He might have just dropped Bulaga from the first and into the fourth round with that last game. For a guy that has been moved around on defense, he is simply awesome. I like the improvement I am seeing with our D-line, but just don't know who can step in to fill that spot to maintain that level of play next year. I can't see anyone being that dominating.
Altho a lot of people won't agree with me cause I'm a youngin and didn't have a chance to see other Michigan DE's, I think that Brandon Graham could leave Michigan as at least a top 3 DE ever to play in Maize and Blue. Replacing a player of his caliber isn't going to be easy :(
Life post-Graham will be the same as life post-every other defensive stud we've ever had. In other words, it goes on. We have this kid named Will Campbell, I dunno if you've heard of him, but rumor has it he's pretty OK.
I guess I keep missing him when I see Heininger and Patterson playing backup instead.
Clearly the fact that Campbell isn't on the field this year is a definitive indicator that he won't be next year, either.
I just gave you the depth chart behind BG. Will plays behind Martin for the time being. I firmly believe Will can be a great player in his own right, just not dominate the End spot.
Anthony LaLota was recruited for this. Who knows if he'll be ready but his ceiling was supposed to be as high as Roh's.
Let's just hope Big Will gets good enough where we can move Martin out to a DE.
On a related note: JESUS CRIST, IT'S MIKE MARTIN, GET IN THE CAR!
Martin to DE??? No. He's 290 lbs and he's the only guy in the middle who can stuff a run with any kind of regularity. No. Just no. If big Will develops into a dominant nose and ends up starting next year, then slide Martin into RVB's 3-tech DT spot and slide RVB out to DE. That's his (RVB's) true position and I hope another DT (Campbell, Sagesse, maybe Banks?) emerges so RVB replaces Graham next year. Then I could stop listening to every ESPN analyst talking about how undersized our DLine is
Ok, so my terminology is wrong here. When looking at the 3-4, I see the DL as one NT and two DE (strongside and weakside). A bigger guy being the SDE (MM in this case) and a faster guy being the WDE (BG).
Size wise it goes: NT > SDE > WDE
Speed wise it goes: WDE > SDE > NT
Just for clarification on what I meant...
formatting looks bad
It's almost impossible to think you are going to replace a 1st round NFL caliber talent with another of the same talent.
However, we will have Ryan Van Burgen, Mike Martin, and Craig Roh all returning with another year of experience. Plus Roh will have a year of college level Barwis strength training.
The replacement won't be as good as Graham, but between the combination of the other three we're in good shape.
Let's not forget Death Roh and LaLota. Michigan usually manages to have a pass-rushing terror year in and year out.
I also hope Warren doesn't leave for the draft, but the chances of that might be slim. If Warren stays, and somehow the LBs' and the secondary's play improves, then I think we might be able to handle the impact the loss of Graham will have on the D as a whole.
If the NFL goes, as expected, to a rookie salary cap for 2011 Warren will, sadly, be gone and we're left with a bunch of non-shut down CBs. The only way I can see him sticking around is if the media just gives UM no love at all and his draft status is crap (which, at this point, I just can't believe). I think it's best we just enjoy the plays he's giving us.
Since Warren is most likely gone next year, I really hope Woolfolk can continue to develop on the way he played against Iowa. I think he clearly cemented himself as a good #2 corner with potential lockdown ability. (Was anyone else wowed by his PBU when he fought the ball out of McNutt's hands the whole way to the ground?) I also think Woolfolk had something to do with Stanzi throwing more at Warren than any other QB to date. I guess I'll wait for Brian's UFR, but I thought Woolfolk played a hell of a game at corner
I think Graham is close to a once-in-a-lifetime talent. This is especially true at a place where, prior to the arrival of Gabe Watson, the D-line often seemed to be an afterthought. For many years it was the home of 4th-string offensive linemen and overweight linebackers with stubby little arms.
Sure, there were exceptions like Mark Messner (add Pryce and Bowens before they were run out of town), but those positions produced way fewer future pros than all of the others. I never understood why.
That Brandon Graham is, to me, a top-3 defensive end of the last 20 years at U of M for sure. He's doing this without a lot of help, either. You put him on that 2006 team, or the 1997 team, or other great Michigan defenses where they can't double team him and gameplan for him, and I think he'd have absurd numbers.
is one of the most passionate players we have ever had the luxury having wear the Maize and Blue. I can't think of too many more guys on the defensive side of the ball that deserve the kind of respect he does. All the players look up to him, as evidenced by MM and RVB apologizing to him after this past game. He will go down as one of the greats, BG is the man!
Graham is better than Warren, but right now we need Warren to stay really badly. If he leaves next year, the secondary will be pretty awful.
While it will be upsetting to lose such a great pass rusher/ run stopper / leader in brandon graham, it does seem like michigan always manages to find a new stud on the defensive line. Mike Martin has already shown that he is capable of being a formidable force on the D-line. I am very excited to see what Death Roh can do as he matures in the defense and gets bigger/faster. i also look forward to seeing Lalota on the field, as I have heard that he has a ton of raw talent.
While we may not have someone as dominant as Graham on the line next couple years, you expect the other 3 starters to improve to a point where they can collectively (along with the new starter) at least mitigate the loss. The other 3 guys will continue to improve, hopefully making large strides.
In terms of once-in-a lifetime talent, um I dunno...can you even claim if he was better than Woodley? Clearly one of the best DEs in recent memory, but as M continues to improve we will get the blue-chippers again and at that point there will be another to join the ranks of the all time M elite DEs
I think Woodley was a stud for U of M- don't get me wrong. But as a college DE, I think B. Graham is a whisker better this year. Especially because LaMarr had more around him his final year, which made it hard to concentrate on him like teams can do for BG.
Graham was a 5 star coming in and has really played like it. He is an exceptional talent and will be difficult to replace. However the team will be deeper next year up front, which should help things.
He'll be very tough to replace, although I do think our overall DL depth will be better next year, as Martin, Van Bergen, Roh, Campbell and Sagesse all return, along with the current redshirts.
The Michigan DL has always been full of talent. I'm willing to bet next year someone will step up. The important thing is to keep getting the depth behind them experience and sooner or later the best will emerge. I personally think VanBergen and Martin will be equally talked about the next couple of seasons. Especially Martin, he's going to be very good.
NT, DT, DE and the deathbacker. This is our 4-3 under that is our base set adjusted to strength and defensive calls based on formation.
I think next year we might see Martin move to DT and Campbell move to NT and slide RVB out to DE. This all depends on how well Campbell develops because last game he go single drive blocked down the field 5 yards.
the 3-4/4-3 terminology really depends on whether you view the deathbacker as a lineman (4-3) or a linebacker (3-4). Having MM and WC on the line at the same time means teams must double-team them both, leaving plenty of room for RVB, Roh or another blitzer to get pressure.
I'm not sure what everyone sees in Martin that makes them think he's so awesome. I like the kid, but I think Brian's theory about him maxing out early because of his superb weightlifting regimen holds some water. Martin made a nice play on Stanzi this game, catching him from behind when Stanzi tried to scramble.
However, with Brandon Graham commanding double teams, that should have opened up opportunities for Martin to make plays. So far he hasn't made many. He hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been a stud, either. I don't think we can expect Martin to be the next star on the defensive line.
To maximize our talents, I think it might be a good idea to move Roh to DE next year. I think he's tailor-made for the Quick position, but I think Van Bergen is an effort guy instead of a talent guy. I might prefer to see Roh and Herron rushing from the edges rather than Van Bergen and Roh.
It's a tough call. These guys all bring something to the table, but there are only so many spots...