this may be of some local interest
Two more gentlemen are good. PFF extended its list of the top X players in the country by ten and hit on another two Wolverines. Taco Charlton:
- Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
The Wolverines’ defensive line is absolutely loaded for 2016. Taco Charlton provides them with pass rush production from either defensive end position. Charlton generated 41 total pressures on 213 snaps in 2015 and his 15.1 pass rushing productivity rating ranks No. 1 among all returning FBS 4-3 defensive ends.
I did not realize Charlton's snap count was that limited. I mean, I knew it was limited because of Wormley, but that count is barely more than a third of Wormley's snap count, half of Hurst's, and about 33% lower than Glasgow, who got knocked out for the year against Rutgers. If Charlton 1) gets a bunch more snaps, 2) gets even a little better, and 3) gets most of his snaps at the WDE spot that is the glory position for most 4-3 defenses, he's going to blow up.
Butt is one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in college football. Butt showed in 2015 that he could line up in the backfield, in the slot or in-line and still get open. Butt’s +10.1 receiving grade ranks No.1 among returning FBS tight ends.
You'll note the lack of mention of Butt's blocking prowess. IIRC he came out negatively for the year, albeit slightly. I don't expect that to improve much since adding much more weight to his frame will detract from his killer receiving ability.
Meanwhile PFF surveys the state of Big Ten quarterbacking:
- C.J. Beathard, Iowa
C.J. Beathard is the only returning Big Ten signal-caller with a positive passing grade from last season.
Woooooooooof. Wes Lunt and Mitch Leidner are #4 and #5 on this list. Michigan's quarterback situation is already better than the vast majority of the league simply by virtue of having Jim Harbaugh.
It does look like Charlton will flip back to the weakside. Baumgardner profiles Charlton and gets some interesting quotes about this year's defense versus last year's:
"Last year we played in the 3-4 and (I was at a) tackle-type position. Now I'm back outside in a 4-3 defense doing what I'm more comfortable doing. Now I can get back to rushing that passer on the outside and using my speed a little bit more."
That doesn't fit with what my conception of a 3-4 is but whatever. Here Charlton seems to confirm the Sam Webb report that Michigan's starting DL is likely to read Gary/Glasgow/Wormley/Charlton from strongside end to weak; Charlton spent the spring at SDE with Chase Winovich trying to display his qualities on the weakside.
More defensive line praise. Bruce Feldman kicks off a list of the country's top DLs and leads it off with Michigan. Ryan Glasgow comes in for some praise, described as "pretty salty" by a Big Ten OL coach, and the addition of Don Brown veritably looms:
"What he does from a schematic standpoint because he's so outside the box with the way that he packages his pressures where they're bringing five, six every snap trying to get ready for all that stuff in one week's time is a bitch," one veteran offensive line coach said. "The scheme will definitely help their production."
OSU comes in tenth despite some questions at DT; MSU is an honorable mention largely because of Malik McDowell.
This bad thing is actually a good thing probably, but the good thing is a bad thing maybe. ESPN evaluates reasons Michigan will make the playoff, and I'm a little dubious about where a couple of them are classified. Michigan's schedule is not particularly hard:
Easier path to the playoff: Based on FPI, Michigan has the second-easiest schedule of any Power-5 team. (Oklahoma has the easiest.) The Wolverines will leave the state only once prior to Nov. 6, and that’s to take on Rutgers in New Jersey. Their three non-conference opponents -- Hawaii, UCF, Colorado -- went a combined 7-31 last season. That’s not to say the schedule is without challenges, but those challenges appear to be the exception. That’s why Michigan is expected to have some of the most blowout wins in the country based on ESPN analytics.
This is judged a good thing, and it is for Michigan's chances of getting through the season undefeated. It's not a good thing once the hairs start to get split amongst one-loss teams. It's not hard to see one-loss teams from virtually every other conference jumping Michigan in the queue if M is 12-1.
