Last week our staff set out to draft teams from all Ohio State scholarship players.
The front offices were set -- Tim and I against Ryan and James -- and we set about drafting for a full 41.5 rounds (because we agreed specialists would play for both rosters there were 83 players to draft from). Ryan and James secured a pair of captains in J.T. Barrett and Pat Elflein while Tim and I locked up Raekwon McMillan and a slew of offensive weapons.
It's time to decide who has the better team.
Check out our respective draft philosophies and the general parameters of the draft for a little context. You can also get a look at our round-by-round break downs for Rounds 2-11, Rounds 12-21, Rounds 22-31 and the final rounds, Rounds 32-42.
Now, to the depth charts.
Offense Breakdown: With the entire left side of our offensive line built with all but guaranteed starters and years of experience, you can bet we plan on letting Barrett and Bri'onte Dunn get plenty of carries especially with an inexperienced linebacker unit across the way. At wide receiver, we feel we have a great mix of experience and youth as Corey Smith and Austin Mack get the start. Add in the explosiveness of Dontre Wilson, the blocking of Marcus Baugh and the speed of Terry McLaurin, we feel this offense can take the top off of the Scarlet defense, which is starting a freshman at corner. If the passing game were to struggle, we can ground and pound with Elflein and Billy Price leading the way, something we have seen Ohio State do for two years already.
Really, we feel our only weakness is at right guard where Tyler Gerald is slated to start. We still think Gerald will be a solid lineman for Ohio State, but the fact remains he has no playing experience yet. We feel that putting five-star lineman Malcolm Pridgeon at the right tackle will help even out our stellar offensive line.
All in all, our offense is built around a veteran/Heisman contending QB and a veteran offensive line. We believe that those two factors alone will help us win this matchup. -- James Grega
Defense Breakdown: First off, we acknowledge that we are a little thin at linebacker, but considering we have Raekwon McMillan manning the middle we're fine with that. Add in the promising young linebackers on the edge and Keandre Jones on the edge and we feel pretty good about the linebackers. Furthermore, in defending the Gray offense we are going to want to go to the nickel formation a lot anyway. We're set up ideally for that. Slide Damon Webb to the nickel corner spot and bring in Cam Burrows and we keep three very experienced players on the field. Not to mention we have the best corner who will put on a Buckeye uniform this fall in Gareon Conley and Jordan Fuller -- a player that both cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and safeties coach Greg Schiano said they would fight to have in their rooms -- and we feel we have a solid back seven.
As for the front four, we secured two presumptive starters for Ohio State in Tyquan Lewis and Mike Hill. Add in Jashon Cornell, who was praised throughout the spring, and the talented Jalyn Holmes and we have a solid group of starters up front.
As a whole, our defense may not be as deep as we would like (with the exception of the secondary) but we got two players who are in our opinion the most talented defenders on the roster in McMillan and Conley as well as last year's sack leader in Lewis. That's a pretty good draft in my book. -- Blake Williams
Offense Breakdown: We were fine with not getting Barrett so long as we got two of our top three players (McMillan and Conley check that box) and surrounded Joe Burrow with a ton of playmakers. That's a BIG check. Not only do we have Curtis Samuel, arguably the most versatile and electric player on the Ohio State offense, but the presumptive No. 1 receiver for the Buckeyes next fall in Noah Brown. Add in Torrance Gibson, who has as high a ceiling as just about anyone on the team, and the team's top running back in Mike Weber and our offense is stacked before we even get to the second team.
Past the starters we have Johnnie Dixon to give the receiver room a veteran presence as well as high-potential guys Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill, Alex Stump and Antonio Williams. While Jake Hausmann will likely be Ohio State's No. 2 tight end this fall, we're happy to have him start at that position. Burrow hasn't taken a snap in college, but with these weapons he'll just have to be a distributor for us.
Up front we're light on experience but high on potential. Isaiah Prince is destined to be a stud and the same goes for Michael Jordan, who will be a versatile player for us. Matthew Burrell is also pretty versatile and will take the center spot for us while Demetrius Knox and Evan Lisle give us a few years in the program at both guard positions. Behind those starters we have solid depth, including twin towers at tackles in Branden Bowen and Kevin Feder. -- Blake Williams
Defense Breakdown: To say we are excited about our matchup here in the trenches would be an understatement. Our philosophy was to control the trenches, and we feel we can do that here, especially on the interior. The Scarlet tackles are very solid players, but we believe Sam Hubbard and Nick Bosa will give them a run for their money on the edge. We think that Dre'mont Jones and Tracy Sprinkle will give their inexperienced interior line some problems, but feel confident that two of the three projected starting linebackers for OSU in 2016 (Dante Booker and Chris Worley) will clean up any messes for us.
We also feel that while we missed out on Conley, locking up two of the top three corners on this team was huge. Denzel Ward is regarded as one of, if not the fastest player on the team and we feel he can play bump and run with any receiver the Scarlet team puts out there, which takes pressure off of our two safeties. We believe Malik Hooker will be the breakout player of the year at safety and the fact that we are two-deep at every position other than outside linebacker makes us confident we can be versatile in the kind of defense we run.
We feel our one weakness here is middle linebacker, where we are not lacking talent, just experience. Nick Conner was an early enrollee in 2015 and had a breakout spring before suffering a season ending knee injury in October. Now that he is back, we feel confident he anchor our defense while being pushed by Tuf Borland for playing time. -- James Grega