Originally Published: July 1, 2013

Overview: Everybody has a Heisman

By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

Archie GriffinAP PhotoArchie Griffin is still the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, and that fact alone made him a surefire first-round pick in the BuckeyeNation all-time fantasy draft.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Picking one all-time team for a program as rich in history as Ohio State is no small feat on its own. A simple glimpse at the Heisman trophies on display in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center instantly makes it clear that no shortage of talent has walked through those doors.

But those squads have been selected for years and the degree of difficulty is still too low for BuckeyeNation. So along with a handful of other sites across ESPN.com, we (with the help of a former Ohio State standout) are drafting four of them to see who can come up with the best roster once the stiff-arm winners and repeat All-Americans start coming off the board.

The full lineups are the result of a snake draft with beat writer Austin Ward, recruiting writer Brad Bournival, editor Scott Kendrick and former Ohio State wide receiver Brandon "Bam" Childress.

There will be plenty of room for debate along the way, both among the "coaches" recruiting their dream teams and during the feedback from fans weighing in after the final selection, offering up their top picks, biggest omissions and, most importantly, helping choose the best overall team.

And every team has a player with at least one Heisman Trophy.

A couple of key questions:

Alone at the top?

There's still just one man with a pair of Heismans on his résumé, and Archie Griffin's career continues to stand up as one of the best in the history of college football. Almost by default, that puts him at the top of the list for the Buckeyes, as well. The Buckeyes boast plenty of historical depth in the backfield, and a guy like Eddie George or Keith Byars would obviously provide a nice consolation prize at running back for any team that misses out on Griffin. This could be where strategy in composing a team first shows up, because the talent disparity at a position like defensive tackle could conceivably be wider than Griffin's edge over George. On the other hand, though, two Heismans.

Picking a style

All four rosters feature at least one workhorse running back, and depending on how the flex position is used, a team might end up with two of them. Drafters will have the option of taking a fullback, a second tight end, a third wide receiver or a second tailback with that wild-card spot on offense. How that's used will certainly help determine what kind of system suits the personnel. But the choice at quarterback will go even further to sort that out, with a nice mix of multipurpose, athletic quarterbacks on the table along with more traditional, pocket-passing options. A team that doesn't mind turning its signal-caller loose as a rushing option might even be tempted to snag Braxton Miller after just two seasons with the Buckeyes, maybe setting itself up to look even better with two years of hindsight, assuming he continues his steady improvement as a passer.

Rush or cover?

There's less flexibility in putting together the defensive unit, which will be locked into a 4-3 alignment for every team. But the preference in style of play should still be evident based on which talented position group is targeted first. The Buckeyes have a long, proud tradition at linebacker, and some productive, All-Big Ten performers weren't drafted. Ohio State isn't hurting on the line or the secondary, either, but the choice between chasing a pass-rushing superstar such as Mike Vrabel or a dynamic defensive back such as Antoine Winfield will be significant in shaping the unit, and it had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the selections.

Austin Ward | email

ESPN Staff Writer

Bournival: It's all on the line

By Brad Bournival | BuckeyeNation

The hardest part of drafting a team of Ohio State greats is holding off on the skill players to make sure the offensive line is solid.

While big-time receivers like Cris Carter, Terry Glenn and David Boston went off the board early, the Buckeyes have legends at wide receiver, running back, linebacker and in the secondary, but not as much on the offensive line.

I concentrated there and got huge names in John Hicks, Jim Parker, Jim Marshall and Warren Ambling, and then cut to the defense.

With the No. 1 pick I took two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and also have the top career passer in Art Schlichter and another Heisman Trophy winner in Les Horvath, along with some guy named Paul Warfield, so my offense is just fine.

Which player or players did you have to get?

A.J. Hawk
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesLinebacker A.J. Hawk, now with the Green Bay Packers, was a must-get on defense.