Meanwhile this bad thing is not necessarily a bad thing:
Wrong side of the turnover battle: Last season, only Notre Dame fared worse than Michigan in the turnover battle while still pulling off double-digit wins. Neither team was very good in that department. On offense, the Wolverines turned the ball over 16 times -- but the defense forced just 12 turnovers. Michigan ranked No. 92 nationally in turnover differential (minus-4) and ranked No. 117 in turnovers gained. Defensive coordinator Don Brown is banking on a more aggressive unit to increase those numbers, but a new quarterback also has the potential to cancel out any defensive gain. At any rate, it’s rare for a playoff team to wind up on the wrong side of the turnover battle. That’s something Michigan needs to correct.
Michigan's lack of turnovers was freakish for a defense as proficient as the 2015 unit. Michigan only forced five fumbles all of last year, 123rd nationally, despite finishing well above average in sacks. (They recovered two.) Judging from PFF's take on Michigan's DL they were probably even better at getting pressures. QB pressure is the single most important factor in forcing turnovers. Sacked QBs fumble; pressured QBs throw passes where they shouldn't. Michigan should be quite good at getting to the QB again, and should do much better in TOs acquired.
Going from DJ Durkin to Don Brown is promising as well. Durkin was content throwing an absolute buttload of man coverage at opponents. Brown will mix that up with various zones that have the potential to put people in places the QB does not expect them to go, and blitzes that promise to up the chaos factor even further.
This is so dumb but it might help recruiting. Every year there is a new batch of articles featuring NFL coaches complaining about spread offenses. SI has one as part of a series on developing quarterbacks. Its lead example? Marcus Mariota:
…in the months leading up to the draft, Mariota faced questions over his viability as a pro passer. The main gripe—from the perspective of TV analyst X, anonymous scout Y and a parade of others weighing in on that year's collection of quarterbacks—was that Mariota may have difficulty transitioning to the NFL because of his history playing in Oregon's spread offense as opposed to a pro-style attack. The criticism didn't just obscure Mariota's illustrious college track record, but the top-line speed and improvisational playmaking that made him such a highly regarded prospect.
All of it must have felt like a wake-up call for the growing number of college coaches who hope to attract elite high school quarterbacks to run their spread offenses.
Mariota evaporates from the article at this point, which is a shame because the skepticism directed his way was a perfect example of how overblown this chatter is. Mariota completed 62% of his passes for 7.6 YPA as a rookie. His QBR was 61, indicating he was an above-average NFL QB as a rookie coming out of a the most spread system in the land.
A lot of quarterbacks bust for a lot of reasons. NFL people say it's college's fault because their jobs are at stake, but there's little relation to reality there. Even so their complaining helps places like Michigan, Stanford, and Georgia:
Clemson co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Jeff Scott, who helped lead the Tigers to the national title game last season, says he has heard a similar line trotted out. "Just guys that say, 'You don't want to go play in that offense because it's a spread, gimmick offense, and it's not going to prepare you for the NFL.'"
There are increasingly few programs that can sell NFL-shaped QBs that they are the best place for them. Michigan is one of them. They're already two thirds of the way through a QB recruiting triptych matched only once in the star era of recruiting. Michigan pulled in Clayton Richard, Matt Gutierrez, and Chad Henne back to back to back in the early aughts. If Michigan grabs one of the guys they're in on early in the 2018 class they'll match that, and then they'll probably continue going. Lloyd Carr did not: his next two QBs after those three were Jason Forcier and David Cone.
Herbert (right) with five-star teammate TJ Slaton. [Isaiah Hole/247]
When Plantation (FL) American Heritage four-star OT Kai-Leon Herbert started picking up attention from power programs back in February of 2015, he called Miami (YTM) his "dream school" and picked up an offer from them shortly thereafter. By that summer, Florida had also offered, and for the better part of the year the Gators held the pole position in his recruitment. In late March, Herbert said he was ready to commit—and that Florida still held the lead.
Then Michigan made their move. Herbert never set a spring commitment date and the Wolverines' recruitment of him went to plaid.
Yoink. [timeline via 247]
This afternoon, before participating in the Opening finals in Oregon, Herbert announced his commitment to Michigan via an impressively produced Walking Dead-style video that features some serious rival-stompin'. He becomes the 18th commit in the 2017 class and the fourth on the offensive line, joining JaRaymond Hall, Joel Honigford, and Andrew Stueber.
