Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts. This week, however, things will go a little bit differently, as Gene and Josh will be looking for you all to cast your votes in deciding who drafted better on this past week’s episode of Hangout in the Holy Land. If you have not yet listened, be sure to check it out, as the guys looked to put together the best offense possible from the past decade of Ohio State’s best players.
This week’s topic: Who drafted the best ‘Offense of the Decade?’
On our last podcast, Gene and I drafted Ohio State all-decade teams for the offensive side of the ball, and I’ve gotta say I think we really knocked it out of the park. It would have been hard for either one of us to go wrong with so much Buckeye talent on the board, but both drafts deserve high praise. And I want to give kudos to my co-host in particular, because I would rate Team Gene a 9 out of 10. However... Team Josh is a clear 10. Hold your head high though, Gene, as there can only be one winner.
Teasing aside, I really like the team I ended up with. As I said on the pod, I wanted to go after explosive athletes and versatile football players. I feel as if I got both. And while I didn’t knock it completely out of the park with my offensive line, I would argue that I assembled the greatest collection of athletes/skill players this world has ever seen — at least when it comes to 12-player, decade and school-specific fantasy drafts. A narrow lane, I know.
At quarterback, Justin Fields was the No. 1 option in my mind. J.T. Barrett won a million games by getting a million first downs, Dwayne Haskins has the crown for single-season stats, and C.J. Stroud could eventually set all the records and hear his name called as a top NFL Draft pick. But Fields gives me everything; the best combination of size, speed, skill, and football IQ. Not only did he pass the eye test at Ohio State, but the numbers back up his greatness. He ended up with a higher passer rating than Haskins (or Barrett), and although Stroud has the edge in single-season passing stats, Fields’ 2019 season was an all-timer and led to more individual points scored than Stroud’s 2021 (51 touchdowns to 44).
The current Buckeye signal caller could change my mind – and there was no wrong choice here – but if we can agree that QB is the most important player on the field, I think I ended up with the best of the recent bunch.
As for the backs and receivers, I mean... what are we talking about? Ezekiel Elliott was the clear top choice at running back. And not only did I snatch him up first, but at wide receiver, I ended up with the single-season record holder for both receptions and receiving yards, the career record holder for TD (not to mention 5th in career yards), and the best downfield blocker for his position to ever set foot in Columbus. RB and WR were two positions where, again, it was impossible to end up with a bad pick, but Zeke, JSN, and Olave are the triumvirate of supremacy (AKA the name I’m going to suggest if we ever add a third host to our pod).
Along the offensive line – and including the tight end – I won’t argue that Gene ended up with elite talent(s) in Corey Linsley, Taylor Decker, and Jeremy Ruckert. All three sat atop the rankings at their respective positions, and in Decker and/or Ruckert’s case, I don’t even think it was an argument. That being said, I love the versatility of my guys.
With the exception of Wyatt Davis, all of my offensive linemen did – or will in the future – start at a minimum of two positions. Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson Jr. have the potential to develop into All-Americans, and Billy Price was one. Jeff Heuerman lacked the pass-catching acumen of Jeremy Ruckert, but he averaged 18 yards per catch (!) as a junior and gives me one of the better blocking tight ends. Even though Gene grabbed a few more studs, I love my group up front.
Where I think I may have won this thing is the wildcard. Taking nothing away from TreVeyon Henderson, but he may or may not be utilized as a consistent pass-catcher at any point during his career at OSU. Is he capable? We know that he is. Would I like to see more of it? You bet. But unlike some of the other guys we took based on potential, we don’t know if Henderson will actually be used at the position (or in the role) for which you drafted him. With Evan Pryor and other backs in the mix, he might just tote the rock 15 times per game and call it a day.
Braxton Miller, on the other hand, is the quintessential wildcard. With Miller, I’m getting a player who can literally do it all: run, throw, catch, probably even kick. He passed for over 5,000 yards, rushed for over 3,000, and reeled in 25 catches despite a very limited ramp-up to his time spent at WR. Oh, and he totaled 88 TD. I’m basically getting the Jim Thorpe of Ohio State football. One could make an argument that Miller is the most exciting player to ever play a majority of his games in The Shoe — and I picked him up as a luxury.
