We're back to continue our series looking at the most indispensable players on each Big Ten team. Once again, this is not necessarily a listing of the best players on each team, but ones whose absence would be toughest to absorb because of their particular value or because of a lack of depth behind them.
We're selecting two players from each team, usually on offense and defense, but not always. Today we turn our gaze to Purdue, which thankfully no longer has to worry about one quarterback going down and throwing everything into turmoil.
Kawann Short, DT, Sr.
This one is an easy call, as Short has the potential to be the top defensive tackle in the Big Ten this season and is being projected as a first-round NFL draft pick in 2013. The Boilermakers should be pretty good on the defensive line this season, and Bruce Gaston is another returning starter at tackle. But few teams could adequately replace a talent like Short, who compiled 17 tackles for loss a season ago.
Trevor Foy, OT, Jr.
Here's a much less obvious pick. Purdue is blessed with some decent depth on the offensive side, with three quarterbacks who have started games, a stable of running backs and several options at receiver. One place where there is not a lot of experienced depth, however, is the offensive line. Two starters, including left tackle Dennis Kelly, were drafted last month. Foy is hardly a household name, but is a player with a lot of potential. After starting at right tackle last year, he is expected to take over Kelly's spot this season, and at 6-foot-7 and 287 pounds, he looks the part. Danny Hope would have to do some major shuffling on the offensive line if Foy weren't available. For an offense that otherwise appears ready to have a strong season, that would be a rough development.