4*, #22 OT,
4*, #10 OT,
4*, 83, #15 OT,
3*, 86, #72 OT,
4*, #22 OT,
Herbert is a prospect with serious upside and plenty of development to go, so it's not a surprise to see some variance in his rankings. That said, I can't find a reasonable explanation for 247's outlier ranking—they've had positive scouting reports from the last couple Opening Miami regionals—but I expect Herbert will get a healthy bump when they update rankings after this week's Opening finals. Everyone else has Herbert within the top 200 overall prospects, with Rivals the most bullish.
Herbert is listed at 6'4" or 6'5" and anywhere from 255 to 284 pounds. He's definitely at the higher end of that listing; Scout said he weighed 277 as of March. Herbert is reportedly still getting taller, too—with his long arms, he's got the look of a left tackle.
Herbert first started getting major attention on the recruiting trail following his sophomore season. In February of 2015, 247's Luke Stampini named him as one of ten players to emerge at a loaded Opening regional in Miami, ranking him just behind five-star teammate TeDarrell "TJ" Slaton:
While the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Hebert is not on the same level as Slaton, he proved he was worth watching moving forward. He has an excellent frame with long limbs to pack on the weight and flashed solid mobility for such a young prospect. With another year of development we could be talking about Herbert as one of the best in the Sunshine State.
Despite being a year younger than many of the players in attendance, Herbert earned mention for just missing the top overall performers at the RCS Miami camp a month later:
Herbert has incredibly violent hands. That was the prevailing lesson about his game on Sunday, anyway. He used his initial punch to knock defenders back but also to make a mark on the camp, during which he put on a mostly impressive performance. Herbert was not the most complete lineman at the camp, but he did some things that showcased what seems to be great potential.
At that point, Herbert hit a bunch of SEC team camps, earning offers from the likes of Tennessee in addition to UF and Miami. Michigan offered in May, getting their foot in the door early.
After a strong junior season, Herbert hit the camp circuit again, showing up to this year's Opening Miami regional bigger and better than before. Scout's Chad Simmons:
Herbert has really grown and matured physically and as a football player. He has added close to 20 pounds. He is playing stronger and more violent. He has very good feet, he can bend, and he has so much upside. Look for his ranking to increase in the coming days. Florida is in the lead.
Scout mentioned Herbert first when naming their top ten offensive performers; 247 had him fourth, citing a slow start, and mentioned his "plus athleticism." The performance earned Herbert an invite to this week's Opening finals, and a few days later, Scout bumped him up to four-star territory:
When you look at Herbert, you see an offensive tackle with a great frame. He is a very natural bender, he has good feet, and he has the reach coaches covet at that position. He has come so far in the past 18 months. He has added over 20 pounds, he is playing much stronger, and he is developing into one of the most complete offensive tackles in the 2017 class.
Herbert also had another standout RCS Miami outing:
Herbert was one of the most aggressive offensive linemen when it came to taking reps and after a bit of a slow start, he enforced his will as one-on-ones went along. By the time the session was over, it was clear Herbert was the MVP. His combination of size and strength allowed him to overpower several defenders and his hand placement allowed [him] to keep leverage against shorter defensive linemen as well.
He played well enough that Rivals named him one of the top five offensive linemen from their entire 2016 camp series alongside blue-chips Alex Leatherwood, Walker Little, Isaiah Wilson, and Brett Neilon. Rivals moved him up from #222 overall to his current perch at #61 in the aftermath.
ESPN's scouting report is, as usual, full of hedging, but they make it clear they like Herbert's upside:
(Pass protection) Can set quickly and possesses good arm length and while he doesn't display a jolting punch and can improve placement he is active with hands. Displays good lateral agility to mirror rushers when he stays low, but does need to watch pad level. Can gain good positioning against power and slow, but needs to add size and do better job of sinking hips to help him better anchor. Room to improve physically and technically, but good upside in this area.
(Run blocking) Can quickly get into defenders and deliver a good initial pop. When he gets positioning can control and steer defenders, but needs to improve hand placement and pad level, as can get tall and narrow. Flashes enough lateral agility and quickness to reach defenders from the backside or seal on the front side. Can improve angles, but good range and body control top adjust and get a piece of second level targets.
