The Top 29-40 Returning Big Ten Players

Submitted by Seth on July 24th, 2017 at 3:51 PM

or in the vernacular:

Draftageddon 2017: Annual Linemen of the Plains Edition

Four_Horsemen_by_MarkWilkinson1

This is Part III. We are drafting Big Ten players to give you an overview of the guys and dudes around the conference. You come out of it with a four-deep preseason All-Big Ten. We come out of it with very strong opinions on Rutgers linemen.

Previously: The first 10 picks (Hurst, Speight), the next 10 picks (Gary, Peters), and the 8 picks after that (Cole).

HOW THE THINGS STAND AFTER 28 PICKS:

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  • Ohio State (9 players): DE Nick Bosa (3rd, Seth), QB JT Barrett (6th, Seth), DE Tyquan Lewis (8th, BiSB), CB Denzel Ward (11th, Seth), DT Dre’Mont Jones (13th, Ace), OC Billy Price (17th, BiSB), DE Sam Hubbard (20th, Ace), LB Jerome Baker (21st, Ace), OT Jamarco Jones (28th, Ace)
  • Michigan (5 players): DT Maurice Hurst (2nd, Brian), DE Rashan Gary (5th, Ace), QB Wilton Speight (a reluctant 7th, Brian), QB Brandon Peters (an obligatory 16th, BiSB), OT Mason Cole (26th, Brian)
  • Penn State (3 players): RB Saquon Barkley (1st, BiSB), QB Trace McSorley (4th, Ace), “TE” Mike Gesicki (25th, BiSB)
  • Iowa (3 players): RB Akrum Wadley (18th, Brian), G/C Sean Welsh (22nd, Seth), LB Josey Jewell 23rd, Brian)
  • Indiana (2 players): LB Tegray Scales (9th, BiSB), WR Simmie Cobbs (12th, Ace)
  • Wisconsin (2 players): LB Jack Cichy (14th, Seth), TE Troy Fumagalli (15th, Brian)
  • Minnesota (1 player): DT Stephen Richardson (10th, Brian)
  • Maryland (1 player): DT Kingsley Opara (19th, Seth)
  • Northwestern (1 player): S Godwin Igwebuike (24th, BiSB)
  • Rutgers (1 player): OT Tariq Cole (27th, Seth)

It’s a snake draft so Ace is on the clock.

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    Ace: ROUND 8, PICK 1: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State

    Previously: 2016 Rnd 15 (Adam)

    Off: QB Trace McSorley (PSU), WR Simmie Cobbs (IU), OT Jamarco Jones (OSU)
    Def: DE Rashan Gary (M), DE Sam Hubbard (OSU), DT Dre’Mont Jones (OSU), LB Jerome Baker (OSU), S Marcus Allen (PSU)

    Allen is projected 15th overall in the 2018 draft by B/R’s Matt Miller, who lists him as the most NFL-ready safety in the class, the best strong safety, and the best run-stopper (Igwebuike is fifth and listed as the biggest question-mark). He would’ve been drafted last year. While he doesn’t quite have the range of a Cover 1 free safety, he checks all the other boxes:

    Allen may be strictly focused on the Rose Bowl at the moment, but after turning in his best collegiate season as a junior in 2016, it’s become a realistic option to forego his senior season as a Nittany Lion. The 6-2, 202-pound safety recorded 101 tackles, three passes defended, and a forced fumble through 13 games this season. Allen has decent size and great instincts, but may lack top-end speed which should place him as a day three selection.

    When he hits people, they stop:

    Penn State safety Marcus Allen can get bring it. pic.twitter.com/TnuQjcTiOR

    — Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 26, 2017

    I’m clearly on pace for most hated team but it’s not my fault you guys keep leaving capital-D Dudes on the board.

