help, we can save this athlete from a cruel fate." I won't describe the incompetence in detail, but as an example, TWICE in the Arkansas game they had a wide receiver lined up outside Kroft when Kroft was on the line and the receiver was off, only to have the receiver re-position to be ON the line and cover Kroft up (making him ineligible to be a receiver). For absolutely no reason. Shockingly, they were both running plays. I mean, this is what he's working with. That is peak Rutgers.

* If you're curious, Nova's backup is Chas Dodd, which just feels like the name of someone who should be playing quarterback for Texas Tech.

----INTERLUDE----

Seth: You guys are drafting too fast to snark. A quick snark-down:

Epping: Who's drafting multiple centers now? (Actually I like this pick).

Lindsay: Gingers have souls! (Except when they sell theirs to Urban Meyer)

Grant: Epic discussion below (Still dumb, but not a dumb pick)

Rose: ...or maybe it's because Nebraska started putting 8 or 9 guys in the box every play for those games, trusting their safeties to Ed Reed their way back against mediocre passing attacks (Georgia was without their starting QB). Since the Michigan and Purdue games are ineligible due to offensive incompetence let's go to Iowa. With us now is Offensive Genius Greg Davis who's going to show us how to gain a first down by running right into this using only a Jewish fullback and Jake Rudock. Greg?

7500198:

  1. Rose waits for Blythe to hug him, then disengages to tackle for 5-yard gain.
  2. DT blown off the ball, Rose gets blocked by that guy's butt
  3. Rose waits until he's absolutely SURE it's a QB sneak, then runs up to butt-pat everybody.
    Rose was an improvement over Santos and an undersized freshman who's doubtless going to improve, granted. There's plenty of room to grow and still still look like a pretty sizable hole in Brian's defense.
    And to BisB's assertion [that it's an exercise in snark]: I disagree. I think it's an exercise in football knowledge that we sugar with snark so the readers will drink their damn football knowledge. Success isn't laughter; it's Joe the Reader having an intelligent response when an Indiana fan complains that nobody respects the guy with THE MOST PBUs IN THE COUNTRY!
    /Checks keyboard for scent of Indiana's pass defense.
    /Febreezes anyway.
    It's impossible, even when condensing a 14-team league into 100 players, to have a perfect team of sound playmakers. There are two ways to be great on defense:

    1. Combine solid players who never screw up their assignments with a few great ones who force the opponent into lots of mistakes. Or

    2. Be very aggressive and lucky.

    People stopped sugarcoating this sometime between 2012 and last year's Game: Ohio State's defensive back—ALL of their defensive backs—are about as dumb as they are talented, and they are VERY talented. The NFL scouts drool after Doran Grant like they drooled after Bradley Roby. The NFL took Jonas "Janus" Mouton too, because with good coaching you can sometimes turn a Mouton into Ryan Shazier.
    Another year of growth=improvement, but the same is true for every player on our rosters except Jabrill Peppers. I watched eleven Ohio State games last year and came away certain that Doran Grant is still more than a single offseason away from becoming better than a Strategy #2 guy. For a CB who'll be on the field every down, I'd rather have Raymon Taylor. Since Brian already has two better-than-Taylor every-down corners, Doran Grant as a nickelback is a good pick: with that NFL-grade talent there will be some times when the lucky strokes cause a huge swing. Those times he necessarily decides he just wants to sit down and draw pictures of mascots in the grass will lead to 12-yard gains, not 70.
    I mean it will so long as there's two good safeties behind him. About that...SAY CHEESE!