They like his "excellent height and length" and think he brings "promising upside" at tackle.
Scout's free evaluation is a solid summation:
EvaluationHerbert is an offensive tackle with a great frame. His length stands out immediately and he has good feet to go with that. He has the body that is developing and with that, he will add mass and more power to his game. He can really move and get into his pass sets well. From his sophomore year to the end of his junior year, he added good weight, he played with more aggression, and he has really started to separate himself as one of the best in Florida. He is a very smart player and he is always working to get better. His flexibility is good and his punch has improved a lot. He could be a true left tackle on the next level.
- Arm Length
- Body Control and Balance
Areas to Improve
- Pad Level
- Power And Strength
While Herbert isn't the most polished offensive line prospect out there, his potential is apparent; his combination of size and athleticism make him an ideal left tackle prospect once he adds the requisite weight and strength, and he's come a long way in that regard over the last year. It's notable that on a high school team featuring Slaton, a five-star lineman, it's Herbert that lines up at left tackle with Slaton playing on the right side.
Herbert holds offers from Auburn, Cal, Colorado, Duke, FAU, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Mississippi State, NC State, UNC, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCF, USC, USF, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
American Heritage is one of Florida's top talent producers. Recent blue-chips include five-star 2015 CB Tavarus McFadden (FSU), five-star 2014 RB Sony Michel (Georgia), and top-50 2013 RB Greg Bryant (Notre Dame). Michigan got a commitment from them in 2015 TE Nick Eubanks. Five-star 2017 OG TeDarrell Slaton is a top Michigan target. Three-star 2017 LB James Houston also holds an offer. The Wolverines already have offers out to two of their 2018 prospects, five-star CB Patrick Surtain Jr. and four-star CB Tyson Campbell, and they hosted DT Nesta Silvera for a visit in June—if Silvera, who's close friends with Herbert and Eubanks, lands an offer, Michigan should be among his top schools.
Is OL, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
Herbert's Hudl page lists a verified electronic 40 time of 5.44 seconds, which gets zero FAKEs. Other combine numbers: 4.90 shuttle, 27.2" vertical leap, 40.2-foot powerball throw.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Herbert will be one of what should be a healthy group of talented tackles who could be in line for early playing time. While Ben Bredeson is the early favorite to take over at right tackle after Erik Magnuson departs, Bredeson is better suited for the interior, so we could see a situation similar to this year with Mason Cole; somebody is likely to emerge from the 2015 or 2016 class at tackle and bump Bredeson inside. With a couple years of development, Herbert could very well be that guy; at worst, he's a great candidate to take over for Grant Newsome at left tackle in a few years.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is now at 18 commits in a class that should reach the mid to upper 20s. With the Wolverines already up to four offensive line commits—plus a fifth who could be a guard in DT Phil Paea—we'll see how things shake out with their remaining top-tier OL targets: Slaton, OT Isaiah Wilson, and OC Cesar Ruiz. At this point, they may only be able to take two of the three, though it isn't safe to assume all three would've ended up in the class anyway.
Other areas of need include WR, TE, OLB, CB, and S. Here's the class as it currently stands:
This is the cover of a 128-page book:
…THAT YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW
It is now in stock in the MGoStore for $15. You can also get it as a PDF download for $5. Or you can get the slightly different (fewer pictures, a bit more words) version on Kindle here for $9, or from iBooks soon. Or you can walk into any Underground Printing store, or Moe's, or Literati (so far) in Ann Arbor and buy a copy off the shelf.
OR YOU COULD BEG MATT FOR ONE
HTTV 2016 is sponsored by my friend Matt Demorest of Homesure Lending, who upgraded everybody who did the Kickstarter to first-class shipping.
Thanks to Brexit, rates hit what will probably be an ALL-TIME low today. Even if you refinanced or bought a home recently you might want to check with him to see if it's worth it to try again. He'll let you know.
Matt also asked for a box of books with his sponsorship, so if you fill out a loan application I bet you could get him to cough up a copy. Follow the link or call him: 734-531-9950.
