I think the obvious answer to number 1, and the only one, is Tom Brady.
UM in the NFL
I'll be the devil's advocate and say I disagree. I expected Tom to win all of the super bowls he competed in...
too early to tell what he will accomplish I feel like.
1. Tom Brady.
2. Chris Perry, Anthony Thomas, Tim Biakabutuka, Tyrone Wheatley.
you could have saved yourself some keystrokes on #2 and just said "any Michigan RB"
A) Brady aside, I did not expect Breaston to have this sort of career especially after all the "Stevie no!"s during his M career. His speed is his weapon which usually doesn't suffice but he seems to have found his niche.
2) I was a mega Perry fan as most of you probably were. Thought he was destined for NFL carries especially after his 40+ carry game against MSU ( I think ). I was also a huge Marquise fan but his speed and route running were something his superior catching abilities couldn't make up for.
Has good hands but is really slow and can't separate. Jason Avant on the other hand knows how to separate despite the fact that he isn't real fast
If I wasn't gonna say Brady for #1, I would've said Breaston as well. Very solid career so far for a 5th round pick.
Try 50 plus carries in that memorable game vs. Sparty. Historically for some reasons Michigan rb's don't do good in the NFL.
Michigan's OL does pretty well in the NFL. Carrying the ball 50 times just shows the trend of the OC playcalling, not the players talents. Yes he was tired, and he's a tough guy, but so is Vincent Smith.
I think Michigan creates a lot of great people in their football players, so I definitely like all the players everyone is mentioning, and while Michigan always has great RB's, it rarely had an NFL elite back. Also for quite sometime the NFL has been a pass first to setup the run league, so any running back who can dominate multiple years is exceptionally rare. It's also the position taking the most punishment, since every play multiple people are beating on you.
Although Wheatley didn't end up on a championship team, he did play quite a while. Michigan RB's are never going to do what they did in College. Maybe Hoke can pull in a Barry Sanders, but I don't think that's required for this offense. Borges is an establigh the pass to setup the run guy, so I expect our next Heismen to come from QB or WR.
I thought he would have a trophey or atleast a stadium named after him.
He's called the space emperor for a reason. In about twenty years, when we're all living in orbit, he'll have the entirety of space named after him.
And then, in his accent, he will say, "Space, bitches."
I definitely don't think Brandon Graham belongs on the list. When he was healthy he tore s*** up. I'm sure he'll keep doing that once fully healthy.
Had he stuck around campus a couple of more years he would have been a good one.
Horace Prettyman really flamed out.
Tom Brady (sucessful)
Benni Joppru (complete dud)
I thought I was going to be the only one to say Joppru. That guy was our Grankowski at times.
Joppru battled some injuries in his time in the NFL. He never really had a chance to show what he could do.
Answer to #2: Braylon. He hasn't really put it all together really despite being the 3rd pick. He has had a couple decent years though.
Was anyone else in AA when the university sent out a memo detailing the 'appropriate' abbreviations for the University of Michigan? I loathed that email, yet now when I see someone write UM I can't help but think... no, that's wrong.
U-M made me a snot.
Actually, just a bigger snot.
If the school did that, it's idiotic. Now, a memo on whether to say ohio, tsio or tosu, that would have made sense.
1. Has to be Tom Brady. No real discussion there. As a surprise pick, I'll also say Brian Griese. I couldn't stand him during his U of M years (although he shut me up in the end). Never expected him to make it in the NFL, let alone start for multiple teams. I know it was a far from stellar career, but it's one I never in a million years thought he would have.
2. Terrell is the obvious pick. Outside of him, I'd say A-Train. After his awesome rookie season, I didn't expect him to fizzle out so quickly. I foolishly thought he was going to be the quasi-second coming of The Bus.
Biggest NFL Bust - Bennie Joppru
but come on, nobody has put up a big breasted lady with an NFL shirt on for the biggest NFL bust, yet.??? Guys are slow.
1. Amani Toomer
2. Tim Biakabatuka
Based on some inital comments, here are my responses:
- Brady - seemed too obvious to mention
- Graham - definitely way too early to judge, but bummer that he hasn't had the impact that we expected right away due to injury
- Joppru - certainly flamed out for his draft position, but was on IR for his first three seasons so he never really had a chance.
