Everybody loves a good draft.
There’s the opportunity to have the hottest of takes, to boo and call people names. It’s definitely an American sports staple.
This season, I’m going to put my faith in five Nebraska Cornhuskers every week to deliver the best performances against their upcoming opponent. The next week we’ll analyze how my guys did and review my decisions at the end of the season. Now that we’ve laid the ground rules, it’s time to make pick No. 1.
- Running back Devine Ozigbo – Say what you will about Terrell Newby being No. 1 on the depth chart; I see “Zig” having a better day on the ground. I may be shooting myself in the foot with this pick since he’s the better pass blocker, which might take away from his carries. However, I’m banking on No. 22’s ability to break through a Fresno State defense that’s likely to suffer from first-game jitters and fail to take down a deceptively fast hoss.
- Defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun – I take no pity on those who have to deal with No. 91. The Huskers obviously want to thwart the Bulldogs’ attempt to pick up the tempo on offense. To do that, they’ll need Akinmoladun’s pass rushing ability, which will make Fresno’s quarterback — redshirt freshman Chason Virgil — scatter like a cockroach. I don’t think anyone on the opposition’s roster can give Akinmoladun the same kind of fight provided by offensive tackle Nick Gates in practice every day.
- Tight end Cethan Carter – It’s time for the C2 train to leave the station. Tommy Armstrong uses the big battering ram as an easy target for receptions, but don’t be surprised if Carter also gets a handoff or two. I like the chances of him snagging a touchdown pass if Nebraska gets in the red zone, and Fresno State wants to clamp down on the Huskers’ wide receivers.
- Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp – A cop-out pick? Maybe, but I know to pick the thoroughbred, especially early on. No. 1 caught seven passes for 125 yards and a touchdown against BYU in last year’s season opener. Take into consideration that Brandon Reilly will be on the sideline serving his single-game suspension. Having absorbed that point, I think Armstrong will look Westy’s way for a number of easy throws, potentially for big gains.
- Cornerback Lamar Jackson – Time for the surprise pick — not only a true freshman, but not even a starter!
With Nate Gerry serving a one-game suspension, defensive coordinator Mark Banker will have to move guys across the board in the secondary. He’s also been talking up Jackson quite a bit. I anticipate Fresno State trying to work some of the magic teams used last year against the Nebraska defensive backs. Wouldn’t you hope to strike gold where Gerry normally would be? Fortunately, Banker’s shell game opens the door for guys such as Joshua Kalu to scoot into the nickel spot, bringing Jackson in as a boundary corner.
Think you can outdo my picks? Leave your selections in the comment section below.