|FLEX (W/R/T)||Noah Cain|
I went into this thinking as much like a GM as possible. Which position is hands down the most important on the field? The one that goes first in virtually every draft? The one that can make your team a national title contender, or relegate you as an also-ran? That’s right, quarterback. And in looking at the quarterbacks since 1993, only one has garnered All-American honors. And so it was to my great surprise that when my turn came at #3, the best player at the most important position on a team was still available - and I snapped up Kerry Collins in a heartbeat.
With my second round pick, I went after an elite pass-rusher, and took the top defensive end on my big board in Michael Haynes, another All-American, as well as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. At #3, I also got my top choice at cornerback in Alan Zemaitis (fun fact, Penn State’s defensive backfield has been ROUGH in the Big Ten - across all four secondary positions, only two players have garnered All-American status, including Mr. Zemaitis).
I kicked off my O-line in the fourth round with Kareem McKenzie, locking down my left tackle position with a three-time All-Big Ten player. Then I got what I felt had to be a coup in the fifth round, nabbing Kim Herring as my first safety - remember when I said only two players have ever been All-Americans in the secondary? Yeah, Kim Herring is the other one. My secondary is officially the best in the league.
I finally got around to wide receiver in the sixth round, and got a steal with DaeSean Hamilton, one of the most sure-handed receivers to play at PSU, and who holds the reception record for the team. In the seventh round, I revisited the defensive line, this time taking the #1 defensive tackle on my big board in Jimmy Kennedy, yet another All-American, as well as three-time All-Big Ten, and the B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year.
In the eighth I kicked off my linebacking corps, nabbing All-American Mike Mauti. I followed by taking All-Big Ten tight end Kyle Carter in the ninth. With my 10th pick, I finally got around to running back - there was a reasonable drop off after the top four RBs, and I got the one at the top of my next tier in All-Big Ten Evan Royster. I revisited the OL in the 11th round and picked up two-time All-Big Ten Rich Ohrnberger as my left guard, an absolute road-grader.
Josh Hull, an All-Big Ten linebacker joined the team in the 12th, followed by All-Big Ten defensive end Brad Scioli in the 13th. Tony Pittman, both All-Big Ten and a College Hall of Famer, took the second cornerback position in the 14th round. I went modern and picked up C.J. Thorpe as my right guard in the 15th round, he of future All-American potential, and one of the nastiest run blockers in the country.
I got another steal in the 16th round, nabbing All-Big Ten Lydell Sargeant as my other safety. The pickings were slim at wide receiver by the 17th round, and I settled on Chaz Powell, who brings positional versatility if nothing else. To my complete shock, All-Big Ten Jack Crawford was still available in the 18th, rounding out my defensive line. I finished off my linebacking corps with Nathan Stupar in the 19th, then added All-Big Ten Quinn Barham as my center in the 20th.
For my flex position, I grabbed Noah Cain in the 21st round, the most complete back (in my humble opinion) since Saquon Barkley, and who broke Mr. Barkley’s freshman touchdown record. Garry Gilliam joined the team as my towering right tackle in the 22nd round, and I completed the draft with Tyler Davis as my kicker in the 23rd.
So there you have it. The best value picks I got were Kim Herring in the fifth, Jimmy Kennedy in the 7th, and Jack Crawford in the 18th. The picks that I probably reached on a bit were Kyle Carter in the ninth, and Chaz Powell in the 17th. Though by the time I drafted Mr. Powell, there realistically weren’t very many options left - I probably would have had to go modern with someone like Jahan Dotson instead, and I felt that Chaz was at least a known commodity.
As for how my team shaped up, I have the top quarterback of the Big Ten era, the only All-American at the position to go with two extremely reliable and versatile receivers. Kyle Carter at tight end brings solid blocking and receiving as well. Regardless, Collins will elevate the passing game, no matter what. The one-two punch of Evan Royster and Noah Cain is an extremely solid backfield, pairing a quick, slippery back with a power guy, keeping the defense honest. The offensive line is beastly: three of the players are All-Big Ten, and one is still in college, noted as one of the most ferocious blockers in the game today, with All-American potential.
While my offense could be considered solid, the defense is next level. Two All-Americans on the defensive line, one in the linebacking corps, and two in the secondary. Given the dearth of secondary talent, having the top two defensive backs of the B1G-era roaming the same backfield is nuts. You can’t run on this team, thanks to the loaded line, and you can’t pass on this team, thanks to the elite secondary. Oh, and that’s not even including the stacked linebackers.
The offense will be good; the defense will make people afraid to step on the field. Let’s get it!