The 2012 Big Ten Football Draft
By Tony Gerdeman
A couple of years ago around the time of the Ohio State Spring Game, I "held" a Big Ten draft where I had Big Ten teams select players from other Big Ten teams.
There were three stipulations, however. The first was that only one player could be taken from a team in a given round. Meaning, that once one Indiana player was gone, that's it, nobody else can have a coveted Hoosier until the next round. The second stipulation is that you can't draft your own player, and the third is that once a player is drafted, he cannot be drafted again.
It should be noted that most of those stipulations were for Rich Rodriguez's benefit, as he was always looking to skirt the rules.
Obviously, the time has come to hold another draft because we didn't have time to do one in 2011. The rules are the same, only the names have changed. Oh, and Nebraska has been added. I always forget about those guys.
The draft order is determined by last year's conference record, so without any further adieu, the Indiana Hoosiers are now on the clock.
1. Indiana – Denard Robinson, QB Michigan
Current quarterback Tre Roberson is a poor man's Denard Robinson, but he has potential. That being said, he doesn't have enough potential to keep head coach Kevin Wilson from selecting Denard Robinson with the number one overall pick. Robinson could be an immediate ticket out of Bloomington for Wilson and there's no way he's going to pass on it.
2. Illinois – Montee Ball, RB Wisconsin
Really, the only times the Illini have had success recently is with a strong running game. Montee Ball would fall into the same category as Rashard Mendenhall and Mikel Leshoure. Mendenhall took Illinois to a Rose Bowl, and the thinking would be that Ball could do the same. There is the concern that Ball is merely a system running back, like every other Badger running back before him.
3. Minnesota – Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State
The Gophers aren't necessarily in the market for a quarterback, and they happen to sort of like their running back situation. What they don't like, however, is their defense. With a guy like Johnathan Hankins plugging the middle, everything else behind him becomes easier for the defense to handle. Minnesota actually has some potential on the defensive front, and Hankins would make them even better.
4. Northwestern – Rex Burkhead, RB Nebraska
Northwestern is pretty mad about Minnesota's pick because it takes Ohio State's Braxton Miller off the board. There is a strong draw to select James Vandenberg here, but a workhorse like Burkhead would allow them to run the ball like they used to when they won Big Ten championships. There was a brief discussion about picking Taylor Martinez here, but the front office figured that Kain Colter threw as well as Martinez and already knows the offense.
5. Ohio State – Denicos Allen, LB Michigan State
The Buckeyes wanted Wisconsin left tackle Ricky Wagner, but Wisconsin was off the board. They never considered Michigan's Taylor Lewan, for obvious reasons. With no offensive tackles in their sights, Denicos Allen became the obvious choice. There are still question marks at linebacker for the Buckeyes, and Allen is a proven playmaker with eleven sacks last year. Plus, he can stay on the field in passing situations.
6. Purdue – Michael Buchanan, DE Illinois
Purdue is missing a pass rusher on the edge, and that's what Michael Buchanan would provide. Buchanan had 7.5 sacks last season. When the Boilermakers have a disruptor at defensive end, their world has much more potential. With some solid defensive tackle play next to him, there's no reason Buchanan wouldn't be able to put up similar numbers, or exceed them at Purdue.
7. Iowa – Silas Redd, RB Penn State
As if things couldn't get any worse around Happy Valley these days, Kirk Ferentz swoops in and drafts their only redeeming quality in Silas Redd. If given enough opportunity, Redd would put up 1,500 yards at Iowa. With the Hawkeyes' passing game, the running game would become even more dangerous. They could even become a division contender, though they'd have to win a couple of shootouts here and there.
8. Nebraska – Kawann Short, DT Purdue
They would have liked to have taken a running back to make up for the loss of Rex Burkhead, but there was nobody on the draft board worth taking ahead of a run stopper like Short. With three starters returning on the defensive line, Short would slide in seamlessly. Or at least as seamlessly as a 310-pounder can slide.
9. Penn State – James Vandenberg, QB Iowa
Turnabout is fair play. The Hawkeyes took Penn State's best player, and then the Nittany Lions turned around and did the exact same thing to Iowa. Vandenberg might be the steal of the draft. However, don't expect the Hawkeyes to select Matt McGloin in the second round out of revenge. Honestly, Iowa should have anticipated this and taken somebody like Caleb TerBush, but who in their right mind would ever do such a thing?
10. Michigan – Ibraheim Campbell, S Northwestern
With only Northwestern, Minnesota and Indiana to cherry pick from, the Wolverines didn't have a lot of options. However, Ibraheim Campbell will certainly fill a role. For some reason last year, offenses didn't attack the Michigan safeties downfield as much as they should have. With Campbell, they would likely continue not attacking downfield, but at least this time they would have a valid reason.
11. Michigan State – MarQueis Gray, QB Minnesota
Granted, MarQueis Gray won't be happy about this, but the Spartans would possibly be drafting him to play receiver. Sure, he'd get a chance to win the quarterback job over Andrew Maxwell, but he'd also be a tremendous fallback plan at receiver, where the Spartans return nobody. It remains to be seen, however, if Mark Dantonio can handle a quarterback who isn't a robot.
12. Wisconsin – Kofi Hughes, WR Indiana
Hey Wisconsin, congratulations on winning the Big Ten Championship! Your prize is Kofi Hughes. As far as draft picks are concerned, there wasn't really anywhere else for the Badgers to go. They need receivers and Hughes pulled down 35 passes last year. He would give Wisconsin an experienced receiver to pair with Jared Abbrederis, so at least that's something. Maybe after this draft, they'll think twice about winning a conference championship.
Rounds two and three
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