OR YOU COULD SIT BY THE MAILBOX
If you are a backer and you got your address to us on time, your unsigned books ought to be on their way as of tonight. If you're unsure if you got your address to me, go to the last update I posted on Kickstarter for the backers and see if your name is on the list. (You'll have to be logged in and a Kickstarter backer to see it.) Or check your spam folder for a pile of emails.
I'm taking care of the Kickstarter orders before anything else, but please wait a few weeks before asking where your copy is, since sometimes they don't come as fast for some reason. The very first would have arrived like today or tomorrow.
If you pre-ordered the book, those will be mailing out this week and next. T-shirts and signed books will come later.
OR YOU COULD COME GET ONE FROM BRIAN
Literati is going to throw us a launch party at The Circus Bar on Friday, August 5, at 7pm. We'll have the bar reserved for us before it opens for the regular Friday night traffic. Brian will be giving a presentation to tamp down your expectations for this season, or something.
I have to miss it for a family thing which may or may not mean they don't trust me to talk about this year's team without falling to the floor and giggling.
[What's inside, after THE JUMP]
Edit: Oh, right, it's Tuesday.
Herbert Announcing Tomorrow
Michigan is in prime position to pick up another offensive lineman when four-star FL OT Kai-Leon Herbert announces his decision sometime tomorrow between the Wolverines, Florida, and Miami (YTM). Michigan got his most recent visit and has the last nine picks on his Crystal Ball, including that of 247 scouting director Steve Wiltfong. When previewing his decision for 247's Luke Stampini, Herbert may have tipped his hand in what's been considered a Michigan/Florida battle with Miami on the periphery [emphasis mine]:
“It’s the relationship I have with Coach [Mike] Summers, Coach [Randy] Shannon, and Coach [Jim McElwain] himself,” Herbert said of Florida. “They were my leader for quite some time and they definitely know how to recruit.
Herbert would be an impressive pull from a powerhouse program (American Heritage), and a commitment from him could also help Michigan land five-star OG teammate TJ Slaton, whose recruitment may become a Michigan/Clemson battle.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CBLavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, TE Devin Asiasi, WR Eddie McDoom, WR Nate Johnson.
|Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – 6'2", 185|
|Scout||4*, #134 overall
|Rivals||4*, #129 overall
#26 WR, #20 CA
|ESPN||4*, #179 overall
#22 WR, #20 CA
|24/7||4*, #135 overall
#20 WR, #15 CA
|Other Suitors||UO, USC, ND, OU, Stanford, ASU|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. Army AA. Nee Dylan Crawford.|
Senior (starts at 1:00):
Way back in the long-long ago when Brady Hoke was still around, Michigan fans with an obsessive recruiting bent were hoping that Michigan would land a quartet of California stars: KJ Costello, Theo Howard, David Long, and Dylan Crawford. By the standards of recruiting expectations more than a year out from Signing Day, this actually turned out pretty well: Michigan locked down the latter two. Getting there was pretty hairy, with Long committing to Stanford early and Crawford looking like he'd head to Oregon for a couple weeks after the Ducks finally offered.
But before Crawford could pull the trigger on that Duck offer, though, a guy named Eddie McDoom did. Crawford committed to Michigan shortly afterwards; now Michigan has both. Jedd Fisch probably spent most of February with tented fingers, laughing ominously in his underground compound.
Crawford isn't a whole lot different than Johnson and McDoom. Most evaluations cite an advanced understanding of routes, excellent athleticism without crazy top-end speed, and technical adeptness. The term "polished" is frequently deployed. In October Michigan was apparently selling him on their lack of depth at slot receiver, which both McDoom and Johnson are also candidates to play. All three are also candidates on the outside.
Crawford has a few inches on his compatriots and is the most likely to be a full-time outside guy; all three can move inside or out depending on Michigan's need on any particular down. ESPN:
…very competitive speed and slippery elusiveness… very shifty with wiggle and fluid change-of-direction to use at the top of stems into and out of breaks. … can get on the toes of defenders quickly to eat up cushion … knows how to use his feet, hips and burst to gain separation. …very adept at tracking the deep ball over the shoulder …reasonably wide catch radius …can make people miss, … may not just run by people [in college] like he routinely does at this level. … athletic and precise and has a good feel for the game.