- Breaston - good one. He was up and down at Michigan and I didn't think he'd latch on as a receiver in the NFL - maybe just a punt returner.
- Henson - he ruined both of his careers by trying to do both, unfortunately. And in both cases he was rushed into playing time that he wasn't ready for. I would have liked to see what would have happened if he stuck with football full time.
- Running Backs - I think there's an interesting trend in that so many of the best RB didn't do much in the NFL. I have a couple of theories behind this: First, I think we assumed they were better than they were since our offense centered around them so much and was built on tons of carries. Second, I think we used them up more in college than some other college backs and they reached their half-life sooner. Perry, Thomas, Wheatley, and Biakabatuka all had some degree of success but it was very short lived and then they were out of the league. Wheatley revitalized his career somewhat by becoming a power back in a part time role, but that's about it as far as longevity. It is hard to even come up with a RB that had any prolonged career - Leroy Hoard?
I think the nature of the position has something to do with it as well. I haven't looked up anything to support this but I'm guessing the failure rate of RB's is really high compared to other positions in the NFL. Running backs are easily replaced and injury prone. Unless you're insane good like Adrian Peterson or LaDainian Tomlinson, the chance of having a successful NFL career is pretty slim, even for great college running backs.
Combine the above with the fact that those backs that flamed out played behind some outstanding lineman. So they probably looked a little better than they really were.
I'm surprised he's showing up on bust-lists here. He had two years as a starter and averaged about 4.5 YPC for those two years. It was a freak (and horrific) injury that put him out of the league--in his case I don't think the half-life argument applies and it certainly isn't the kind of career that the word "bust" summons to mind. Ryan Leaf was a bust. Reggie Brown was not.
He's evidence for your second point though--he was the most successful of the M running backs and he had a short college career, in terms of rushes.
But Hart ran behind Jake Long for 4 years, was pretty undersized and doesn't have any speed. Put up great numbers at Michigan, but I don't know if anyone was expecting him to be great, or even good in the NFL.
1. Gotta go with Brady
2. Was always a little dissapointed Gabe Watson didn't have a bigger impact in the league
He underachieved in college. Hardly surprising that when the competition got tougher, he underachieved even more.
1. David Harris. Even after his breakout senior year, I never expected him to burst onto the NFL scene like he did.
2. Jason Avant. The best hands I ever remember. Never expected him to be a backup
Not usually one to argue with another person's opinion. But Avant as a bust? really?
He was a fourth round pick. He ran a 4.7 or something at the combine. Not too many people expected much out of him and now he is heading into year 7 as a solid number 3 option, with 2,500+ yards 10 TDs for his career.
We must just have 2 different definitions of the word bust.
Yeah. Avant seems like an odd choice here. He's had a long and productive NFL career.
1. A couple surprises- I never thought he could perform in the NFL, but Elvis Grbac had a couple good years in KC, statistically. Todd Collins is another example. He never played much, but he was around a LONG time.
2. A couple disappointments- Glen Steele was an absolute BEAST in 97, but didn't last long in the NFL. Also, Jaime Morris was a big disappointment considering how successful his brother was. Granted Joe played behind Jumbo Elliott and the boys, but still. Still 3rd on Michigan's all time rushing yards list and had 45 carries in one game for the Redskins. I think thats still a record.
1. Steve Breaston (echoing what others have said here)
2. Drew Henson (Still haven't figured that out ... I realize that he was perpetually distracted, but I wonder if the speed of the NFL game was too much for him, intelligence and athletic ability aside.)
- - -
A word on Michigan RBs: This wouldn't apply to Chris Perry, but with the others mentioned here I wonder if Michigan's historically outstanding offensive lines made some of those guys look a little better than they were. UMich was an O-line factory right up to the point where Hutchinson, Backus, Maurice Williams, and that other guy all started in their first NFL year. (After that, it was Jonathan Goodwin, David Baas, and Jake Long, if you restrict to yourself to guys that actually made a roster and played in a game. Hopefully the draught will end soon.)
