Michigan's best DL, DB, LB / Upchurch
The point of our "draft-o-snark" this summer was to be cute while previewing the great players in our conference and trying to show where the Michigan Men™ fit among them. Now mid-way through the season we look back on those picks to see how smart your MGoBloggers were, and more importantly who are really the best players in the conference. Offense lives here (and comments are now turned on—oops about that). Googledoc spreadsheet of the draft is here. Part II is here:
Tackles (Bolding my selections for All-B1G)
Who's Winning: The defensive line was weirdly easy to predict. Short and Hankins have indeed been the best two tackles in the conference, and both are still mentioned among first round NFL picks for 2013 (Hankins is considered among the best in the draft). We got a nice comparison between Short and Akeem Spence (caveat: conditions) over the last two games and got to see the difference between the two-gapping Short who needs to be planned around, and the active Spence who doesn't often blow something up alone. Beau Allen has been a problem for Wisconsin, but Heiko's guys have been playing well. Roh's contributions, as mentioned yesterday, have been the kind that don't show up in the stats. He has been Michigan's best lineman.
At rush end, Simon should have better numbers but teams are isolating him or picking on OSU's secondary before he can disrupt much; he's seen as a 3rd or 4th round pick, behind Gholston and Buchanan. Gholston hasn't been the cheap trick Brian made him out to be, as he and Marcus Rush have been about evenly productive for State, however Michael Buchanan has notably passed Gholston in stats and in the eyes of the draft gurus. From here there's kind of a precipice. Ra'shede Hageman, Brian's late sleeper pick, got some press and made some draft boards, but production-wise there were plenty better sleepers left on the board. LT2 is now a tight end; I'm not at all unhappy about this.
Guys we should have drafted: I had Indiana's 3T/5T Adam Replogle higher on my draft chart, then stupidly went for flash with Lawrence Thomas. Stupid stupid 40 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks, Indiana's entire defense stupid. Iowa's defense has been sneaky good since they entered Big Ten play, in large part thanks to the play of DE Joe Gaglione (above), a 5th year senior who had just 7 tackles before 2012; this year he has 35, among them 9 TFLs and 4 sacks. Northwestern's Tyler Scott, a 3T/5T tweener, is making an All Big Ten bid with 6 sacks (28 tackles) plus a winning smile and all the right words to make the conference elders say "what a nice young man." Scott is tied for the sack lead with Nebraska's Eric Martin, who has been somewhat less grandpa-friendly.
DL Standings: 1. (Sigh) Heiko, whom I have to give credit for getting better than expected out of all for guys, 2. Seth, 3. Brian, 4. Northwestern, 5. Indiana, 6. Nebraska, 7. Indiana State, 8. Ace
[LBs, DBs, and special teams after the jump]
|Name||#||Team||School||Tkls (Solo)||% of team||TFL||Sacks||PBU|
|Chris Borland||10||ACE||WIS||60 (32)||12.8%||8||4||5|
|Denicos Allen||13||BRIAN||MSU||42 (13)||10.0%||5||1||2|
|Jonathan Brown||16||SETH||ILL||44 (19)||9.3%||9||3||1|
|Jake Ryan||29||BRIAN||MICH||42 (26)||10.6%||9||3||3|
|Mike Taylor||31||ACE||WIS||72 (37)||15.3%||11||1||3|
|Gerald Hodges||32||SETH||PSU||50 (17)||11.5%||3||0||3|
|Ryan Shazier||46||HEIKO||OSU||65 (38)||13.2%||7||2||8|
|Max Bullough||51||HEIKO||MSU||58 (31)||13.8%||7||0||2|
|Michael Mauti||58||ACE||PSU||57 (32)||13.1%||3||2||2|
|Kenny Demens||59||HEIKO||MICH||32 (21)||8.1%||1||0|
|James Morris||75||HEIKO||IOWA||60 (24)||13.0%||7||2||3|
|Will Compton||80||SETH||NEB||53 (20)||12.2%||6||3||2|
|Chris Norman||83||HEIKO||MSU||31 (16)||7.4%||3||1||2|
|Desmond Morgan||92||BRIAN||MICH||33 (16)||8.3%||5||0|
Who's winning: The Wisconsin duo is at it again with the high rates of tackles and boatloads of TFLs, but Michael Mauti has been personally keeping Penn State in games, so Ace is running away with this. I'm right there with him; a banged up Jonathan Brown has had equivalent production to Ryan. Compton has emerged the end of of Nebraska's funnel, and added big plays to his repertoire. Gerald Hodges is being used at Penn State the same way MSU uses Chris Norman, maybe not so safetyish as a Spur but like a quarter safety and 3/4 linebacker, anyway he's been very good at it.