ROUND 21 - PICK 4 (Seth): Michael Caputo, HSP, Wisconsin
ROUND 22 - PICK 1 (Seth): Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin

O: QBs Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson (Ind), RB Venric Mark (NW), RB Corey Clement (Wis), WR Devin Smith (OSU), WR Christian Jones (NW), LT Jason Spriggs, LG Jake Cotton (Neb), (Ind), C Brandon Vitable (NW), RG Jack Allen (MSU), RT Taylor Decker (OSU).
D: DE Randy Gregory (Neb), DE Marcus Rush (MSU), DT Michael Bennett (OSU), NT Warren Herring (Wis), MLB Taiwan Jones (MSU), WLB Steve Longa (Rut), HSP Michael Caputo (Wis), SS Corey Cooper (Neb), FS Adrian Amos (PSU), CB Blake Countess (Mich), CB Eric Murray (Minn)
ST: Mark

SPORTS_clement_AF-336x358caputo

Badgerbadgerbadgerbadger

You guys are right to draft talented players for the slot given all the spread 'n shred going on here. What I don't understand is why you're all settling for players who think their heads are something you tackle dudes with, especially when there's a pretty good linebacker-like safety, or rather a pretty good safety-like linebacker, or, you know, an actual HSP who's played HSP just staring at you from 2013's 5th best run D.

Wisconsin moved Caputo, their second leading tackler, to "F" linebacker (rover/HSP) at times last year because he was one of the few dudes in college football who could be like "no, Carlos Hyde, you're NOT getting more yards." Bucky's Fifth on the move:

Too many times last season we witnessed Wisconsin linebackers get burned in coverage. I mean, how often did we have to hear about former UW linebacker Mike Taylor getting beat on a wheel route? The combination of the new 3-4 scheme and personnel decisions has corrected many of those mismatches. Caputo is the perfect hybrid to play both pass-rushing and run-stopper roles, as well as a skillful cover man.

Without Caputo (concussion-like symptoms) the Badgers gave up 339 to Penn State. I'm not just correlating here: they got DC Dave Aranda to staight-up admit it:

The Badgers have had success mixing and matching four or five different players at safety. But Caputo was involved in every defensive scheme and because he has such a high football IQ, Aranda relied on him to do several things in the base defense. That’s why Caputo was missed so much in the last game.

“The way we had been playing our safeties, there were certain guys doing certain things,” Aranda said. “A lot of it was base defense, things we’ve been doing all year long. Within those base defenses are certain adjustments, certain schematic things that only Caputo did. That was his role.

“He would take the tight end on a motion, or he would play in a certain alignment versus a certain look — only he did those things. With him being gone, all of those things kind of add up.”

They were saying that about a sophomore, guys. Wisconsin has him back to safety this year because somebody has to cover something. But I have good safeties, and now I have a complete nickel defense.

And since "this position is friggin' awesome every year so I'm drafting the new guy" appears to be pretty established by now, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Wisconsin's second running back is again pretty good. To the freshman highlights:

Wow....wow....okay Indiana's defense is terrible but wow. Being the third guy last year means the highlights are necessarily coming against Illinois/ Tennessee Tech/ Purdue/ Umass/ Indiana/ Chi Chi Ariguzo, but Clement is a guy who makes bad college football defenses look like bad high school defenses. Nobody seems to make solid contact on him, and that speed burst is...well it's fast. Backup schmackup, this is the kind of athlete who could probably throw the ball to himself and catch it. He... AAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAimgres! nervousfan4.

I don't care if he did all his damage against the dreks; if I'm to take a gamble I'd as soon it be my second RB rather than, say, free safety or starting cornerback or middle linebacker, where a bad cast wipes out everything else. Wisconsin No. 2 backs get 200+ carries these days, and these days they're as a likely as a Beilein perimeter player to break out as soon as the last one departs. In my offense he can play Tevin Coleman and let Venric Mark take snaps as a slot, and we'll see whether your 'what-is-ourmz' HSPs can stop 'em.

----INTERLUDE----

BISB: DAMMIT SETH, you weren't supposed to tell the readers that this stuff was actually educational. It's like telling a toddler "yep, this delicious cheese conceals asparagus, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to eat the thing that looks like cheese.

SETH: I have drafted three things that look like cheese in a row. About which, sorry Ace [yoinks holy wheel].

 sethcheese

BISB: Well I'm about to draft my second consecutive thing that looks like a terrible freaking decision by the Big Ten. So I know where you're coming from.