…electric in and out of breaks. …quickness to separate …brings a lot to the table after the catch as an elusive player with good moves. …aggressive mentality as a blocker. He really takes pride in picking up a block… great toughness. … Kenny Stills type
…strong route runner where he cuts extraordinarily well and he does a great job setting up cornerbacks. The four-star is also exceptional at catching low passes by getting his hands under the ball and scooping it. Sometimes, he lets the ball get into his body, but most of the time Crawford rips it out of the air.
…does everything well. …solid frame and is much stronger than he looks. …nice burst, is a polished route runner and has good top end speed. … natural pass catcher and always uses his hands rather than his body to make a play. He's also a smart kid and knows the game.
…very good speed and flashes some extra burst at times that a lot of other players don’t have. … plays really hard. … good hands and shows good body control on sideline catches. I would like to see him be more of a player that attacks the ball at its highest point … very good potential as a route runner and does a good job of selling double moves. Because he’s a better athlete than many of the players covering him, he sometimes will rely on just running by them and not running the crispest routes.
…a good route-runner with outstanding hands… good short-area quickness …isn't a deep burner… his football savvy, vision, and quickness allow him to make big plays anyway.
…does a good job of bursting off the line of scrimmage….can shake defenders in space. … deft route runner who does a good job of using head movement and jab steps to set up defensive backs. … shows the ability to work across the middle of the field without being affected by impending contact. … does not have many obvious weaknesses in his game.
While last bit is a theme repeated by a few different evaluations, there are some negative reports.
A couple of grumbles about his hands seem to be based on a bad camp or day of practice; more complete evaluations are generally positive. There are a more durable concerns. He didn't blow people away at the Army game. This Rivals evaluation from the game is skeptical about Crawford's ability to be a deep threat:
247 moved him out of their top 100 because he "never really asserted himself" in 7-on-7 and in a separate section actually intended to praise him they noted that he was just "going through the motions" on the first two days of practice. Scout also noted he "wasn't active" in the morning of day one, though they said he did well in the afternoon section. Touch The Banner also notes that Crawford wasn't the most productive receiver on his team; 2017 Oklahoma commit Grant Calcaterra, who Michigan took a poke at early in the cycle, beat him out.
Like Johnson, Crawford's combine testing numbers are pretty righteous. He was one of the top performers at the Opening:
Dylan Crawford was one of 10 participants out of the 166 who tested to qualify for NIKE Football Rating Championship. At 6-1.5, 183 pounds, the athlete clocked a 4.45-40, 4.01 in the shuttle, jumped 37” in the vertical and threw the power ball 42’.
Crawford was just out of a walking boot and ran for the first time in a month when he put that on the board. FWIW, 247 had completely different numbers—worse 40, worse shuttle, better vertical and power ball—but either way, dude was one of the most athletic guys at a gathering of the top recruits in the country. He came in second in combine testing at a loaded Opening regional in Los Angeles as well; he'd win the WR MVP award after bringing in "numerous" deep balls that displayed "his ability to stretch the field." How this jibes with the consistent "he's fast but he's not that fast" above is unknown.
That 6'1.5" is also a positive. It's a rare recruit who ends up listed smaller than he actually is by the recruiting sites. Crawford is one of them. He grew a couple inches after he popped up on everyone's radar.
Crawford's ability as a blocker jumps out on tape. There was a brief mention above; it was echoed in more depth by other analysts. Son Of A Coach:
One of the most tenacious run blockers I’ve seen out of a someone considered a blue chip receiver prospect. He gets after it better than a lot of tight end recruits.
Crawford displays some aggression toward defensive backs in the running game, and he can be a very effective blocker on the edge with crack blocks and stalk blocks.
Rivals took in one of his high school games—which is a rare opportunity to focus on guys when they don't get the ball—and came away similarly impressed:
…not only willing to block, but also fiery when it came to the task. He said afterward he realizes receivers have to be well rounded at the next level and he has worked hard at making his presence felt even when the ball isn't in the air.
Our YMRMFSPA has proven that you don't have to be a huge guy to wreck tight ends, and you know that Harbaugh is going to prioritize guys who block with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. This section also mitigates concerns you might have after those indifferent Army game reports that Crawford doesn't get after it. Crawford might not have put a huge priority on a slightly ridiculous All Star game; when he's put in an actual game he seeks to dominate his opposition.