Surprise- James Hall
Bust- David Terrell
1) Like others, it would have to be Tom Brady. In the seasons where he has been the starting QB in New England, he has not thrown BELOW 60% for completions and has averaged around 3,500 yards total passing per year over 11 seasons. He was a great QB at Michigan, but his performance at the next level, as QBs go, has been phenomenal.
In this category should go the longevity award too - while he didn't have a statistically impressive career, kudos to Todd Collins for fighting for playing time over parts of 15 seasons.
2) It seems like many of the example that come to mind for this question are RBs and WRs, but these are among the high-risk, high-reward picks for teams, but also, I am forced to wonder sometimes if excellent play on the line can make the running game look better than it might actually be.
The classic modern example is probably David Terrell, as others have mentioned - I would have honestly thought he would be one of the most discussed WRs in the last decade coming out of school. An off-the-wall bust might be Trezelle Jenkins, who went in the first round in 1995 and looked to be a great OT - he played in parts of three seasons and vanished with virtually no productive stats, I believe.
I will say that thought Tyrone Wheatley underperformed at the next level - I think "bust" would be way too harsh in his case. I would have expected him to be a far better RB in the NFL than he ended up being overall, though he did have something of a renaissance with the Raiders, as I recall. Going with merely "underperforming", Braylon Edwards hasn't had the career I thought he might either, but he has some good years under his belt with the pontential for many more.
Suprise- Jay Riemersma, Ty Law
Bust- marlin Jackson
Because I thought Marlin Jackson was pretty good before he got hurt.
Surprise: Cato June. He was a solid but not spectacular safety in the mid 90's, but somehow he blew up in the pros and made a pro bowl as a linebacker.
Bust: the usual suspects: Terrell, Perry
1) Mario Manningham... I knew his speed would be an asset in the NFL but considering all the rumors of marijuana use and the low score he received on the Wonderlic exam as well as his draft position, I saw potential bust written all over him. He started off slow but gradually has come into his own and seems to have a bright future.
2) My bust would be David Terrell as well and also Gabe Watson as i figured he would be a man beast in that middle.
I know he had some injury problems, but I was hoping that Marlin Jackson would have been able to stick around the league longer than he did.
Edit: I also thought Alan Branch would've been more successful.
Best: Steve Breaston- not so great senior year and was always light as a feather.
Bust: Braylon Edwards- talks too much off the field and too many drops.
I was always most surprised by Brady (obviously), but also Armani Toomer. Guy played for over a decade and was a pretty good WR for most of that time. As for disappointments, it would have to be Wheatley - he was an amazing athlete who got to the NFL, gained some weight, and nothing more than a battering ram toward the end. Could have been a much better player than he turned out.
More recently, the biggest surprise has been Leon Hall - I thought he was a good corner in college, but to be a Pro Bowler so quickly was surprising. Brandon Graham is also starting to worry me a bit, though with Philly you never know if that is a scheme issue or an ability problem.
1) Jim Harbaugh- I had no idea he would be as successful as a coach in both college and the pros (only one year, but still). I didn't see him play in college, and only remember his nfl days when he was at the end of his career, but I'm happy that he (and his brother) have been such successful coaches.
Tom Brady- At the beginning of his college career, he was a bit over shadowed by Henson and I'm not sure he really overcame that until he left. He was good in college, but he's been better in the pros.
Steve Hutchinson- Yes, he was a late first roun pick, but he's been dominant in the NFL and he's still playing at a high level. He's been the kind of guy teams build around, which is saying a lot as a lineman.
2) Braylon Edwards- Such promise, never lived up to the first round pick level. Too many off-field distractions.
Chad Henne- At least he was better than Brady Quinn.
1. Tom Brady
2. David terrell and Braylon Edwards
I always wondered why Jarrett Irons couldn't make it.
Great suggestions on both points. I'm thinking that UM RB's who are drafted in the League seem to flame out because of the mileage on their rigs. Rob Lytle and Butch Woolfolk were the first guys I remember fitting that profile - they surface for a few good games and break down. A-Train, Big Carry and D. Hart later on. Football Outsiders has some good stuff on this issue, in general.
