- Josh Moyer, Penn State/Big Ten reporter
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The all-time Penn State fantasy draft might be over, but the controversy has only just begun.
NittanyNation thought it'd take an extra day to reflect on the process, offer some analysis, give some opinions and then move on from a memorable three-hour, 24-round draft.
Steve Jones and Mike Poorman will grade each team later today, but NittanyNation wanted to give its own rundown of the draft and offer a behind-the-scenes look at a few picks.
The best PSU player? In a casual Twitter poll Monday night, linebacker Jack Ham received the most mentions for best overall Penn State player. Team Prato took him in the second round, with everyone except the softspoken McDuffie playfully calling Lou Prato a jerk. (Everyone wanted Ham.)
It was an interesting, nonscientific poll because it took about a dozen votes for a single name to be repeated. LaVar Arrington and John Cappelletti also received multiple mentions.
Prato voted for Lenny Moore by drafting him with his No. 1 overall pick.
Most memorable part of the draft: Definitely the end of the seventh round. Only one receiver had been drafted until that point (Bobby Engram), and Team Moyer needed a wideout.
So, right before Team McDuffie had back-to-back picks, Team Moyer selected O.J. McDuffie for his own fantasy team.
Team Moyer: "Sorry to do this to you, OJ, but I got to. I'm taking O.J. McDuffie. Need Collins to throw to someone."
Team McDuffie: "Damn, Josh. I was just about take myself."
That's when four receivers -- McDuffie, Bryant Johnson, Deon Butler, Kenny Jackson -- were taken consecutively and caused headaches for the other three participants. That was a key part to the draft. And, five days later, O.J. still wasn't happy about the move.
"I still can't believe you did that," McDuffie said, laughing. "Right before me."
Biggest head-scratchers: Cornerback Brian Miller as the No. 2 overall pick? C'mon, Team McClellan. Cornerback was the slimmest position in the draft, so corners had added value -- that was McClellan's reasoning for taking him so high -- but one could've held off on Miller until at least the fourth or fifth round.
Team McClellan passed up Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins for Miller. Team Morris also received some ribbing for making Sean Lee the No. 1 LB, but Stephon Morris wanted to draft someone in the first round with whom he had played. So that was understandable.
But when Morris took kicker Chris Bahr in the 10th round? Definite head-scratcher -- although he did explain that move here. McDuffie also surprised just about everyone when he drafted Larry Johnson over the likes of Curt Warner and Cappelletti.
Best undrafted players: Where to even begin? There were plenty; you could make up a great team on just left-overs from the draft.
QB Tony Sacca, FB Franco Harris, RB Blair Thomas, WR Derek Moye, OT Chris Conlin, and C Matt Stankiewitch are among the best remaining picks on offense. As far as the defense: DT Jimmy Kennedy, DE Bruce Bannon, LB Michael Mauti, CB Derek Bochna and S Harry Hamilton were also undrafted.
Best sleepers (or best-value picks): OK, we'll throw Team McClellan a bone here. Grabbing two-time All-American and College Football Hall-of-Famer Dennis Onkotz in the 16th round was probably the steal of the draft.
That greatly boosted Team McClellan's LB corps. And he grabbed another great-value pick with Lydell Mitchell in the 20th round. Team Morris definitely got great value in QB Todd Blackledge in the 19th round, and Team Moyer's best-value picks appeared to be LB Greg Buttle in the 18th round and Kenny Jackson in the eighth.
Morris means business: A lot of participants hit the books before the draft, but Morris' preparation was a little different. As a player, he had a bit of a leg up, because he didn't just stop at reading up on all the players -- he went straight to the source.
Morris called up several former players -- including Lee, Chafie Fields, NaVorro Bowman, Derrick Williams and Arrington -- to talk about whom they thought deserved to be drafted.
"Once you told me about it, I had contacts with guys who I played with and guys like Chafie Fields, who I was thinking about signing with, so I just did my research," Morris said Tuesday night. "I asked them about some guys, who I should choose and pretty much went from there."
Morris' research seemed to pay off. Prato was pleasantly surprised at Morris' Penn State knowledge, and his defense is among the best.
Can we get a mulligan? When you're picking players without a fancy draft board and you're racing against the clock, sometimes panic and confusion set in -- and it basically happened to all of us.
Prato regretted not taking Gregg Garrity; Morris likely would've taken Brandon Noble over Devon Still if he had another chance; McDuffie would've drafted himself sooner. And Team Moyer? Why, oh why, couldn't Lydell Mitchell hold out for one more round? Michael Mauti also likely would've replaced Ed O'Neil upon closer inspection.
Looking back on the draft: The most difficult part wasn't necessarily creating your own "cheat sheet" and ranking the best players at each position. It was trying to weigh whether someone like Michael Robinson had more value than someone like Engram.
There was no blueprint to this, since it had never really been done before. We all knew what players we wanted -- but we weren't so sure just who we could wait for and who we needed to grab right away.
Morris agreed that you kind of had to adopt a reactive strategy with the draft. With no mock drafts, it was definitely unique. But, looking ahead, at least future drafters will have some idea of what to expect.
It was definitely a lot of fun. The NittanyNation staff will probably continue trash-talking about this throughout the season. And McDuffie, Morris and Prato were all great sports.
"If I’d know the level of participation McDuffie and Morris would have I’d have picked them 1 and 2," McClellan said. "Great guys and tremendously patient during the whole process, too."
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The all-time Penn State fantasy draft might be over, but the controversy has only just begun.NittanyNation thought it'd take an extra day to reflect on the process, offer some analysis, give some opinions and then move on from a memorable three-hour, 24-round draft.