Etc.: Per Jedd Fisch, Crawford will go by his middle name at M. MGoBlue is still a little confused about this. Will wear #1. This scouting report from a guy covering the Army game is too ridiculous to put in the body of the post but also too ridiculous to ignore:
“As spicy as they come at the wide receiver position,” Herron said. “A guy who’s not one of these Calvin Johnson-types, he’s not, 230-40 pounds. He’s just over 6-foot, 180 but plays as though he’s the size of Megatron.”
Why Jehu Chesson? Chesson arrived as a wiry track star in need of a lot of polish who lacked recruiting hype. This isn't particularly close to Crawford, but the receiver Chesson turned into—a 6'3", 200-pound outside receiver and defensive back abattoir with the ability to stretch a ten yard pass into 30—is. Chesson has an inch or two on Crawford; Crawford arrives at Michigan much closer to his eventual ceiling.
Less recent comparables include Marcus Knight and Tai Streets, both lanky outside receivers with solid deep speed and reliable hands.
Guru Reliability: Exacting. Lock-step rankings, Army game appearance, heavily scouted high school. Some wobble in the scouting reports but not much really.
Variance: Low. A polished kid with a good frame and excellent off-field stuff.
Ceiling: High-minus. Doesn't appear to be Braylon but could be a solid #1 WR in college if he works out. I do give the sites' (slight) skepticism in this department credence since they saw him a lot and there seems to be broad agreement on this point.
General Excitement Level: High. Johnson/McDoom part III. Less likely to bust than either of those guys because of his size. Still like McDoom a bit better but it's splitting hairs.
Projection: Probably plays on the outside. Probably does not redshirt since Michigan needs to find two new outside receivers next year and there's enough uncertainty about Ways and Harris—more or less the only options with any experience—to play both Crawford and McDoom. I'd prefer at least one of the three WRs already profiled gets a redshirt, but it's hard to pick out who that might be.
Crawford will have a real shot at starting as early as next year; if his blocking translates to college that'll give him a leg up. At the very least he should be rotation piece. Things might get complicated in 2018 if Michigan does lock down Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, either or both of whom could be the kind of talent who pushes through returning starters after an apprentice year. Crawford's ability to pop into the slot gives him the flexibility to stay on the field; it's likely that one of these slot/outside types does get pushed out of playing time. No idea who.
The first rule of Draftageddon is "you must complain about Draftageddon." The second is "the four people drafting assemble teams of Big Ten players in an effort to seem the best at drafting."
Previously on Draftageddon:
Peppers and Lewis are taken before the one good quarterback and our tight end goes 5th overall.
Chesson, Cole and Wormley go in Round 3, Glasgow ends Round 4.
How things stand:
Seven Michigan players have gone in the first 17 picks. Now it's time to see who's good on the other teams, right?
(Ace's Round 5 pick was part of last week's)
ADAM: Round 5, Pick 2: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Offense: Pat Elflein (C/OG-OSU), Dan Feeney (OG-Indiana)
Defense: Jourdan Lewis (CB-Michigan), Dawuane Smoot (DE-Illinois), Taco Charlton (DE-Michigan)
Yeah, I took Smoot before Charlton, but there's no defensive end in the conference whose upside I'm more excited about than Charlton's. At 6'6 and 287 pounds he's big enough to play strongside end, but his insane athleticism allows him to play just as (if not more) effectively at weakside end.
He'll likely get the majority of his snaps at weakside end this fall, a position he didn't start at until last season's Penn State game. Despite that, Charlton racked up 5.5 sacks and 8.5 TFLs in 2015. He took the opportunity presented against PSU and promptly destroyed Christian Hackenberg, displaying his power on a stunt inside in which he bull-rushed his way through a guard:
And later flashing some of his pass-rush moves when he swam past the left tackle:
PFF says his 41 total pressures ranked sixth among defensive ends; imagine what he can do with a full season at WDE, another year under the tutelage of Greg Mattison, and the added benefit of Don Brown's insane slants and stunts.
[Hit the JUMP]