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    [After the jump: Hottest offensive linemen of the corn belt]

    Seth: ROUND 8, PICK 2: Nick Westbrook, WR, Indiana  

    Zander Diamont swansong

     

    Off: QB JT Barrett (OSU), WR Nick Westbrook (IU), OG Sean Welsh (IA), OT Tariq Cole (RU)
    Def: DT Kingsley Opara (MD), DE Nick Bosa (OSU), LB Jack Cichy (UW), CB Denzel Ward (OSU)

    Oh right this position exists, unless we're all running goal line plays all year. And yet it took us 30 picks to get to our second receiver. The reason is because everyone knows who the best returning receiver from 2016 is, but that guy has to a) Do it with Mike DeBord as his OC, b) Do it with Simmie Cobbs back on his team, and c) Do it with Richard Lagow throwing to him.

    That said, this isn’t a small target. He's 6'3/205, PFF tracked him at 3.04 yards per route run despite Lagow. He had 11 yards per target despite Lagow, six touchdowns despite Lagow, and finished 5 yards shy of 1,000 yards despite an erratically inaccurate quarterback.

    He dropped just five passes all year, and produced consistently against top competition (78 yards vs Michigan, 85 vs PSU, 67 vs OSU, 80 vs Utah). He also laid some thunderous blocks and was fast enough to be their end-around guy. And he did it all not with a senior Nate Sudfeld in a clean pocket, but Richard Lagow, who routinely looked to get it to Westbrook when things broke down, then left it short.

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    Brian: ROUND 8, PICK 3: Malik Turner, WR, Illinois  

    Off: QB Wilton Speight (M), RB Akrum Wadley (IA), TE Troy Fumagalli(UW), WR Malik Turner(ILL), OT Mason Cole(M)
    Def: NT Stephen Richardson (Minn), DT Mo Hurst(M), MLB Josey Jewell(IA).

    Nah, it's this guy. Remember last year's Illinois QB situation, which was horrendous? And remember that Illinois gave up midseason and started playing Jeff George Jr? And that they played as slow as humanly possible? And they had no offensive line and threw almost exclusively screens?

    Turner still managed 48 catches for 712 yards. That's despite missing (almost) two games with a concussion he suffered at the beginning of the Minnesota game. Illinois's next outing? MSU and its super-tasty secondary. By the time the Michigan game rolled around he was the Big Ten's top rated receiver per PFF, and he did nothing to change that with two 43 yard receptions in that game.

    This is the part where I'd say I'm worried that the Illinois situation is not conducive to catches, offense, or sanity, but... it literally cannot be worse than last year. Y'all saw that game. If Turner was on just about any other team in the league he would have gone off the board first, easy. Also: no Debord downgrade!

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    BiSB: ROUND 8, PICK 4: Rashard Fant, CB (IU)

    pssst that’s not Ohio State

    Off: QB Brandon Peters (UM), RB Saquon Barkley, TE/WR Mike Gesicki, G/C Billy Price (OSU)
    Def: DE Tyquan Lewis (OSU), LB Tegray Scales (IU), CB Rashard Fant (IU), S Godwin Igwebuike

    I have now drafted two Indiana Hoosiers. On defense. In the first 8 rounds. And you know what? Fant might not even be the last Indiana CORNER we take. Tom Allen better shit magical horseshoes again this year.

    But seriously folks, Indiana's defense was good last year, and Fant in particular was very good. He was second-team all-Big Ten in a year that was absolutely loaded with defensive backs. He registered 3 picks and 17 PBUs. He's also experienced (his 44 career PBUs leading the country), and as an Indiana corner, he has seen some THINGS, man. You're gonna try to rattle him? There was a three week stretch in 2014 where his safety help was literally a member of the marching band and a disinterested goat.

    Fant is undersized and athletically limited so he's not gonna be on any NFL watch lists, but he leads all returning Big Ten corners in passer rating against.

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    Alex: Better an Indiana defender than an Indiana offender. What a world.

