Monday, July 8, 2013
Coming up: All-time PSU fantasy draft
By Josh Moyer
Imagine creating a team consisting solely of Penn State greats. Which All-American tailback would you choose? Which defensive tackle? Better yet, what about those linebackers?
These aren't easy questions to answer -- but you won't have to imagine for much longer. NittanyNation organized a 24-round Nittany Lions fantasy draft to see whom five experts would choose head to head. We'll publish the results and analysis on Tuesday.
The mission: Draft players forming a 4-3 defense, take a starting offensive lineup -- including one RB, two wideouts, a tight end and a "flex" position -- along with a kicker and punter. NittanyNation's Josh Moyer organized the draft and participated, along with:
O.J. McDuffie. If this name doesn't ring a bell, your Penn State fan card is revoked. McDuffie is one of PSU's greatest wideouts and sits fifth in the school record books for career receptions (125). He and Bobby Engram also held the single-season receptions record (63) until Allen Robinson broke it last season. McDuffie was a first-round NFL draft pick who hauled in 415 catches over eight seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
Lou Prato. He literally wrote the encyclopedia on Penn State football, and one would be hard-pressed to find a person who knows more about the Nittany Lions than him. He's the director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum and is a noted author and historian.
Stephon Morris. The speedy cornerback was the most experienced player in the secondary last season and is currently a DB for the New England Patriots. He was one of PSU's senior leaders who helped keep the team together during the sanctions and, boy, did Morris take this draft seriously. He called up several former players, pored over player bios, consulted with his father, etc. His competitive nature on the field carried over to the fantasy draft.
Bob McClellan. He is te editor of ESPN.com's NittanyNation, BuckeyeNation and WolverineNation and a Big Ten grad. Bob has been a sports editor and sports writer in newspapers and online for 25-plus years. Prato was a professor of his in graduate school at Northwestern.
This isn't supposed to be the be-all, end-all of the greatest PSU players. But it's definitely a great starting point to the conversation. Each participant came in with a different strategy -- somewhat unsurprisingly, for example, Morris focused on defense early to control field position -- and each drafter brought something new to the table.
The best players weren't always picked first -- especially if drafters thought they could get away with waiting to snag the better, possibly lesser-known players later on. (Who's better: Greg Buttle or 1906 captain W.T. Dunn?) That didn't always work out and led to some lighthearted name-calling during the draft, along with some continued ribbing a few days later.
Every participant left the draft feeling as if he had pieced together the best team. Would you have done anything differently? Did one of us drop the ball? Were more recent players overvalued?
Take a look on Tuesday, and let us know. We'll roll out the full team results, the position-by-position breakdown and an analysis from every participant. We can't exactly offer a sneak peek just yet, but here was our draft order (and, yes, it followed a snake draft where the last to draft in the first round was the first to draft in the next):