No beef with Clement for the same reason I don't have a beef with Darian Hicks: with certain positions on certain teams, if you don't know what you're dealing with,

However, given that we're apparently largely done with running backs, I'll say that I'm surprised no one grabbed Ezekiel Elliot. He's stepping into Carlos Hyde's role, and will have really good numbers at the end of the year almost by default. It's the kind of pick that makes you look smarter at the end of the year than you might actually be (see also: Wisconsin running backs, Michigan State corners).

Round 22, Pick 2 (BiSB) - Kevin Snyder, LB, Rutgers

O: QB Devin Gardner (UM), RB Jeremy Langford (MSU), RB Tevin Coleman (IU),  WR Kenny Bell (Neb), WR Shane Wynn (IU), WR Deon Long (MD), TE Tyler Kroft (RU), OT Donovan Smith (PSU), OT Jack Conklin (MSU), OG Pat Elflein (OSU), OG Zac Epping (MN) C Austin Blythe (Iowa)

D: DT Louis Trinca-Pasat (Iowa), DE Joey Bosa (OSU), DE Noah Spence (OSU), LB Jake Ryan (UM), LB Mike Hull (PSU), LB Kevin Snyder (RU), CB Sojourn Shelton (Wisky), CB Jabrill Peppers (UM), S Kurtis Drummond (MSU), S Sean Davis (MD)

ST: Bell (KR), Peppers (PR)

12481119-standardKS_webgraphic2013

BiSB: Nope. Can't do it. Can't watch a bunch more Rutgers football to properly scout this kid. Sorry. A man has his limits. So we're gonna do this one blind.

Snyder had 96 tackles (7.5 TFLs) on a team that held opponents to 3.10 yards per carry. He's on Phil Steele's All Big Ten 3rd team. He can play multiple linebacker positions; he played WILL last year, but he's moving to MIKE this year. And he's shaped like a MIKE (6'3", 240), and I need a MIKE, so Snyder it is.

Okay, I lied. I watched a few clips to make sure he had opposable thumbs and stuff. And I'm honestly not sure how he racked up 96 tackles as a WILL. It was probably a function of the line keeping him clean. He's a thumper who diagnoses pretty well but doesn't have the kind of burst you look for in a WILL. He's better scraping over the top and coming downhill than he is knifing through traffic and finding the play from the back side. He's a propotypical MIKE: thick, strong sturdy kid who tackles well and gets to the ball  or moves the traffic jam to the ball. With him and Longa switching places, Rutgers' linebacking corp really could be quite good.

----INTERLUDE----

Another interlude, Srsly?

----PHIL STEELE JUST CAME OUT!----

Oh. Then by all means.

----INTERLUDE----

Brian: I seem to be looking at Phil Steele's All Big Ten teams and... wait, the guy I just picked is on the second team. Could someone douse the cauldron and stop the whole elaborately-boiling-myself-in-oil process of penance? I thought I'd gone a little overboard, and now I am thinking I went moderately overboard.

BiSB: And yet no one has taken his 2nd team All-Big Ten wide receiver... Kyle Prater.

Ace: Oh geez, I thought BiSB was joking...

(Meanwhile, aforementioned dude-who-needed-replacing David Santos is also a second-teamer. He also put Zach Zwinak, Mark Weisman, and David Cobb on his teams while leaving off Josh Ferguson, the one Illinois player worth including.)

Despite Phil Steele losing any credibility he just had with all non-Heikos, I'm taking the undrafted second-team guard from this list.