    Seth: When I did the FFFF last year my take on Fant was that he's good enough to last as long as he has to in Tom Allen's blitz-crazy scheme. He's kind of J.T. Floyd after the Mattison transformation. That's a player you can live with. It's also a player I was going back and forth on for awhile because your upside is what you've got, but what you've got was something like a +9 PFF season (i.e. quite good).

    [A 2015 person grabs the microphone]  

    A 2015 Person: An Indiana defensive back before any Michigan State guys? Are y'all insane?

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    BiSB: ROUND 9, PICK 1: Beau Benzschawel, G/T (Wisconsin)  

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    he’s surely in there.

    Off: QB Brandon Peters (UM), RB Saquon Barkley, TE/WR Mike Gesicki, G/C Billy Price (OSU); G/T Beau Benzschawel (UW)
    Def: DE Tyquan Lewis (OSU), LB Tegray Scales (IU), CB Rashard Fant (IU), S Godwin Igwebuike (NW)

    Benzschawel (pronounced "BENZ-shwww... (trails off)) is a Wisconsin lineman. He's big. He's strong. He can move around, but he's not exactly "fleet of foot." He eats large quantities of cured meats. You know those "Greg Frey offensive linemen" we've been talking about in a recruiting context? The dancing bears types? These are not them. These are men whose game is predicated on physics.

    This particular edition of Stock Wisconsin Lineman Character can play either right tackle or guard, though he may be better suited as a guard. He's better at sealing and redirecting defenders than bowling them the heck over, though he is capable of the latter.  If you watch his film against Iowa, you get a sense of what I'm talking about. He's... I mean, I could continue to describe, but you've watched this guy in Madison for like a generation.

    He started every game last year, and was Wisconsin's highest rated offensive player in the Big Ten Championship Game. He was second-team all-Big Ten last year, and is on NFL radars (as interpreted through specious but extant mock drafts and rankings) as a contender for the third interior lineman off the board after Price and Cole (the Michigan one, not the Rutgers one... as if such things should have to be clarified). He is also on the preseason Outland Trophy watch list.

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    Brian: ROUND 9, PICK 2: Michael Deiter, OL, Wisconsin 

    Off: QB Wilton Speight (M), RB Akrum Wadley (IA), TE Troy Fumagalli(UW), WR Malik Turner(ILL), OT Mason Cole(M), C Michael Deiter(UW)   
    Def: NT Stephen Richardson (Minn), DT Mo Hurst(M), MLB Josey Jewell(IA).

    Say hello to Wisconsin Mason Cole, except he's 6'6" 330 and could be a legit left tackle. I just watched him help shut off Jaleel Johnson, the shoulda-been DL of the year in last year's Big Ten, and he's impressive: large, mobile, great awareness.

    I also went back and checked out my UW-Michigan clips. Almost all of these were Wisconsin getting owned but Deiter still kept Michigan defenders in check. None of those clips featured blocks I'd minus going the other way, and that's quite a thing against last year's Michigan line.

    Deiter graded amongst Wisconsin's top offensive players against LSU, MSU, and undefeated WMU. He was just a redshirt sophomore last year so he's still exploring the upside his massive frame offers him. He was intelligent enough to start at center for Wisconsin as a freshman. He was co-most improved player last year with first round pick Ryan Ramcyzk.

    Deiter's started at both guard and center during his career and took a spin at left tackle this spring, so I can put him just about anywhere and fill in gaps with best OL available. Now I have two linemen who are good! That's two more than last year!

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    Seth: FYI PFF liked Deiter too but warned us to stay away from the rest of the Badger OL:

    Outside of C Michael Dieter, the rest of the returning offensive line did not impress this past season; Even with Ramczyk’s massive grade, Wisconsin’s cumulative raw pass-blocking grade ranked just eighth in the Big Ten, and both run- and pass-blocking grades were well-below average for the season.

