Whole Nine Sports

Top 3 Players from the Big 10 (Offense)

Our first installment of a top prospects from a Power 5 conference brings us to northern and midwestern America as we take a look at the Big 10 conference. The Big 10 is routinely one of the best conferences in football as top-to-bottom, they’re right up there with the SEC.

Quarterbacks

Dwayne Haskins Jr. Ohio State

Clayton Thorson Northwestern

Trace McSorley Penn State

Dwayne Haskins is the top overall quarterback in the entire draft so after him there’s bound to be a drop off in talent out of the Big 10. Haskins took the college football world by storm posting 4,831 passing yards and passing for 50 touchdowns in his first year starting at Ohio State. But, if you ask Stephen A Smith, Haskins is more of a run first QB (*eye roll*).

Clayton Thorson has been gaining momentum as an early Day 2 selection. He can make all the throws you like to see in a QB and also has the prototypical size at 6’4- 225Lbs. Thorson did have a tendency to miss some throws but for the most part he’s a pretty accurate passer. If he winds up in a good situation with a smart offensive mind Thorson could carve out a nice career as a starter. Even if Thorson doesn’t develop into a starting QB he should be able to stick around as a backup. This is where the bigger drop off comes. Trace McSorley was a very good Quarterback in a college system. McSorley is not an accurate passer to say the least. He struggles when throwing into tight windows and when the first option isn’t there he either runs or throws up a 50/50 ball even though he has time to make his progressions. This may seem odd given my last statement but McSorley always seemed to make a big play when he needed too. Showing good pocket presence stepping up and making a solid throw. McSorley does have some zip on the ball which may give some scouts hope, however I do not see him as an NFL Quarterback likely having to switch positions if he wants to have a career in the NFL. Who knows what could happen…..Look at Taysom Hill.

Running Backs

Mike Weber Jr Ohio State

Miles Sanders Penn State

Karan Higdon Michigan

Mike Weber improved a lot in his final year at The Ohio State University. He ran the ball 172 times picking up 954 yards on the ground with 5 touchdowns. Mike Weber turned into a versatile back lining up all over the field for the Buckeyes. He could be a nice day 2 or 3 pickup for a team that needs some depth at the running back position.  Miles Sanders doesn’t really blow you away in any category, but he does a little bit of everything fairly well. There’s not much of a dropoff at this position as all 3 of these guys will likely be a day 3 pick. Sanders can stick around in the NFL but like Weber he won’t be any teams bell cow.

Karan Higdon is probably my favorite running back of this group. He’s a smaller back that has nice vision and patience as he allows his lineman to get onto the block before bursting through the lane.

Wide Receivers

Parris Campbell Ohio State

Terry McLaurin Ohio State

Stanley Morgan Jr Nebraska

This position is led again by Ohio State. Campbell could be used all over the field, as a slot guy, as a runner or simply by putting the ball in his hands early with a bubble screen. He is a playmaker at every aspect of the passing game. He wasn’t asked to run the entire route tree but his pure speed and quickness allows him to win routes. He’s likely a late day 1 to early day 2 pick. Terry McLaurin, another buckeye, has a different game than his teammate, however. Terry can also be used inside or outside, but he was asked to run a more traditional route tree. His stock has been on the rise since Senior Bowl week impressing scouts first in practices then in the actual game. McLaurin can go anywhere from round 2-4. Stanley Morgan Jr broke records at Nebraska. He finished with 2,747 receiving yards passing Kenny Bell’s previous record of 2,689 yards. He also owns the record for consecutive games with a catch at 38. In 12 games this past season Morgan jr caught 70 passes for 1,004 yards and 7 touchdowns. He needs to improve on getting a better release vs press coverage and is best suited in the slot. Morgan Jr can help out a team possibly right away and could become a nice sleeper pick.  

Tight Ends

TJ Hockenson Iowa

Noah Fant Iowa

Zach Gentry Michigan

This group is led by two Hawkeyes the first being TJ Hockenson. TJ has had a meteoric rise passing his teammate Noah Fant as my #1 graded TE. Hockenson can do it all, whether it be pass blocking, run blocking, or in the receiving game. TJ Hockenson is the most complete Tight End coming out in a very long time. His teammate, Noah Fant is more of a modern Tight End. He excels as a receiver and could be a QB’s best friend. Noah Fant recorded 39 receptions for 519 yards and 7 touchdowns in 12 games. Both of the Iowa tight ends could end up in the first round, if not they’ll be an early day 2 pick. Zach Gentry is a tight end that hasn’t been talked about much. Like Fant he is a receiving tight end who can help in the vertical passing attack. He has good size at 6’7 using that to his advantage with contested balls. Has a nice catch radius and can hang onto the ball when taking shots by defenders across the middle. I think I’m probably more high on Gentry than some other people, but I currently have a mid round grade on him anywhere from round 4-5. Gentry could help out a lot of young Quarterbacks if given the chance.

Offensive Line

David Edwards Wisconsin

Michael Deiter Wisconsin

Connor McGovern Penn State

The Big10 always produces some talented offensive lineman and this year is no different. These rankings were pretty close. Buckeyes lineman Isaiah Prince and Michael Jordan could’ve easily made the list but Deiter and McGovern are slightly better in my eyes. I would say all three of the lineman on my list are versatile, able to play multiple positions on the line. Edwards is an offensive tackle likely to start his career on the right side but could eventually move to left. Deiter can play any position on the offensive line with time spent at tackle, guard and center throughout his career at Wisconsin. McGovern, like Deiter, has been moved all over the line by Penn State. Moving mostly between guard and center, McGovern can definitely come in right away and start inside for an NFL team.