ROUND 22 - PICK 3 (Ace): Jordan Walsh, G, Iowa

O: QB Connor Cook (MSU), RB Ameer Abdullah (NE), WR Devin Funchess (U-M), WR Levern Jacobs (MD), SLOT Dontre Wilson (OSU), TE Maxx Williams (MN), LT Brandon Scherff (IA), LG Kaleb Johnson (RU), C Chad Lindsay (OSU), RG Jordan Walsh (IA), RT Tyler Marz (WI)

D: WDE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), SDE Andre Monroe (MD), NT Darius Kilgo (MD), DT Adolphus Washington (OSU), OLB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW), OLB Matt Robinson (MD), CB Desmond King (IA), CB Darian Hicks (MSU), S John Lowdermilk (IA), S Jarrod Wilson (U-M), HSP Earnest Thomas III (IL)

ST: KR/PR Ameer Adbullah (NE)

552fe7_ec70f4379cb72fa5e669c0fbefeb218b.jpg_srz_203_230_85_22_0.50_1.20_0newacecorn

Ace: At at point or another during 2013, nine former Iowa offensive linemen were on an NFL roster, the oldest of whom—Ravens three-time All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda—was drafted in 2007. You don't need to know much math to figure out that in any given class, the Hawkeyes probably have a future NFL lineman—if the Ferentz dynasty can hang its hat on one thing (well, besides an impossibly terrible contract), it's their ability to find and develop quality players in the trenches. Brandon Scherff is that guy in their senior class. Jordan Walsh is that guy in their junior class.

Walsh came to Iowa from his Illinois home with a higher recruiting profile than most Hawkeye lineman; a consensus four-star sitting a little outside the top 100 overall recruits, he also held offers from the likes of Michigan (sigh), Arizona, MSU, Nebraska, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC. He played in seven games with one start as a redshirt freshman before starting every game at right guard in 2013. While the transition to starter wasn't flawless, he steadily improved throughout the season, and OL coach Brian Ferentz is simply looking for him to play at his best more consistently:

“So for Jordan, what he has to improve is his consistency. He’s capable of being a great player, and he flashes that at times. He needs to do that all the time. That’s what we’re looking for, and he knows that. I expect at this point in his development, he’s older. He’s a year older. He’s a fourth-year guy, and I would expect to see that from him.”

If he can do that, he could very well reach the heights Phil Steele's projected for him.

While Iowa's offense didn't put up eye-popping numbers last year, they did finish fifth in the conference in adjusted line yards and fourth in adjusted sack rate with little in the way of weapons—a glorified fullback was still getting most of their carries, and then there's the GERG factor—and the running game could get a lot more explosive this year if junior Jordan Canzeri (6.5 ypc on 74 attempts in '13) or one of their promising freshman backs takes more carries away from Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock.

I'm assuming Brian will grab Dan Voltz soon to complete his 4/5 of the Wisconsin offensive line; not a bad plan, but we'll see how it works with a cardboard cutout of Gabe Carimi at left tackle. Meanwhile, BiSB automatically loses for taking back-to-back Rutgers guys, right? That has to be in the bylaws somewhere.

----INTERLUDE----

Seth: Speaking of Prater, rules of the draft explicitly state that:

"Kyle Prater must be drafted far too early."

We ran this language by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, who assured us that this ruledoes, in fact, mean that Prater must be drafted. However if consensus is reached that "never" would be too early to draft him, the requirement of "far too early" would be fulfilled were Prater to be selected as the final pick of the draft.

Therefore if not taken before, the person with the final pick in Draftogeddon 2014 must select Kyle Prater.

Ace: Congrats on finally finding your free safety, Brian.

ROUND 22 - PICK 4 (Brian): Michael Geiger, K, MSU
ROUND 23 - PICK 1 (Brian): Traveon Henry, FS, Northwestern

O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU), QB Christian Hackenberg (PSU), RB Melvin Gordon (WI), RB/WR Josh Fergusion (UI), WR Stefon Diggs (MD), WR Tony Lippett (MSU) TE Jeff Heuerman (OSU), OT Rob Havenstein(WI), G Kyle Costigan(WI), G Dallas Lewallen(WI)

D: DE Frank Clark(M), DE Therien Cockran (MN), DT Darius Hamilton(RU), DT Carl Davis(IA), LB Desmond Morgan(M), LB James Ross(M), CB Trae Waynes (MSU), CB Jordan Lucas (PSU), CB/HSP Doran Grant (OSU), S Ibraheim Campbell (NW), S Traveon Henry (NW)

ST: K Michael Geiger (MSU), PR/KR Stefon Diggs(MD)

geiger131116075032_USATSI_7558326

so my watch begins

Geiger hit 15 of 16 field goals after winning the starting job as a freshman. He was the top kicker in the country to Rivals when he was a recruit. Therefore he is good at football. There is not much to say about kickers.