    A 2015 Person: Wait, Wisconsin's OL sucks? What the hell did you people do to the world in the last 2 years? Also did anyone ever figure out what color that dress was?

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    Seth: ROUND 9, PICK 3: Ike Boettger, OT, Iowa  

    Off: QB JT Barrett (OSU), WR Nick Westbrook (IU), OG Sean Welsh (IA), LT Tariq Cole (RU), RT Ike Boettger (IA)
    Def: DT Kingsley Opara (MD), DE Nick Bosa (OSU), LB Jack Cichy (UW), CB Denzel Ward

    We're running low on offensive linemen now that Brian has decided he should draft those this year. As far as tackles go, the last one I like is Ike, who earned honorable mention All-B1G last year while playing both tackle spots and guard and helping Iowa finish 15th in adjusted OL yards. He's 6'6/307, smart enough to have played quarterback in high school, and athletic enough to have been rated as a tight end coming out of it.

    Boettger was also one of the only OTs all year to stand up to Greg Mattison's military-industrial complex. That size and athleticism has him consistently rated among the 2018 draft's top 10-ish OTs with some putting him in largish top group behind that Texas OT they all gush about.

    PFF thought he was just a good (+6) run blocker, grading him neutral in pass pro. They also had PSU's injured 6'3 Brendan Mahon at tackle on their 1st team for a five-game stretch between getting mauled by Michigan and the start of November, and Erik Magnuson on the 2nd team. It's rough out there.

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    Ace: ROUND 9, PICK 4: Mike McCray, LB, Michigan

    Off: QB Trace McSorley (PSU), WR Simmie Cobbs (IU), OT Jamarco Jones (OSU)
    Def: DE Rashan Gary (M), DE Sam Hubbard (OSU), DT Dre’Mont Jones (OSU), LB Mike McCray (M), LB Jerome Baker (OSU), S Marcus Allen (PSU)

    McCray feels underrated even by Michigan fans. He had easily the best PFF grade of any Wolverine back seven defender last year at an impressive +21.8, which was enough to get him on PFF’s All-Big Ten first team over Tegray Scales and Jack Cichy

    McCray was very solid against the run and also did an outstanding job on blitzes. His 24 total pressure on just 77 reps put ranked him first in the country in pass rush productivity among inside linebackers with at least 30 rushes.

    McCray’s relative shortcoming was in coverage, where he still graded out well into the positives (+4.7), and his shift to MIKE from WILL should help him avoid some of the bad matchups in space that exposed his lack of top-end athleticism.

    Meanwhile, Matt Miller ranks McCray as this draft class’s best inside linebacker, run-stopper, and pass-rusher. After taking a while to get his career off the ground, he got better and better as last season wore on—by the Ohio State game, his run defense on the edge, which had been exposed in earlier games, was a strength in the most difficult of conditions. I boldly predict he’ll go earlier in the draft than Ike Boettger.

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    Ace: ROUND 10, PICK 1: Brian Allen, G/C, Michigan State 

    Off: QB Trace McSorley (PSU), WR Simmie Cobbs (IU), OT Jamarco Jones (OSU), G/C Brian Allen
    Def: DE Rashan Gary (M), DE Sam Hubbard (OSU), DT Dre’Mont Jones (OSU), LB Mike McCray (M), LB Jerome Baker (OSU), S Marcus Allen (PSU)

    The lone consistent positive on a line in constant flux, Allen entered the Michigan game with the best grade among Spartan lineman (+7.3) and was one of only two MSU OL to post a positive grade against the Wolverines; he eventually made second-team all-conference by PFF. He’s equally capable at center and guard, excellent blocking the run, effective in pass protection, and nimble enough to be a real asset as a puller and screen blocker.

    Some guys go in the tank when their position group isn’t up to snuff, but Allen is a clear standout who’s played well while sometimes switching spots multiple times in a game. We won’t be drafting many Spartans; this one fell too far.

