The-Ozone's 2012 Spring Game Mock Draft
By The-Ozone Staff
In the days leading up to Ohio State Spring Games in the recent past, the Scarlet and Gray teams were chosen via a players' draft. The media was always invited to attend this event, and it gave us a very good perspective on where the team saw certain players.
For instance, in 2004 when fans weren't sure who the quarterback was going to be between Troy Smith and Justin Zwick, the team selected Smith ahead of Zwick in their Spring Game draft. Looking back now in hindsight, the team knew who their quarterback was going to be even before their head coach did.
In 2005, under rules that have always stipulated that an entire position must be drafted before trying to move to another position, linebacker Anthony Schlegel tried to draft Ted Ginn with the second overall pick, following Troy Smith who went first.
When Jim Tressel reminded Schlegel of the rules and told him that Ginn was not a quarterback, Schlegel shot back, "He played it in the Alamo Bowl!"
In 2008, the number one pick went to Thaddeus Gibson, who had put up an unremarkable eleven tackles the year prior as a redshirt freshman. In 2002, Maurice Clarett was the first tailback chosen, and looking back it's clear to see why.
Last year there was no draft, and this year there won't be one either. Instead, the teams will simply be divvied up by the coaches on Thursday morning and then the rosters will be released to the public.
For us, however, we miss the draft aspect of the roster selection, and have decided to hold a Spring Game draft of our own.
We had Brandon Castel and Ben Axelrod draft teams based on the normal Spring Game draft rules, and then in order to feel included, Tony Gerdeman has offered up his thoughts on the various draft strategies.
Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section below or on the-Ozone fan forum.
1st Pick – Defensive End
Axelrod: John Simon
Castel: Michael Bennett
Axelrod: Steve Miller
Castel: J.T. Moore
stalks Braxton Miller
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Quarterback might have been the assumed pick here, but I like what Ben has done, especially when you understand his strategy. Clearly he is choking people at checkers, while everybody else is choking people at Connect Four.
Axelrod: "I tried to not over-think the first pick and decided just to take the best available player, which was clearly John Simon. Plus, I figured that If I took Simon first, Miller would go second, and allow me to take Jonathan Hankins at three to give me arguably OSU's two best defensive players."
Castel: "I think Bennett is a future star and he is one of the only guys who has basically won a starting job outright this spring after starting on the second team. He is a strongside end, so not as valuable as a guy like Simon at the Leo, but Bennett was a must-have for my defense."
2nd Pick – Quarterback
Castel: Braxton Miller
Axelrod: Kenny Guiton & Cardale Jones
Castel: Justin Siems and Ross Oltorik
Photo by Jim Davidson
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Despite Guiton's Spring Game heroics in the past, this was the only pick that could have been made. Miller has been nothing short of tremendous this Spring. Plus, everybody knows that if somebody on defense hits Miller too hard, Urban Meyer will banish them to the Land of Wind and Ghosts.
Axelrod: "Assuming that our hypothetical spring game follows the same format as most traditional spring games, each team's starting quarterback won't play all 60 minutes, so with that in mind, I actually prefer the combination of Kenny Guiton and Cardale Jones over Braxton Miller and two OSU walk-ons."
3rd Pick – Defensive Tackle
Axelrod: Johnathan Hankins
Castel: Garrett Goebel
Axelrod: Adam Bellamy
Castel: Joel Hale
Axelrod: Chris Carter
Castel: Chase Farris
Photo by Jim Davidson
Gerdeman's Evaluation: A defensive line with John Simon and Johnathan Hankins is surely one way to combat this offense. I like that Axelrod went with Adam Bellamy, who can get into the backfield with his second pick. I am concerned that Brandon may not have enough pass rush on his defensive line, however.
Castel: "Well, I’m hoping Bennett can give me some push on the edge the way he has in spring practice, but we haven’t seen him out there without Simon and Hankins very often. In retrospect, I probably should have grabbed Adam Bellamy where I took Garrett Goebel, but I really wanted to be strong up the middle with Goebel and Joel Hale. Maybe J.T. Moore can give me something, but the late round grab of Chase Farris gives me a guy who can get pressure up the middle. I’m also counting on the fact that Ben has to start Tommy Brown at offensive tackle."
4th Pick – Cornerback
Castel: Bradley Roby
Axelrod: Doran Grant
Castel: Travis Howard
Axelrod: Tyvis Powell and Adam Griffin
Photo by Jim Davidson
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Brandon taking Roby here is the absolute correct pick. Ben going with Grant over Howard, however, will have to be proven correct over time. Grant will be fine, but I think Howard is being overlooked.
Axelrod: "After four years in the program, it's pretty clear what the Buckeyes have in Travis Howard: he's a solid No. 2 corner who is capable of making game-changing plays. Whether those plays are positive for OSU or their opponents tends to change on a weekly basis, however. On the other hand, we're not sure what the Buckeyes have with Grant. He was highly-touted coming out of high school, but saw most of his playing time come on special teams in 2011. Grant could wind up being one of the next great OSU corners, or with Armani Reeves arriving in the fall, Grant may return to special teams. But given that this is just a spring game, I'd rather take a chance on the unknown."
5th Pick – Wide Receiver
Axelrod: Devin Smith
Castel: Philly Brown
Axelrod: Tyrone Williams
Castel: Mike Thomas
Axelrod: Chris Fields
Castel: Frank Kangah
Photo by Jim Davidson
Gerdeman's Evaluation: I'm okay with taking Smith first, considering he has a knack for getting behind a defense on broken plays, but Ben will need to make sure Guiton actually sees him. Brown's versatility should have made him the top pick here, if for no other reason than to keep Brandon from putting Braxton and Philly together on the same team.