And, well, uh... so... I'm taking both Northwestern safeties! Because my strategy in this draft is clearly an attempt to cast a Doublemint commercial.

Actually, I think this is very defensible. Northwestern's defense was only acceptable last year because of their high-quality safety pairing. As discussed somewhat in the Campbell piece, Northwestern gave up a lot of ten-yard plays because their front seven was stinky. They were tenth in the league in that department, one in front of Purdue.

Once things started looking bad nobody played Jermaine Jones better than the Wildcats. Big Ten teams by the percentage of 10 yard plays they let turn into 20 and the percentage of 10 yard plays they let turn into 30:

Name 10 to 20% RK 10 to 30% RK
Northwestern 25.3% 1 8.4% 1
Michigan 28.6% 4 10.8% 2
Penn State 30.6% 6 10.9% 3
Iowa 26.5% 3 11.4% 4
Ohio State 26.5% 2 12.4% 5
Purdue 29.8% 5 13.1% 6
Nebraska 33.2% 10 14.1% 7
Wisconsin 32.0% 7 15.2% 8
Minnesota 36.6% 11 15.4% 9
Michigan State 32.8% 8 16.8% 10
Illinois 39.6% 12 17.1% 11
Indiana 32.9% 9 17.8% 12

While this isn't a perfect measure of safeties (MSU's high level of aggression places them down these lists), it's a pretty good proxy until you get to the extremes of defensive philosophy. I invented this stat because I needed something to demonstrate that Jordan Kovacs was a pimp, and when I looked at it it turned out that Michigan was just absurdly good in that stat (like second in the nation in 10 to 20). Therefore it is a good stat. QED.

Northwestern was #1 in both departments, and this wasn't necessarily a product of a super conservative defense. Northwestern was actually above average at acquiring sacks and TFLs a year ago, and remember that the injury-riddled corner unit was throwing true freshmen—Northwestern true freshman corners—out there for big chunks of the season.

Henry wasn't much of a PLAY MAKER who MADE PLAYS—4 TFLs, 1 PBU, 1 INT, and that's fine. The widely-praised Jarrod Wilson comes with two fewer TFLs and one additional PBU and INT. Sometimes MAKING PLAYS is about MAKING A TACKLE instead of FALLING OVER IN A HEAP AND WEEPING TO YOURSELF.

Add in the fact that Henry started ten games as a true sophomore and has plenty of room to improve, a la Wilson, and I'm not too upset that he's the guy available at free safety. It could be worse.

----INTERLUDE----

ACE:

unnamed

Confirmed: Doesn't fall over in a heap and weep to himself.
Unconfirmed: Whether or not he's moved from that spot since last November.

CURRENTLY CURRENT SITUATION

currentlycurrent

Next time: Ace gets more boring than a Traveon Henry dance-off, pad level is mentioned. Everybody writes less. Not really.

Comments

Ron Utah

July 21st, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

We're getting into some more obscure players now (although I think there are still a few gems to be had) and teams are rounding into form.  At this point, the team starts to be more important than the individual talent that's been assembled, and I decided I would rank the offense and defense of each group, and then see where we stand overall.