Offensively, I had to have Griffin or Eddie George. You can’t go wrong with the 6,659 all-purpose yards, 5,589 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns Griffin scored, so making the NCAA’s only two-time Heisman winner the No. 1 pick over George made life easy. I also couldn’t live without A.J. Hawk. While you can interchange some of the great linebackers on an all-time team, the two-time All-American, Lombardi and Jack Lambert Award winner was a no-brainer. His 394 tackles, 15 sacks, 7 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries made him a force at Ohio State.

Why wait until the very end to take Art Schlichter?

That one was easy. With Austin Ward, Scott Kendrick and Bam Childress only allowed to take one quarterback, the choice was made for me. Bam came out of the gate with Troy Smith, while Austin nabbed Braxton Miller in Round 8 and Scott took Rex Kern in the Round 15. That meant I could wait until the end. It became a battle between Bobby Hoying, Joe Germaine and Schlichter, but how do you pass up 7,547 yards passing and 50 touchdowns?

Who were you most disappointed to miss out on?

To be honest, my disappointment came right after my first pick when Scott took Orlando Pace. My strategy was to take a lineman right after Griffin, which I did. But I really wanted Pace and rolled the dice that he might come back to me with the eighth pick. Scott put the kibosh on those plans immediately.

Who was your best sleeper or best value pick?

Besides Schlichter, it had to be Les Horvath in the 14th round. How many Heisman Trophy winners fall into mid-teen rounds? The 1944 Heisman Trophy winner was a halfback/quarterback, so he was eligible to take at the flex. A unanimous All-American and the Big Ten MVP that season, he was another no-brainer just past the midway point of the draft.

What was the hardest position to draft?

For me it became the defensive line. While I’m strong at quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, secondary and have a linebacker unit of Hawk, Andy Katzenmoyer and Tom Cousineau -- yes, you read that right -- I didn’t take a defensive lineman until Luke Fickell in Round 16. That’s not saying Fickell and the rest aren’t strong, but making sure I hit other positions first put a hold on the defensive line.

How do you feel about your team overall?

Fantastic. I have a two-time Heisman winner, another Heisman winner, John Hicks (who finished second in the Heisman voting) and college and NFL Hall of Famers scattered throughout my lineup. This team really can do it all.

Kendrick: This team sets the Pace

By Scott Kendrick | BuckeyeNation

Any Ohio State team in history has to run the ball. And boy, would this team run the ball.

Pace
Getty Images Orlando Pace finished in fourth in the 1996 Heisman Trophy voting and was the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick in 1997.

Try to compete against an offensive line that would have Orlando Pace, Jim Lachey, Nick Mangold, Aurealius Thomas and Dave Foley blowing open the holes. And a guy running the ball like Keith Byars -- who was so hard to bring down -- and a scoring machine like Hopalong Cassady, to boot. Want to put eight in the box against me? I've got Cris Carter and Joey Galloway running wild in your secondary, and a national championship-winning, dual-threat quarterback in Rex Kern to run the show.

And up front on defense, this team is going to get to your quarterback, too. See if you can stop them.

Which player did you have to get?

I had to get Pace, because of all the players in Ohio State history, I don't think there's much of a dispute about who the No. 1 lineman was. And if you ask any NFL general manager which positions they deem most important, it's quarterback, left tackle and pass-rusher. In this format, I knew I'd get a good quarterback, so I spent my first two picks on Pace and Bill Willis, who is one of the most underrated defensive linemen ever. If he were coming into the NFL today, he'd be the No. 1 overall draft pick. He was that dominant.

Who were you most disappointed to miss out on?

Chris Spielman. Growing up in the Massillon area, I started watching him play in high school. To me, there's no player that sums up being a Buckeye better than him. Was hoping he would swing back to me in the second round, but Austin grabbed him three picks too soon. Could you imagine the hitting on a defense with Spielman and Jack Tatum in the middle? But I did get his predecessor with the No. 36 uniform, Marcus Marek. They were the same kind of player, with a great nose for the ball.

Who was your best sleeper or best value pick?

