Thursday, March 14, 2013
Poll: Replacing impact players in the North
By Kevin Gemmell
On Tuesday we looked at the departing players in the South Division who would be the most difficult to replace. And the poll results are quite exciting. So far, it's a tie between Utah's Star Lotulelei and USC's Matt Barkley with 26 percent of the votes. Matt Scott is right on their heels at 25 percent (get out the vote, Wildcats).
As promised, today we look at the North Division -- which has its share of superstars heading out, including potentially three first-round draft picks. So for your Thursday poll question, which North Division player will be the toughest to replace?
Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: The unanimous All-American was Stanford's leading receiver with 69 catches for 898 yards and six touchdowns. He came through in the clutch several times during the season, and is projected by many to be a first-round draft pick. Worth noting here, too, that if Levine Toilolo hadn't jumped early as well, the Cardinal would still have at least one seasoned tight end.
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon: The Ducks have a few holes they need to replace on defense. But when Jordan was healthy, he was arguably the most disruptive player on Oregon's defense. He's projected as a top 10 pick.
Jordan Poyer, DB, Oregon State: Markus Wheaton was phenomenal -- but the Beavers have a top-notch receiver already in place. Poyer was the league leader in interceptions with seven (one returned for a touchdown) and ranked third in the league with 1.17 breakups per game.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford: The Cardinal get a second player added because Taylor was so instrumental and consistent at what Stanford does on offense. Without him, nothing else would get set up. He was a three-time 1,000-yard rusher. While others are waiting in the wings, replacing his game-in, game-out blue-collar effort will be difficult.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: After starting 45 straight games in his career at one point, Trufant was a defensive staple for the Huskies. There is some depth at the position, but his ability to take away half the field is a reason why -- like Jordan and Ertz -- he could be a first-round draft pick.