Offense:

  1. Brian - Miller, Diggs, Gordon, Heuerman.  Four potential first-team All-B1G playmakers right there.  That said, his O-Line still needs two more players, and I'm not sure how much talent is left there.  He could easily drop.
  2. Ace - This is close (BiSB), but I think Ace is just a bit better.  Cook improved dramatically last season, and Abdullah, Funchess, and Maxx are all game-breakers.  Ace also has excellent support players on offense: Dontre Wilson and Levern Jacobs are more than capable if left in one-on-one situations.  Scherff is the best lineman in the conference, and Ace got good value with Johnson and Marz.  Walsh was a fine pick in round 22.  His final O-Line pick could make a big difference.
  3. BiSB - Will Devin Gardner have a season that pushes him into the first or second round of the NFL draft?  Nussmeier's history with QBs is definitely in BiSB's favor here, and if DG becomes an elite player, than BiSB likely moves ahead of Ace, and maybe Brian.  The O-Line is powerful and talented from top to bottom, and Langford and Coleman are both backs who can grind out yards after contact.  While Kroft and Long are two of the best value picks in the entire draft, combined with Bell and Wynn this is still only the third-best receiving combination.  That said, these are solid guys that will catch the ball and take what's given to them, and this is one of those offenses that you hate to play against because it's extremely efficient, if not game-breaking.
  4. Seth - There is a coherent strategy here, but there are some glaring holes as well.  Sudfeld is a spread QB who can't run, and Roberson doesn't actually exist.  Mark was taken way too early, and, while I love the Clement pick, this backfield is probably the worst of the group.  Also, Christian Jones and Devin Smith are fine players, but there is no TE yet (though there are good ones left to be taken) and no third WR.  All that said, the O-Line is perfect for Seth's philosophy, and if he had a truly dominant running QB like Braxton Miller, then this quickly becomes a very, very strong offense.  But there are no more Braxton Millers, or even anything close.

Defense:

  1. BiSB - I'm not sure BiSB has the best position group at D-Line, LB, or Secondary.  But his defense is nearly complete and I don't see a hole in it anywhere.  He also has several game-changing players: Bosa, Drummond, and Ryan were all early picks that can win games for their team.  While his second DT is just going to be a space-eater type, there are still a couple of good fat men available to round out his defense; a nickel CB or HSP could also be found.
  2. Seth - This is close.  Really close.  Ace is right there, and may be better than Seth.  But I think's Seth secondary is better than Ace's, and, even though Ace's D-Line is probably the best of the bunch, Seth isn't far behind, if at all.  Jones and Longa are both excellent LBs, although Seth still needs one more.  Caputo is one of the best value picks of this whole exercise.  While it lacks some of the dynamic play-making that BiSB's group has, this is a great defense without any real weaknesses.
  3. Ace - Did I mention this was close?  Ace almost certainly has the best overall D-Line, though I believe Calhoun is overrated (he's still a very good player).  Ariguzo and Robinson are a good start to the LB position, and Chi Chi can makes plays, even if he's not a truly elite player.  The secondary is a bit concerning for me.  Desmond King is good, but was taken too early.  Sure, I agree with the "Darian Hicks because Pat Narduzzi" argument, but he's hardly a proven commodity.  Lowdermilk is pretty good, and Wilson is solid, but there isn't a play-maker in the entire bunch.  In fact, Wilson's two INTs are the best of the bunch, and the whole group has a total of, gulp, THREE, and neither CB has even one.
  4. Brian - Brian has a good pair of DTs, and a pair of DEs that are good-not-game-changing.  His LBs, I'm sad to say (since they're 2/3 Michigan guys) are the weakest bunch.  That said, he easily has the best CBs of the group, with Lucas and Waynes two of the best in the conference (if not the two best in the B1G) and Grant an amazing talent that was one of the better value picks of this draft.  But the All-Northwestern safety pairing is barely adequate, even with the good made-up stat.  The trouble, as I see it, is that there isn't a great pass rush here and the playmakers are really the CBs.  The other three teams have the weapons to exploit the middle of the field, where Brian's defense is weak.

If you just look at raw numbers, BiSB's #1 and #3 rankings put him on top.  Ace and Brian are tied for second, and Seth is just one point behind them.  It's worth noting, however, that Brian did just get the best kicker in the conference and he already has one of the best returners in the conference.  So here's how I think it plays out:

  1. BiSB
  2. Brian
  3. Ace
  4. Seth

But it's close, with no one sucking on both sides of the ball, and some critical picks left to be made.

