I’m basically a child (not really, I turn 23 on Monday) sooo I was at a severe disadvantage.
|Derek "Cam" Wake
I was able to grab the seventh pick in the draft which I actually liked since I would basically get back-to-back picks, only having Clay in front of me. That being said, in the first round of the draft, I went with Trace McSorley. The thinking behind selecting Trace first was I believe there were two quarterbacks that stood apart from the rest: Those of course, being Kerry Collins and Trace. With that, I feel pretty safe having the dynamic Trace McSorley as my quarterback.
At running back, the first two choices were obviously Saquon Barkley and Ki-Jana Carter, and with both off the board, I thought I’d take Larry Johnson. Let’s just hope I can get the “LJ2K” who rushed for 2,000 yards in 2002, and not the Larry Johnson from 1999 to 2001. That being said, let’s assume I get LJ2K, which means I have Penn State’s all-time passing leader at quarterback and the only running back to run for over 2,000-yards in program history. Not a bad backfield.
For my wide receivers, I had a few guys obviously higher on my board but when you look at my two wide receivers of Deon Butler and Derek Moye, that’s some serious production. Combined, the two have 323 career receptions, 5,166 yards, and 40 touchdowns. I didn’t calulate the stats of the other fantasy teams’ wide receivers, but I’m pretty sure I have one of the more productive pair of them.
I love the idea of having a productive tight end, and while Jesse James wasn’t high on my list, he was one of the last guys that I would feel good taking in the draft. He’s no Mike Gesicki, Kyle Brady, or Pat Friermuth, but he’s pretty solid overall.
Finally to finish off my offensive skill position players, grabbing Bill Belton I think is a sneaky pickup, as I was able to grab him rather late. I always enjoyed Belton during his time with Penn State, he’ll provide me with a quality receiving option out of the backfield, as well as some quality speed.
Now, the offensive line, I’m not really that happy with it, and it’s nothing special, to say the least. I’m glad I was able to anchor my offensive line rather early with AQ Shipley, but after that, I really didn’t look at adding offensive lineman since I was focused elsewhere. I paid for that dearly, scrambling to pick up Greg Ransom and Tyler Reed, solely due to NittanyAnthology including them in parts of the all-decade team from 2000 to 2010. Michael Menet I think was a quality pickup for getting him rather late in the draft (final 7-10 rounds), and I drafted Steven Gonzalez since he had a ton of experience, and most importantly, we share a birthday.
Let’s move on to the other side of the trenches to the defensive line. The first defensive lineman I grabbed was Anthony Zettel. Obviously, we all knew how good Zettel really was, but I did not realize he was actually among the program’s all-time sack leaders with 20. To go along with him on the inside, as well as being one of my last picks, was some guy named Lou Benfatti. Lou, if you’re reading this I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are but you were an All-American. Welcome to the team.
On the outside of my defensive line, I was able to grab the duo of Maurice Evans and Shaka Toney. Evans is truly someone who had a ton of potential and it just didn’t work out for him for numerous reasons. Obviously, I’m drafting the 2007 Maurice Evans here, so he’ll be nice to have to get after the quarterback. With Shaka Toney, he’s not someone who always gets to the quarterback, but he can get there quite a bit, so he’ll be a solid defensive end on this squad (on another note: I think he’s in for a big 2020).
Let’s talk about linebackers now, because Penn State of course, is “Linebacker U”. Somehow, I was able to grab Micah Parsons in the third round of the draft. I’m not sure how he fell to me, but he did, and I’m ultimately thankful. Honestly, I’m making him a hyrbid linebacker/defensive end and he’ll be rushing the quarterback a ton. I love having Mike Hull on the team, he’ll fill in great in the middle, as he’s just such a smart, consistent, and hard working football player who fits the “he brings his lunch pail to work” mold. Now, Cam or Derek Wake, whatever you want to call him, I kind of panic-picked. We had a 30-second clock for each pick and as we got closer, I knew I wanted to take a linebacker, and I ultimately settled on Wake. His Penn State stats surely aren’t spectacular but the dude has been in the league for over a decade now, so maybe this was okay after all?
My secondary, much like my offensive line, I didn’t really pay as much attention to as I should’ve, but I think I got a solid pair of corners and safeties. The first safety I was able to grab was Byran Scott. While Scott played linebacker in the NFL mostly, he was a corner at Penn State and he was a pretty good one, at that. Also at corner, I was able to nab Grant Haley late. Haley isn’t a perfect cornerback by any means, but the dude had a ton of experience and was consistently solid for his Penn State career.
To finish up my secondary, I grabbed Shawn Mayer and Malcolm Willis. I honestly don’t know much about Shawn Mayer, but in my brief research, he seemed like a quality safety (you guys tell me). Malcolm Willis was one of my last picks (if not my last) and is another guy who wasn’t a stud or the top of the line safety but he’ll get the job done.
I was the first one to take a specialist, so I decided to go with a kicker. It was actually a bit of a debate in my head between Tyler Davis, Jake Pinegar, and Kevin Kelly (Robbie Gould obviously has had a tremendous NFL career, but his stats at PSU just weren’t that good). Davis obviously was solid for a while before his final season, Pinegar is still early in his career and is pretty high on the all-time field goal percentage list, while Kelly is a fan-favorite and the program’s all-time field goal leader. With that being said, I went with Kelly, and if you’re wondering, I was eight years old during the 2006 Orange Bowl and yes, I do remember it.
While I’m not in love with my team, I think it is one that could be solid overall. It is not going to be a team that goes undefeated, but definitely a team that could go a solid 9-3 or 10-2.