The player who put Ohio State football on the map almost a century ago was Chic Harley, and I got him in the 17th round. He was a halfback, end, safety, punter and kicker, but it was easiest to pick him in the defensive backfield, given the pool of talent at running back. He's a charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and was the first-team halfback (over Red Grange) on the AP's college football all-star team for the first half of the 20th century. In 1949, the marching band altered Script Ohio to spell out C-h-i-c. You never saw that for anybody else. (Although that was just a minor tweak; I'm sure "Script LeCharles" would be a lot tougher to design.)

What was the hardest position to draft?

Offensive line, and guards especially. The tackles typically are the guys who got the most accolades, and the centers are the leaders of the line. That's why I thought it was important to get Lachey so early, since he was a first-team All-American guard at Ohio State before becoming an All-Pro tackle with the Washington Redskins (and these days, the color commentator on Ohio State football radio broadcasts).

How do you feel about your team overall?

Brad also has a great line to block for Archie Griffin; Austin's team is pretty athletic all-around; and Bam has a lot of his former teammates in there -- we all know how good they were. But I'd take my chances. Once Pace is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame this year, 10 players -- almost half of my team -- will be on the wall in South Bend, Ind. By my count, Brad has six, Austin four and Bam one, although his team is certain to get more in the coming years. Two of my players are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Willis and Carter), and Pace could join them next year. My kicker (Vlade Janakievski) will even make a fantastic deli sandwich. I rest my case.

Scott Kendrick | email

Editor, RecruitingNation

Childress: Offense and speed paramount

By Brad Bournival | BuckeyeNation

In talking to former Ohio State receiver Brandon “Bam” Childress after he drafted his all-time Ohio State roster, it was easy to see why his strategy worked so well. An Ohio Mr. Football award winner during his playing days at Bedford St. Peter Chanel, Childress’ mindset was built on an offense-first mentality.

Troy Smith
Jason Parkhurst/US PresswireTroy Smith, the runaway winner of the Heisman Trophy in 2006, was a must-get for Bam Childress' all-time Buckeyes team.

He came out of the gate strong with Troy Smith, grabbed a few offensive linemen in LeCharles Bentley and Korey Stringer and then made sure he had surefire receivers in Terry Glenn, Dee Miller and a flex in Santonio Holmes.

His philosophy was to make his team the greatest show on turf and then dig into the defense, thinking at Ohio State it isn’t hard to find greats who made a name for themselves on that side of the line of scrimmage.

Here’s what the former New England Patriots wide receiver and Buckeyes national champion from 2002 had to say about his picks:

Which player did you have to get?

Troy Smith. I wanted to make sure I got him or Joe Germaine. The way I was coached was to throw the heck out of the ball. If I can put up points, my defense just has to be decent, and knowing that Ohio State has so many good defensive dudes to grab, I wanted to put my quarterback first. If I can put up points, I thought I could put together a solid defense after that.

Why take Beanie Wells at running back?

He’s top three or four at Ohio State (he’s fourth all-time with 3,382 yards rushing and was a first-team All-American). I thought maybe Archie Griffin, Eddie George or Keith Byars would be there for me. I thought you guys might hop up on them early and was like, ‘I know no one will pick Beanie Wells, so I can take top guys at other positions and still be strong with Beanie at running back.’

Who were you most disappointed to miss out on?

I’m a receiver, so it would have to be Cris Carter. He’s probably one of the best receivers in college history, let alone the NFL. Throughout his days at Ohio State and the pros, he was one of the best to do it.

Who was your best sleeper or best value pick?

I would say Nate Salley in the 18th round. I wanted him or Jack Tatum and Mike Doss [both went in the fifth round], but Salley can do it all. He wasn’t real flashy and everyone loved him. He could cover, he could hit, he was fast and he had good hands. He was part of the national championship team, too.

What was the hardest position to draft?

It was probably linebackers, because there are so many and a lot of them went fast. I wanted to fill other spots to make sure I had them. With linebackers, it was like, ‘Dangit, there’s too many to choose,’ so I had to come back to it. At the end, they were going left and right, left and right, left and right.

How do you feel about your team overall?