Seth

July 21st, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

It's like the AP poll. I keep winning, and they keep underrating me because the quarterback isn't a 5-star.

Results are on the field!

The team the team the team!

Games are won in the trenches!

A bird in hand is worth two fish in a barrel!

My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty...

Seth

July 21st, 2014 at 2:59 PM ^

Riiight. That.

Damn you, statistically best QB in the conference who left because he didn't want to split time with the statistically second best QB in the conference I still have!

Don't underrate Jones; he's the Junior Hemingway of that offense; the other guys are the short-range dink-n-dunk targets. And don't underestimated the combo of Smith's downfield threat and Sudfeld's downfield accuracy, especially when that makes space for Venric Mark and Corey Clement to operate. I leapt at what I thought was the best space athlete in the conference, and because of that Mark's been unfairly downgraded when before his injury he was better than Shane Wynn and more marketable than Josh Ferguson and Dontre Wilson. In retrospect I could have had both Wisconsin RBs and gotten, if not Mark or Wynn, then one of those other guys later. Or Trae Waynes. I'm somewhat less horrified at my one bad pick now that dudes like Caputo and Rush and Murray and Longa have fallen to me so late.

I totally agree this offense needs some pieces: a route-ninja slot to complement Jones, and an unguardable tight end target, and most of all a new Roberson, but where can you find a passer as efficient as Devin Gardner with the legs of Braxton Miller and the zone-read proficiency (a vastly underrated skill) of Roberson? As you've said, Braxton Miller and Devin Gardner came off the board before I even got my first pick.

Then again if I could find such things, well, with that offensive line...

Ron Utah

July 21st, 2014 at 3:33 PM ^

We both know stats can lie, and while Sudfeld is a fine passer, he's not the best in the conference.  I don't see the guy as having the "it" factor, but he was the best option for you after Brian pulled his parlor trick.

I don't think I'm underrating Jones.  He's a fine player and can be a good Hemingway-type, but he and Smith both have limited skillsets.  They are two guys who would be great #2 options, but neither are are the consistent threat posed by a Funchess, Corey Brown, Stefon Diggs, or even Deon Long.  They are good but not great.  Again, you have two good WRs there, but they're still the worst group, IMO.  Whose WRs do you think are worse than yours?

Mark is a very good player when he's healthy, and I'd certainly rank his value above the comparables you mentioned, but those other guys came off the board 6, 11, and 14 rounds later.  It was just early for him.  FWIW, Mark is the ONLY player on the Northwestern roster that scares me.

You hit the nail on the head yourself: You need a slot ninja, TE, and preferably a running QB.  If you find these pieces, there's no reason you can't improve your standing as the #4 offense.  That said, I only see high quality available at one of those three positions.

What's interesting is that I thought DG was an early pick by BiSB.  If you had gotten DG and BiSB had ended-up with Hackenberg, this is a completely different picture, and a lot closer all the way around.

I am not going to make a final call until the fat lady sings.  I think you're longest shot to win the useless prize of my opinion, but there is still time, and you've been drafting very well.

Bodogblog

July 21st, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

I disliked this series last year, but with a better understanding of the intent and a little better format to indicate who's talking/selecting, it's an excellent preview of the B1G.  Thanks for taking the time to put it together, and improving

EDIT: specifically the analysis like that re. Rose - I'd heard he was the reason for improvement for Nebraska, but hadn't heard why or seen any data/video.  Helpful to see at least one datapoint indicating it may have been scheme rather than player.  Lindy's has him first team B1G

m1jjb00

July 21st, 2014 at 1:16 PM ^

I love this series.  As a coda, could there be a snarkfest on some of the guys that weren't taken but would be if you looked at stats or other All B1G teams?  That would help round up the thing as a B1G preview.  Tim Bennett, who was referenced above, would be an example.