To mark the 20-year anniversary of Purdue's dramatic turnaround in football beginning in 1997, GoldandBlack.com spent the past several weeks conducting a fantasy draft of sorts, compiling teams made up of the best Boilermaker players from the past two decades.
Now, Stacy Clardie, Kyle Charters, Alan Karpick and Brian Neubert review their teams and the process.
I had a plan and stuck to it.
I wanted big plays and I wanted players who I didn't need to have a certain quarterback to optimize their value, if you know what I mean.
No offense to some of the guys who benefited profoundly from playing with Drew Brees, but to put it in Scrabble terms, I didn't want a Q if I didn't have a U.
Maybe that was taking this theoretical exercise a bit far, but so what? My roster is almost completely uninfluenced by Drew Brees, so I achieved that goal.
(Yes, John Standeford produced with Brees at QB, for one year, but then did the same with three other quarterbacks.)
I wanted speed and got two of the best on the board in Dorien Bryant and Kory Sheets and paired them with a couple of downfield threats in Standeford and DeAngelo Yancey, with a strong-armed QB in Curtis Painter to get the ball deep. That's why I took Painter over former Big Ten Offensive Player-of-the-Year Billy Dicken once Brees and Kyle Orton were gone. I did want Brian Alford and Dustin Keller, but you can't have it all.
I like my offensive line, with tall, rangy and athletic tackles, and physical interior presences, plus a nice blend of cerebral and visceral demeanors. I love my tackles, Dennis Kelly and Brandon Gorin, in particular, and was shocked I got both of them as deep into the draft as I did.
Lastly, I have two good backs and one (Jaycen Taylor) who as a Boilermker made my other (Sheets) better by pushing him for his spot. I expect that same impact to be made for this paper team. Taylor's versatility makes him my 12th starter on offense.
Look at my front seven and cower accordingly.
I have pass-rushers who'll haunt fake quarterbacks' dreams at night, two Godzillas at defensive tackle, depth on the defensive line to rotate freely and speed in abundance at linebacker to capitalize on the attention my D-line will command.
I've got size and length and the corner spots and safeties who'll make tackles and plays on the ball in the air alike.
Granted, I have some players who battled injury during their careers, but on paper, we're all in tip-top shape.
To take this to utterly obnoxious lengths, I like my leadership. Colvin was an elite leader for Purdue in his day and I drafted Ryan Baker late for substance as much as anything.
For getting stuck with the fourth pick in a non-snake draft, I outkicked the coverage on this one.
I targeted big plays on offense and pressure on defense and made sure to only take players whose value wasn't tied directly to a certain quarterback whose name may or may not kind of rhyme with "blue cheese."
There was some definite hole-plugging at the very end as things got spread pretty thin, but there's no position in my first 22 that I view as an open wound, relative to the field. These are all good players in this universe we're working with.
All my players are slotted at their best, most natural positions. I assured them of that by making sure Gene Mruczkowski got slid back over to his natural habitat at offensive guard and Joe Odom didn't wind up at middle linebacker.
I'm biased but I think my team is the best, top to bottom, and when taking certain less-obvious elements into account.
I think if you take a good, hard, objective look at things and put out of your mind the thought that the team with blue cheese is automatically the best team, I think you'll agree.
Last thing from me: Please understand that this was not a 1 through 100 ranking. This was team-building, and some pools are deeper than others. This is fake, all of it, a futile gesture that had to be done on someone's part. Supply-and-demand ruled the day here, so please don't think we're suggest that the last safety drafted was a better player at Purdue than the first undrafted defensive lineman or wide receiver, where the pools were so deep you could drown in them.
Also, if you're a former player and didn't get picked, or didn't like where you got picked, or didn't like who you were picked after, well, sorry.
This was for entertainment purposes only and based entirely on nothing but subjective whims.
Who didn't get picked that should have?
There's a bunch, obviously. There were too many players over too many years for there to not have been significant slippage through the cracks.
If we had more spots to work with at the end, I'd have drafted Jon Goldsberry in a second. Special teams don't exist in this little biosphere, but I'd have loved to have gotten him as a fullback and substance guy. Just couldn't justify it at the very end here.
He was picked, but Ed Watson should have been drafted earlier and would have been had I been able to pass on Kory Sheets much earlier. People forget how good Watson was, in part because he only got the one season in Joe Tiller's offense, on a winning team.
Did no one draft Terrell Vinson? That's a shame, but a reflection of the volume of good-but-maybe-not-quite-great corners there were out there and how little separation there was among them. I specifically wanted height and length at corner, so don't blame me. Brian Hickman, too. Like I said, lots of corners.
There's a number of linebackers who just as soon could have gone over some that did, guys like Jason Werner, George Hall and Ja'Whaun Bentley.
Montrell Lowe's productivity at running back bears noting.
I'm sure there are more, but ought to draw the line somewhere here.
The draft's surprises
All due respect to the man who signs my paycheck, but Selywn Lymon shouldn't have been drafted over some of the guys who weren't drafted at wide receiver and there's no reasonable explanation for Billy Dicken playing safety in this thing. Alan's losing his mind, and I'm reaping all the benefits.
I do think there were some guys severely overdrafted, but they'll remain nameless here. Not by me, of course.
Round 1: No. 4 Rosevelt Colvin
Round 2: No. 8 Anthony Spencer
Round 3: No. 12 Landon Johnson
Round 4: No. 16 Dorien Bryant
Round 5: No. 20 John Standeford
Round 6: No. 24 Kory Sheets
Round 7: No. 28 Gene Mruczkowski
Round 8: No. 32 Dennis Kelly
Round 9: No. 36 Brandon Gorin
Round 10: No. 40 Torri Williams
Round 11: No. 44 Mike Neal
Round 12: No. 48 Joe Odom
Round 13: No. 52 Antwaun Rogers
Round 14: No. 56 Josh Johnson
Round 15: No. 60 Anthony Heygood
Round 16: No. 64 DeAngelo Yancey
Round 17: No. 68 Curtis Painter
Round 18: No. 72 Bruce Gaston
Round 19: No. 76 Jordan Roos
Round 20: No. 80 Charles Davis
Round 21: No. 84 Jim Niedrach
Round 22: No. 88 Justin Scott
Round 23: No. 92 Ryan Baker
Round 24: No. 96 Jaycen Taylor
Round 25: No. 100 Alex Magee
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