Five Big Ten East story lines
First rounders live here
In his “Way-too-early 2016 NFL mock draft,” ESPN’s Todd McShay listed seven Big Ten East players in his first 15 picks: 1) Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg, 2) Michigan State QB Connor Cook, 3) Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, 7) Ohio State QB Cardale Jones, 11) Ohio State LT Taylor Decker, 14) Michigan State LT Jack Conklin, 15) Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott.
About those quarterbacks
No Big Ten quarterback has been drafted in the first round since Penn State’s Kerry Collins was No. 5 overall in 1995. But Hackenberg, Cook and Jones all could be first-round picks next year, and a big season could thrust Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld into that discussion, too.
Sudfeld’s a Leidner fan
Sudfeld got to know Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner at the Manning Passing Academy this summer. “Mitch — he’s my boy,” Sudfeld said. “We feel we’re both pretty good players that don’t get the same respect as the other guys. He throws it a lot better than people give him credit for. [The Gophers] don’t ask him to throw it 50 times a game. He does what the offense asks him to do.”
The Big Ten hasn’t produced the Heisman Trophy winner since Ohio State QB Troy Smith in 2006. But there are plenty of candidates this year, just from the East Division. Some Heisman odds courtesy of Bovada.lv: Elliott (5 /1), Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (9 /1), Jones (12 /1), Cook (25 /1), Ohio State WR Braxton Miller (33 /1).
It’s difficult writing prognostications about Ohio State, when Urban Meyer has yet to say whether Jones or Barrett will be the starting quarterback. For those keeping score, that’s Cardale Jones, possible first-round pick and possible Heisman winner — you know, if he can only get on the field.