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    BiSB: ***A WILD SPARTAN APPEARS***

    Seth: I knew someone was going to grab Allen but I hoped we would hold out to snatch a few other centers who're easier to get your arms around.

    BiSB: Also we were all afraid that before the season, Allen would be, like, struck by a meteor or arrested for RICO violations or something.

    Brian: Still time.

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    ROUND 10, PICK 2: Rashad Still, WR, Minnesota 

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    [Patrick Barron]

    Off: QB JT Barrett (OSU), WR Nick Westbrook (IU), WR Rashad Still (MN), OG Sean Welsh (IA), LT Tariq Cole (RU), RT Ike Boettger (IA)
    Def: DT Kingsley Opara (MD), DE Nick Bosa (OSU), LB Jack Cichy (UW), CB Denzel Ward

    Is P.J. Fleck going to find a quarterback? Dunno. Is he gonna tell that quarterback to find his 6'5" field stretcher? Well ya:

    “He has to be a bell cow,” Fleck said. “There isn’t like, ‘Well, if I develop, maybe they’ll throw me the ball.’ We’re gonna throw that guy the ball. We’re gonna throw him— I mean, (No.) 88 will get the football.  

    Fleck talks about his deep threats the way most coaches speak of 300-carry running backs, and nobody else in the North Star state looks remotely capable of being that guy.

    Still last year averaged 9 yards per target in a sample size that doesn't make that mean much. Between Mitch Leidner's comical inaccuracy, the old coaches' distaste for throwing downfield, and a shoulder injury that washed out last season, there's not much else to go on but hype. So, yeah, this pick is totally a shot downfield based on nothing else on Minnesota's roster looks remotely like Corey Davis, and Fleck's offense requires one.

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    Brian: ROUND 10, PICK 3: TJ Edwards, LB, Wisconsin

    Off: QB Wilton Speight (M), RB Akrum Wadley (IA), TE Troy Fumagalli(UW), WR Malik Turner(ILL), OT Mason Cole(M), C Michael Deiter(UW)

    Def: NT Stephen Richardson (Minn), DT Mo Hurst(M), ILB Josey Jewell(IA), ILB TJ Edwards(UW).

    An hour after I made my last pick PFF published this and I was all like "dammit PFF" and assumed Edwards was not getting back to me:

    But he did, so hooray.

    Edwards led UW in tackles as a redshirt freshman and earned PFF's #1 linebacker coverage grade in doing so. Combined with the tweet above that's two straight years of coverage dominance. Also: 3 sacks and 8.5 TFLs last year, which is pretty good for a guy who spends a lot of time dropping because he's amazing at it.

    After an injury held him out of the LSU game he emerged next to Cichy as the fourth guy in Wisconsin's absurdly good linebacker corps. Miller has him sixth amongst available ILBs for next year's draft and the top guy in the Big Ten.

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    Seth: Unnnghhhh that’s a good pick. T.J. Edwards just trolls me. I had him high on my board but haven't been online since yesterday. He was the top coverage LB last year too when I wrote him up for a late round selection and got injured literally minutes after I made the pick (I ended up with Cichy in that spot so, okay).

    So this is why you don't make picks from a boat: I ran with the Most-Corey-Davis-Like-Object rationalization for Still, then went back to do the writeup and wasn't nearly as impressed. His Michigan game was a fluke. He could be Corey Davis. He could be Moe Ways. It's impossible to tell because Leidner rarely throws and almost never throws a good ball. Splitting the difference Still's probably a guy who gets a ton of targets and catches just under 50% of them.

    Ace: Who could've seen this coming with a Minnesota wide receiver.

    Seth: Everyone but me and Al Borges. My excuse is I was literally rowing a boat.