At the end of the day, our all-decade draft was just a lot of fun. I think the defensive version will be much more difficult and divisive, but I am looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to any and all votes on this topic, and seeing whether or not people agree that Team Josh is the best of the best (shoutout to Eric Roberts, Chris Penn, and Phillip Rhee).
As Josh alluded to, the real strength of my team is the offensive line, which was a point of emphasis of mine going into our draft. We have seen how important winning in the trenches can be for a team like Ohio State, and ultimately the lack of ability to do so led to the loss against Michigan this past season. You can be stacked to the brim at the skill positions, but it doesn’t do you much good if you can't block long enough to get those guys the ball. The four tackles offensive line was a bad idea, and so my goal when building my ultimate Buckeye offense of the decade was to shore up my blocking up front first and foremost.
In doing that, I was able to secure my top picks at each position across the board. I got, in my opinion, the best two tackles on the board in Taylor Decker and Nicholas Petit-Frere, the former being a consensus All-American and the 2015 B1G Offensive Lineman of the Year and the latter a 2021 First Team All-American and multi-year starter. On the interior, I was able to snag Jonah Jackson at one of my guard spots, just a one-year player in Columbus but a First Team All-B1G selection and a 2022 NFL Pro Bowl fill-in, as well as the legend Corey Linsley at center — whose career both at the collegiate and NFL level speaks for itself. My only potential reach was Donovan Jackson at the other guard spot, but i’m comfortable with a five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 1 guard in the 2021 class as my one ‘question mark’.
At the receiver position, I got a trio of guys with differing skillsets that I think compliment one another pretty darn well. Garrett Wilson, while the statistics may not say so, is probably the most well-rounded and athletically gifted wide receiver in program history, while Marvin Harrison Jr. provides me a massive end zone target at 6-foot-3 (even though he looks even bigger than that) in addition to an immaculate deep threat and perhaps under-appreciated pass-catcher in Devin Smith. Joining that trio is Jeremy Ruckert, who is undoubtably the best receiving threat Ohio State has ever had as well as a more than capable blocker — plus, I couldn’t give up the opportunity to draft a fellow Long Island native.
While Josh got the top choice at running back with Elliott — his first overall pick — I'm more than happy with J.K. Dobbins as the 1B to Elliott’s 1A. Joining Dobbins in the backfield is TreVeyon Henderson, who I drafted as my wildcard. Henderson provides a chance of pace back to Dobbins as more of a pure speed threat to Dobbins’ strength, although the duo can each provide more than a little bit of both. In addition, Henderson is a dynamic weapon in the passing game, and is a home run threat on any given screen pass or wheel route out of the backfield.
Finally, I got C.J. Stroud at quarterback. While Fields is looked at right now as the most talented QB in program history, I think another dominant season from Stroud could put him in that same conversation if not overtake Fields depending on how the 2022 season finishes. Stroud put up ridiculous numbers in 2021 (over 4,400 yards with 44 TDs to just six INTs, to be exact) and was seemingly unstoppable after taking the Akron game off to rest his ailing shoulder. Neither of Ohio State’s losses were on his shoulders, as he threw for 484 yards and 394 yards against Oregon and Michigan, respectively, while throwing just one pick it the two games combined. This year’s Heisman frontrunner will be a more than good option to run my offense.
I have a feeling Josh will win over the crowd with fan favorites in Fields, Elliott, Olave, etc., but I think my squad could go toe to toe with anyone in the country and come out on top.
The Final Rosters:
QB: Justin Fields
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
WRs: Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Terry McLaurin
TE: Jeff Heuerman
OL: Paris Johnson Jr., Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers, Billy Price, Dawand Jones
Wildcard: Braxton Miller
QB: C.J. Stroud
RB: J.K. Dobbins
WRs: Garrett Wilson, Marvin Harrison Jr., Devin Smith
TE: Jeremy Ruckert
OL: Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Corey Linsley, Donovan Jackson, Nicholas Petit-Frere
Wildcard: TreVeyon Henderson
Who won the ‘Offense of the Decade’ draft?
This poll is closed