Axelrod: "I really just think that Devin Smith is a better player than Philly Brown is, and is the closest thing to a true No. 1 receiver that this team has. I actually think that selecting TY Williams over Mike Thomas may have been more of an oversight by myself, but I could also see Williams walking away with the Bam Childress/Taurian Washington OSU spring game MVP award."
6th Pick – Offensive Tackle
Castel: Jack Mewhort
Axelrod: Reid Fragel
Castel: Taylor Decker
Axelrod: Tommy Brown
Castel: Darryl Baldwin
Gerdeman's Evaluation: The top three picks here are the only way this order could have gone. Given that fact, I'm surprised tackles weren't taken much higher.
Castel: "I don’t feel good about Mewhort and Decker going against John Simon. Nothing against Mewhort or Decker, because I was hoping to get both of them, but I wouldn’t feel great about many tackles in college football going against Simon after the way he has looked this spring. Neither guy I drafted has played much tackle at the college level, but I like the idea of having Mewhort on the left side and Decker on the right side. At least it gives my squad a fighting chance of keeping Braxton Miller clean."
7th Pick – Offensive Guard
Axelrod: Andrew Norwell
Castel: Marcus Hall
Axelrod: Antonio Underwood
Castel: Eric Kramer
Gerdeman's Evaluation: I don't have an evaluation for this position, but I do want to say that it's a good thing that Urban Meyer brought in five offensive linemen in the 2012 recruiting class.
8th Pick – Linebacker
Castel: Ryan Shazier
Axelrod: Curtis Grant
Castel: Etienne Sabino
Axelrod: Josh Perry
Castel: Connor Crowell
Axelrod: Luke Roberts
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Even with Storm Klein out with an injury, I don't see the top three picks changing. Clearly Castel got the better of this deal by selecting first. He has a legitimate starting three, while Ben has two freshmen and a sophomore trying to stop a Braxton Miller-led offense. Fortunately, he has Hankins and Simon to slow things down for them.
9th Pick – Running Back
Axelrod: Bri'onte Dunn
Castel: Jordan Hall
Axelrod: Carlos Hyde
Castel: Rod Smith
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Jordan Hall has to be the first pick here because of his versatility. The other three tailbacks are power runners who all do similar things, and Ben would have still been able to get Dunn with the third pick because there is no way Brandon was taking Dunn with the second pick. Feels very Al Davisy to me. Also, being a Spring Game, I feel like somebody should have gone for a Delande here.
Axelrod: "Taking Dunn as the No. 1 running back may be a head-scratcher, but there's some strategy behind this one. The OSU running back corp is divided neatly into two clear starters (Hall and Hyde) and two clear back-ups (Smith and Dunn). The two starting-caliber runners are more speed backs, while the back-ups are power runners. This works out nicely for drafting purposes as both teams should wind up with one starter and one back-up, each of which bring something different with their game. I truthfully didn't care if I wound up with Hall or Hyde, but I knew I preferred Dunn over Smith (based on excitement alone), so by taking Dunn first, I forced Brandon to take Hall or Hyde, because he knew he'd wind up with Smith by default."
10th Pick – Tight End
Castel: Jake Stoneburner
Axelrod: Jeff Heuerman
Castel: Nick Vannett
Axelrod: Derek Burkholder & Kyle Shuck
Gerdeman's Evaluation: This is the obvious and correct drafting order, I'm just surprised that it took so long to get to the tight end position.
Castel: "I was thinking the same thing when we got to the 10th round and Jake Stoneburner was still on the board. I guess my focus was getting positions where there was a huge drop-off from the first guy to the second, third and fourth, and tight end didn’t seem to be as much of an issue as say linebacker or cornerback. I was really happy to get my hands on Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby, especially after Axelrod snagged Simon and Johnathan Hankins with his first two picks. Looking back, I think it was a steal to get Stoneburner in the 10th round, even though I like what I’ve seen from Jeff Heuerman. It also allowed me to get Nick Vannett, who I like as a backup, but Stoneburner could be the focal point of my offense."
11th Pick — Fullback
Axelrod: Zach Boren
Castel: Adam Homan
Gerdeman's Evaluation: This is the proper selection, especially since Boren can also carry the ball. Though I hope for Boren's sake, offensive coordinator Tom Herman sees more worth in the fullback than Brandon and Ben have.
12th Pick — Kicker / Punter
Castel: Ben Buchanan
Axelrod: Drew Basil
Gerdeman's Evaluation: I am going to have to side with Ben on this one. Yes, Buchanan was a place kicker in high school, but he's a punter now. I would feel more comfortable with Basil punting than Buchanan lining up a 40-yarder for a win.
13th Pick — Safety
Axelrod: C.J. Barnett
Castel: Christian Bryant
Axelrod: Ron Tanner
Castel: Corey Brown
Axelrod: Orhian Johnson
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Wow, what did Orhian Johnson ever do to you guys? I don't necessarily disagree with Castel's two selections because Brown has looked good this Spring, especially in run support. I need to see more from Ron Tanner before I'm taking him third overall here.
14th Pick – Center
Castel: Corey Linsley
Axelrod: Brian Bobek
Gerdeman's Evaluation: Given that there are two healthy centers on the roster right now, there isn't much discussion as to the way this one should have gone. Still, Castel should feel fortunate that he was able to land Linsley so late, especially considering the defensive line that he will be facing.
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