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    BiSB: ROUND 10, PICK 4: Bryan Mone, NT (Michigan)

    Previously: 2016 Rnd 7 (Seth)

    Off: QB Brandon Peters (UM), RB Saquon Barkley (PSU), TE/WR Mike Gesicki (PSU), G/C Billy Price (OSU); G/T Beau Benzschawel (UW)  

    Def: NT Bryan Mone (UM); DE Tyquan Lewis (OSU), LB Tegray Scales (IU), CB Rashard Fant (IU), S Godwin Igwebuike (NW)

    Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) once threatened the city-state of Sparta with invasion with a message stating, “you are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” Sparta’s reply was one word:

    “If.”

    Michigan fans shouldn’t need too much of a primer on this pick. If Bryan Mone stays healthy, he will destroy the forms, slay the people, and raze the cities. The only question is whether he can stay healthy. He missed all of 2015 with a broken leg/ankle, and he missed several games in 2016 with a sprained knee, and really only worked his way back into full go in the latter half of the year.

    If he stays healthy, he’s basically Alan Branch. He is massive and pretty much immovable by a single block, but he also moves really well for an interior lineman. He has the chops to play some 3T, but is most decidedly a nose. He’s basically exactly what Michigan needs at the nose this year; he’ll hold strong at the point of attack while the rest of Michigan’s defensive line reenacts the Battle of Cannae all around him. If.

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    HOW THE THINGS STAND AFTER 40 PICKS:

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    1. Ohio State (9 players): DE Nick Bosa (3rd, Seth), QB JT Barrett (6th, Seth), DE Tyquan Lewis (8th, BiSB), CB Denzel Ward (11th, Seth), DT Dre’Mont Jones (13th, Ace), OC Billy Price (17th, BiSB), DE Sam Hubbard (20th, Ace), LB Jerome Baker (21st, Ace), OT Jamarco Jones (28th, Ace)
    2. Michigan (7 players): DT Maurice Hurst (2nd, Brian), DE Rashan Gary (5th, Ace), QB Wilton Speight (7th, Brian), QB Brandon Peters (an obligatory 16th, BiSB), OT Mason Cole (26th, Brian), LB Mike McCray (36th, Ace), NT Brian Mone (40th, BiSB)
    3. Wisconsin (5 players): LB Jack Cichy (14th, Seth), TE Troy Fumagalli (15th, Brian), OG Beau Benzschawel (33rd, BiSB), OC Michael Dieter (34th, Brian), LB TJ Edwards (39th, Brian)
    4. Penn State (4 players): RB Saquon Barkley (1st, BiSB), QB Trace McSorley (4th, Ace), “TE” Mike Gesicki (25th, BiSB), Marcus Allen, S (29th, Ace)
    5. Indiana (4 players): LB Tegray Scales (9th, BiSB), WR Simmie Cobbs (12th, Ace), WR Nick Westbrook (30th, Seth), CB Rashard Fant (32nd, BiSB)
    6. Iowa (4 players): RB Akrum Wadley (18th, Brian), G/C Sean Welsh (22nd, Seth), LB Josey Jewell 23rd, Brian), OT Ike Boettger (35th, Seth)
    7. Minnesota (2 players): DT Stephen Richardson (10th, Brian), WR Rashad Still (38th, Seth)
    8. Maryland (1 player): DT Kingsley Opara (19th, Seth)
    9. Northwestern (1 player): S Godwin Igwebuike (24th, BiSB)
    10. Rutgers (1 player): OT Tariq Cole (27th, Seth)
    11. Illinois (1 player): WR Malik Turner (31st, Brian)
    12. Michigan State (1 player): OG Brian Allen (37th, Ace)

    (Nobody yet from Purdue nor, weirdly, Nebraska)

    NEXT TIME ON DRAFTAGEDDON:

    traffic-cones-on-street

    Comments

    Michigan4Life

    July 24th, 2017 at 4:20 PM ^

    but I'm shocked that LJ Scott hasn't been picked. He had big games against OSU and Michigan. He ran for over 100 yards against both great defenses. Yes, it doesn't help that Mork insists on rotating RBs like Holmes and London who are inferior runner than Scott.

    ak47

    July 24th, 2017 at 4:35 PM ^

    Think it might be interesting to add average draft position in addition to the number of draftees per school.  Matters less in the early rounds where having a guy drafted is a good sign but by the end psu and md could have similar numbers of players drafted but most of psu's coming in the top 50 would show that they are still the better team.