I think I did great. I have a very strong quarterback and offensive line, my wide receivers are great. Every position is better than solid; they’re top-notch. Troy Smith at quarterback is a future Hall of Famer. Rob Sims is still in the NFL. Korey Stringer and LeCharles Bentley, that’s three solid linemen. At wide receiver, those three are great.

Ward: Getting a modern twist

By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

The books aren't even closed on a few Buckeyes, but the chapters already written for a handful of current players are already enough to pluck them off the draft board.

Braxton Miller, come on down and lead an offense absolutely loaded at the skill positions. Eddie George might appreciate having his load somewhat lightened by a mobile quarterback capable of keeping defenses honest.

Ohio State's Eddie George
Matthew Emmons/US PRESSWIREEddie George rushed for 3,668 yards for Ohio State and won the Heisman Trophy in 1995.

Ryan Shazier, grab a helmet. The junior hasn't yet had a chance to mount a charge on the career tackles list, but he's proven plenty capable of wreaking havoc alongside a legend like Chris Spielman.

And while Johnathan Hankins and John Simon have only recently become former Buckeyes, it was certainly worth using a couple of picks on two more members of the undefeated 2012 team to complete a defensive line that is essentially impossible to block.

This team certainly didn't ignore the players who have been removed from the active roster for a while, though, and the blending of past greats along with the emerging talent makes for a unique experiment. And putting it all together, it's hard to imagine a squad could stuff the run defensively or pick an opponent apart in such a variety of ways offensively better than this one.

Which player did you have to get?

With two Heisman winners coming off the board before getting to select for the first time with the fourth pick, it was clear this team needed a stiff-armed statue of its own. And George was an obvious way to go to set the foundation for the offense. Really, this choice helped determine the direction for the rest of the attack, because Orlando Pace or Troy Smith both would have been viable cornerstones depending on how the dominoes fell after Archie Griffin.

Who were you most disappointed to miss out on?

Just about the time I was ready to add another current player while shoring up the secondary, Bradley Roby had his name called. I thought the redshirt junior might be a good value pickup later in the draft, and with all the decorated defensive backs the program has churned out, I thought he might slip enough to nab him before he came off the board in the 14th round. Pairing him with Shawn Springs would have been an incredible combination, but at least there was a Hall of Fame-caliber cornerback available in the 16th, with Dick LeBeau giving an old-school option instead of an active one.

What was the best value pick?

Fullback isn't the sexiest position on the field, and it's seemingly being phased out in its traditional sense by the spread offense the Buckeyes are running now. But Pete Johnson was far more than just a blocker, and his uncanny ability to pile up touchdowns and run over defenders in the box made him a perfect candidate to fill out a backfield with Miller and George instead of adding another receiver or tight end with the flex pick. With Ted Ginn also capable of taking a handoff and making something happen on the ground, this offense could do a number of things Miller already has to do under Urban Meyer. Slowing down this team on the ground would be an absolute nightmare.

What was the hardest position to draft?

Offensive linemen are perpetually undervalued because of the lack of individual statistics. But even if you appreciate the role they play, that still doesn't make them easy to draft for the exact same reason. Even relying on All-America selections or All-Big Ten honors can be tough, though that's about all there is to go by for players who haven't suited up for the Buckeyes in 30 or 40 years. By that standard, this team is well represented with individual acclaim, and even if there were better drafts of linemen elsewhere, this group doesn't need to be perfect with everybody touching the ball capable of making a defender miss -- or running one over.

How do you feel about the team overall?

The emphasis defensively going into the draft was to put together a defensive line that was stout in the middle to stop the run and athletic on the edge to get after the quarterback. Mission accomplished there, and if for some reason the front didn't get the job done, having Chris Spielman anchor a hard-hitting group of linebackers should clean up any mess. The offense is diverse and came together at the skill positions pretty much exactly as planned, and tabbing Miller as the quarterback might only look better in time if he continues developing over the next two years at the rate he has over the first two. Good luck coming up with a way to shut this squad down.

Austin Ward | email

ESPN Staff Writer

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