As a Bears fan I was really thrilled that Chicago drafted both David Terrell and Anthony Thomas with their first two picks in 2000 (I think). I thought Terrell was a can't miss guy and A-Train would be solid. Well, Terrell ended up having a severe case of the dropsies but Thomas did a pretty good job for 2-3 seasons. I think he rushed for 1000 yards either his first or second year in the NFL; he was a pleasant surprise but he got bitten by the injury bug and never fully recovered.
All the good ones have been mentioned. The obvious on either end, Brady and Terrell. But I was going to go offbeat and say Collins (because who'd guess he'd play 16 years in the NFL?), but someone already mentioned him. And most heartbreaking to me is Wheatley, who I still think would have been better in the NFL (he had a fine, average career) but for the fact he was drafted by a GM who had a coach who didn't want him at that pick, and liked big fat backs rather than what T-Wheat's strengths were, and broke his body up till he escaped to Raiders, a shadow of his former self. (James Hall was a nice surprise mention above).
I was sure that Breaston would be a decent special teams player, but I never saw him becoming a 1,000 yard receiver.
I just can't believe how Braylon's career has gone. As a Browns fan I was going absolutely nuts when we drafted him. I have never gone from loving a player so much, to practically despising him.
As someone said above, I thought he'd be a much better pro than he's been...As far as unexpected success, Brian Griese had a better career than I thought he would.
I thought he was going to be a monster.
I'm surprised he took that long to get a mention. He and David Harris were the first UFR All Stars on defense.
Surprise - How about Ryan Mundy? That guy got solid playing time wtih the Steelers, and I don't think anybody really ever game him a legit shot.
Another option - Breaston - dude is a stud in the NFL, and really has stepped up his entire game
Disapointment - Rob Renes. That guy used to forklift people into the backfield and dominate the middle like none other. I remember a game where he bodyslammed the RB and QB during the handoff exchange at one time. He had a back injury... too bad.
Another option - Mike Hart was so amazing in college, I thought for sure he would be a great NFL back.
Biggest disappointed for me (so far) has been Henne. I was a 100% certain that he was completely underrated in the draft and should have been a first round pick.
Still hoping he turns it around, I absolutely loved his career at Michigan, despite the ups and downs.
1. I disagree with those who said Tom Brady. Watching him, you could tell that he had all of the tools to be an NFL QB, and perhaps a very good one. So, I would have to say Breaston - didn;t see the level of success that he has had. honorable mention to Griese.
2. I have three: (1) Braylon - dude has insane NFL skills, a 6-2 frame and the ability to leap tall mountains and high point the ball. How is he not one of the top receivers in the game? (Answer: He keeps shooting him career in the foot with stupidity); (2) Henne - Big time arm, good accuracy, tall big guy - I thought he had all of the tools to succeed, but he looks destined to be a career back-up; (3) All U-M running backs since I started really following (1994): Wheatley, Toughdown Tim, A Train, Perry, and even Hart. Funny thing is that while most had very little NFL hope for Hart, in the few games that he played, he played really well.
Henne didn't surprise me as much - he was a good passer in college, but I never felt like he improved to the point that he could be a good NFL QB. He always seemed flustered with a rush, wasn't great at finding guys in traffic, and just seemed like a backup QB. Braylon I agree with, though.
I thought Hart would last longer in Indy since they were so pass oriented defenses wouldn't pay too much attention to the running game. It was a good spot for him. Most other places he was just too small.
Surprises: Dhani Jones, David Harris, Jonathan Goodwin, Pierre Woods
Underperformers: Tony Pape, Earnest Shazor, Tai Streets
I can't say I'm too surprised about Braylon. It's one thing to suffer from the dropsies in college, another in the NFL. You're paid to catch the damn ball, and if you don't, your career isn't too good.
Many names already mentioned positively and negatively, so I'm going to bring up Desmond Howard as a disappointment, at least as a WR. His third year was his best: 40 rec for 727 yds, 5 TDs, sandwiched between 23-286-0 and 26-276-1. I thought he was going to be better. Of course, he did have a long career due to his return ability, and an MVP performance in Super Bowl XXXI.