    ScruffyTheJanitor

    July 24th, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

    I loved our linebackers last year, but they might have been my favorite LB corps last year. 

     

    Also: I am Geeking out about our front 7. If we can get an average performance or better from 3 CBs, we should have a lights out defense once again.

    Now if we could only get another tackle or two, I'd LOVE our chances this year. 

    lhglrkwg

    July 25th, 2017 at 11:36 AM ^

    Everyone in the sports world is lacking anything useful to talk about unless you like tennis or I guess the Gold Cup? Brian and co. are making fairly interesting content (covering a ton of players we'll see this year) to keep the front page from being entirely empty all offseason except for the recruiting reviews. Why are you complaining? Honestly.

    patrickdolan

    July 24th, 2017 at 6:20 PM ^

    I watched a bit of a Wisconsin game last year, and then looked up #66's name. You're right, he's the paradigm of a Wisky OL, and he can be fun to watch, if you like OL play.

     

    ruthmahner

    July 24th, 2017 at 8:37 PM ^

    "...a member of the marching band and a disinterested goat"

    I love Draftageddon for side remarks like this one, mixed unobtrusively among #content.  One minute I'm reading along, furrowed brow, considering relative strengths and weaknesses of various opponents' offensive lines, and the next I'm snorting Diet Coke out of my nose.

    Everyone Murders

    July 25th, 2017 at 8:01 AM ^

    Is "nebby" a thing?  I hope "nebby" isn't a thing - "nebby" sounds like an off-brand imitation of a scorchingly attractive Portuguese-Canadian pop singer or a flash-in-the-pan rapper.  Either way, both of those entertainers were of the early aughts,* and they have no place in the latter 2010s.

    *And "aughts" is a thing.

    dragonchild

    July 25th, 2017 at 7:46 AM ^

    I think McCray got underrated because his relative weaknesses were picked on in a defense almost entirely lacking in weaknesses.  You look at last year's defense and it's all death, death, death, and then after 96 hours of watching Michigan murder offenses the OC goes, "Well, this guy's only average in space, maybe we can string him out or throw it at him."  And offenses rode that to 200 yards total offense.  But it's not like running at Glasgow worked, so it's what we saw, McCray getting picked on, so despite being a very solid interior linebacker he looked like a weak link, when half of it was the offense trying to funnel the ball at Stribling, for whom run defense was his kryptonite.

    BTW, just to be a jerk, Cannae is in Rome, not Greece.  (You probably know that, but I'm gonna be a jerk anyway, because, Draftageddon.  My logic is infallible.)

    Michigan4Life

    July 25th, 2017 at 7:47 AM ^

    Gedeon's and McCray's deficiencies in space but that's the defense's biggest weakness which is LBs in space. McCray is great within the box but in space, not nearly as good because I don't think he's all that athletic relative to most LBs in the country.

    dragonchild

    July 25th, 2017 at 10:41 AM ^

    IIRC Gedeon was fine in space and I wouldn't call McCray "deficient".  Merely FBS average for a thumper, which is my point.  If it wasn't for the fact that he was surrounded by dangermen (and Strib's run D was atrocious), his range wouldn't have stood out.  On an average defense it'd be invisible; against last year's it was all offenses had to work with.

    Late Bluemer

    July 25th, 2017 at 10:35 AM ^

    It reads like a lazy man's attempt at draft projection.  The writer obviously didn't do much homework.  Out of 120 players mentioned, like 98% are power five players.  It reads more like "here is a list of good players on very good teams".