We're still more than 100 days from Penn State's first game of the season, with any relevant updates on actual football matters few and far between. So for now, we're living in Fantasyland and picking which player from around the nation you would magically add to Penn State's roster for the 2013 season.
Here are the rules, should you wish to play along in the comments section:
- The player must be currently on a roster and expected to play in the 2013 season
- The player can be from any division or conference
- The addition would only be for the 2013 season, so remaining eligibility should not be taken into consideration
Bill- I want to say Jadeveon Clowney, but PSU is set on the D-Line (oh, who am I kidding, I want that dude in the most unhealthy way possible). If we're going by a mix of "skill" plus "position of need," it has to be Johnny Manziel, right? PSU needs an experienced QB, and even though a guy like Teddy Bridgewater would be a better fit in BoB's system, Johnny Manziel won a Heisman playing against the toughest competition in the country. As for position of need, this lets Hack redshirt a year behind someone who is absolutely not gonna be around next year. Lastly, there's a good chance that if Johnny Football came here, you'd get a chance to drink/party with him. #DOWORKBOB
Jersey Nick*- Since I assume a quarterback is going to a popular pick here, might as well pick the best one and say Rob Bolden...Wouldn't that be great? But more seriously, I'll say AJ McCarron. No, he's not the most talented or physically gifted QB in the country, but god knows Matt McGloin wasn't either. McCarron is very solid across the board in terms of arm strength, accuracy, etc. He won't lose any games for you; he's only thrown 8 interceptions in his career. He seems to be very coachable and intelligent. He would probably have no trouble picking up the playbook. But most importantly, he knows what it takes to win. He's been a member of 3 national championship teams, and although he wouldn't be playing for one in State College, that kind of experience could come in handy when he needs to keep himself and his teammates calm and focused. Ed.- We now have two Nick's on staff. From here on out they will be known as "Jersey Nick" and "Original Nick."
Ben- I'm curious to see how many Big Ten players get selected. I'll put the line at 0.5. And I'm taking the under. So give me Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. He manned the right tackle spot for the Aggies last year, frequently on an island with zero help, and earned 1st-team All-SEC ahead of the NFL's #11 overall selection, Bama's DJ Fluker. Among his many accomplishments last season, Matthews also made Barkevious "Keke" Mingo disappear for 60 minutes on Saturday in College Station. Mingo, naturally, was selected #6 overall by (cough) the Cleveland Browns. So bring Matthews to PSU. A year in BO'B's offense won't hurt Matthews' already premium draft stock any. Slapping him into the O-line will help our young QBs, and give BO'B a measure of flexibility, knowing he won't have to worry about one side of his line holding up.
Dan- bscaff's prediction of zero B1G players being taken stops here. The Big Ten is becoming more and more of a pass-happy conference with the additions of Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke (and although we haven't seen it yet, Darrel Hazell at Purdue and new Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit will bring aerial offenses into the conference as well). It has been a long while since Penn State has had a true shutdown corner and if Penn State wants a better shot at winning games against the Buckeyes and Wolverines this fall, they'll need someone to hold Devin Smith/Philly Brown and Jeremy Gallon in check.
That's why I'll take Bradley Roby away from Columbus and bring him to Happy Valley. Last year as a redshirt sophomore, Roby was first-team All-Big Ten and a second-team All-American while basically cutting off his side of the field to opposing quarterbacks and receivers. He picked off Taylor Martinez twice last year and took one back for a touchdown and essentially formed Roby Island based off of the performance. He held Wisconsin's Jared Abberderis to three catches and 40 yards and even stifled Allen Robinson a bit as the Big Ten's best receiver caught only five balls for 68 yards and was kept out of the endzone.
He'll be taken in the first round of next year's draft. He may be the best corner in the country. And he wouldn't be in scarlet and grey on October 26th if Penn State hypothetically grabbed him away. So give me Bradley Roby.
Devon- I'll take Jadeveon Clowney. No, the defensive line isn't a position of particular need, but everybody else is taking quarterbacks and this is more fun than arguing between Tahj Boyd, Teddy Bridgewater, or Johnny Manziel. Clowney is the best player in the country, as sure a thing to be the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft as we've ever had this far ahead of time, a very possible Heisman candidate, and almost certain front-runner for defensive player of the year. He was a unanimous All-American, and, my apologies to Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend, should have won every single DPOY award a season ago. I like Anthony Zettel, but comparing him to Clowney is just plain unfair. He's a freak athlete, a game-changer, a difference-maker, and putting him across from Deion Barnes and handing the reins to Larry Johnson would be fundamentally unjust to the rest of the Big Ten. Adding Clowney might not add more wins than adding a quarterback, but it could be a whole hell of a lot more fun. Oh, and we do play Michigan this season, right?
Jared- The obvious choice is Jadeveon Clowney, easily the most dominating player in the nation in 2012. However, Penn State has much bigger needs than an already loaded defensive end position. The offense in 2013 has the potential to be the best unit the school has fielded since the beyond legendary 1994 squad. The X-factor will be the play of the quarterback position, which is why I'm going with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. If we're going with pure talent, I would pick Johnny Manziel or Braxton Miller. However, Bridgewater is the best overall fit for BO'B's offense. He is an extremely accurate passer who keeps defenses on their toes by being able to make a wide variety of passes. He's also a heady player who is capable of finding the open receiver and limits turnovers. He isn't much of a scrambler, but does have the ability to elude defenders and pick up a short first down with his feet when the opportunity presents itself. Bridgewater has continued to grow as a quarterback, and his best days are clearly ahead of him. "Lackluster" may be the most generous thing you could say about his performance in 2011, yet he transformed into one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in 2012. He improved as the season went on, saving his best for last by lighting up the dominating Florida Gators defense in the Sugar Bowl. Plus, just imagine what he could do with that rocket arm with someone like Allen Robinson streaking down the sideline...
Original Nick- Jadeveon Clowney, but not for the reasons everyone lists. Yes, he's a game-changing player, but when there are articles that seriously ask whether he should sit out the year just to avoid an injury I wonder if he's not already on the roster at Penn State. Someone actually sat down and thought, "you know, the NFL would really love a guy the chose to not play football rather than risk injury." It's absurd for so many reasons and while his draft stock would suffer if he gets hurt, (see: Lattimore, Marcus) the NFL certainly doesn't get excited for a guy that abandons his team and more specifically the game for a season to instead do nothing more work out. He'd fit right in here.
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