Yesterday, Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson wrote a little throwaway column
about players whose respective draft stocks have been going down.
Donovan Warren made No. 5, but there was a 'but' (emphasis mine):
"On the bright side, a lot of NFL coaches love players from Michigan, and many know that the school has historically produced guys who play better on a football field than they do whipping out raw workout numbers. Warren might get that break, but he still looks like a fourth-rounder."
This "analysis" should be repeated in earshot of every football recruit ever.
There's some truth to it, of course. There's a well-established line of players (Tom Brady, Cato June, Aaron Shea, Steve Breaston) who were drafted low but have performed well above their workouts said they would. Of course, these are all alumni of the Lloyd regime, which "workouts" might be the key word right there.
Also keep in mind that a lot of schools can claim a bunch of guys who were low draft picks and became big contributors on an NFL team, because it's sampling bias: the ones who didn't outperform their expectations are not in the NFL. But there is a pretty consistent, and thus remarkable, trend for Michigan players entering the NFL to meet or outperform their draft expectations (unless they're drafted by the Lions, which is a different problem).
I think the "Lloyd let them get out of shape before the draft, but they got in shape in the NFL" thing falls apart in the micro. Look over this list of former Wolverines in the NFL (did I forget anyone?), and ask yourself which, if any, of these guys were out of shape during their Michigan playing days, which hurt their draft stock, but then they blew up when they got in shape:
|Jamar Adams||Seattle Seahawks||Safety|
|Adrian Arrington||New Orleans Saints||Wide Receiver|
|B.J. Askew||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Fullback|
|Jason Avant||Philadelphia Eagles||Wide Receiver|
|David Baas||San Francisco 49ers||Guard|
|Jeff Backus||Detroit Lions||Offensive Tackle|
|Tom Brady||New England Patriots||Quarterback|
|Alan Branch||Arizona Cardinals||Defensive Tackle|
|Steve Breaston||Arizona Cardinals||Wide Receiver|
|Prescott Burgess||Baltimore Ravens||Linebacker|
|Carson Butler||New York Giants||Tight End|
|Shawn Crable||New England Patriots||Linebacker|
|Doug Dutch||Washington Redskins||Cornerback|
|Braylon Edwards||New York Jets||Wide Receiver|
|Jay Feely||New York Jets||Place kicker|
|Larry Foote||Pittsburgh Steelers||Linebacker|
|Jonathan Goodwin||New Orleans Saints||Center|
|James Hall||St. Louis Rams||Defensive End|
|Leon Hall||Cincinnati Bengals||Cornerback|
|David Harris||New York Jets||Linebacker|
|Mike Hart||Indianapolis Colts||Running Back|
|Chad Henne||Miami Dolphins||Quarterback|
|Steve Hutchinson||Minnesota Vikings||Guard|
|Marlin Jackson||Philadelphia Eagles||Cornerback|
|Tim Jamison||Houston Texans||Defensive End|
|Jon Jansen||Detroit Lions||Offensive Tackle|
|Dhani Jones||Cincinnati Bengals||Linebacker|
|Cato June||Free Agent||Linebacker|
|Ty Law||Denver Broncos||Cornerback|
|Jake Long||Miami Dolphins||Offensive Tackle|
|Roy Manning||Free Agent||Linebacker|
|Mario Manningham||New York Giants||Wide Receiver|
|Rueben Riley||New York Giants||Offensive Lineman|
|Adam Stenavich||Houston Texans||Guard|
|Terrance Taylor||Detroit Lions||Defensive Tackle|
|Morgan Trent||Cincinnati Bengals||Cornerback|
|Gabe Watson||Arizona Cardinals||Defensive Tackle|
|LaMarr Woodley||Pittsburgh Steelers||Linebacker|
|Pierre Woods||New England Patriots||Linebacker|
|Charles Woodson||Green Bay Packers||Cornerback|
I leave the analysis to you, good readers (if I did it myself, I woulda made it a diary).
Either way, let's say this again because Yahoo's draft beat writer said it so it must be true:
"A lot of NFL coaches love players from Michigan, and many know that the school has historically produced guys who play better on a football field than they do whipping out raw workout numbers."