Then there's Heiko's five guys, and it's here I must admit I was way too hard on him for his "fullback" James Morris. Ryan Shazier's numbers look huge (8 PBU!) until you realize he's the guy causing Ohio State bloggers to GERGtweet:
GERGtweet: 1 (v.) the act of writing statements on Twitter that suggest hope or a silver lining in the face of complete defensive meltdown, for example in the course of giving up 40+ points to Indiana.
2 (n.) such a tweet.
Mmmmm Shaziertweet /has Mouton flashback.
If the goal is to make the best 3-card hand out of those five, I guess Bullough-Demens-Morris meets the minimum standards for "solid," though only Bullough will with any regularity MAKE PLAYS when you get a hat on him. Norman has regressed and was replaced by Taiwan Jones for the second half of Indiana.
And then there's Brian, who has two guys wearing Legends jerseys and one guy who's been wearing offensive linemen. Jake Ryan has been the better of his two SAMs, though (boding ill for Michigan) Denicos Allen, whose backfield numbers have come down from last year, still has a niche as speedy little guy who can hold the edge against running quarterbacks. Des Morgan has again solidified his spot these past two weeks but he spent the early part of the season fending off true freshmen.
Guys we should have drafted: Anthony Anderson Hitchens has been making all the Iowa tackles that Gaglione hasn't. Anderson Hitchens (no hyphen) leads the conference in tackles with 78 (30 solo), however comments from BHGP and Ferentz suggest he's making a lot of mistakes. Northwestern's Damien Proby (right), who has 62 tackles (42 solo!) and Chi Ariguzo (59 tackles, 8 TFL) have both been overshadowing the preseason guy, Nwabuisi—before trusting a Northwestern LB's numbers watch the Syracuse and Penn State games. I'd probably have Illinois's Mason Monheim, a name I felt like I heard Grapentine call often last week, ahead of Des Morgan and Chris Norman this year. From there it's just guys.
LB Standings: 1. Ace, 2. Seth, 3. Heiko, 4. Brian
Safeties ("PDF" is for passes defended):
Who's winning: Stats for defensive backs aren't very helpful. Bradley Roby has been targeted 14 times (cfb stats) and broken up 12, which is really good, except Ohio State's defensive backfield has been a tire fire this year and everybody's throwing on them because of it. On the opposite end, Michigan leads the conference in pass defense (scoring and YPG, MSU and Minny are ahead in YPP) and our safeties are never thrown at. Try this comment on for size: Kovacs/Gordon: best safety combo in the Big Ten. BIG TENNNN!!! Figure that Josh Johnson has been the conference's best CB (again!), Micah Hyde has been Marlin Jackson right down to an out-of-the-blue and completely uncharacteristic drinking incident, and Troy Stoudermire is the gold in the Gophers, and I think I can claim this position group with a lead even Jose Valverde couldn't blow.
The presumptive favorite, Brian, lost Countess in Bama's opening drive. Fortunately for Cook, Countess was just the nickel between two dudes who can each cover a quarter of the Earth. Hawthorne was concussed in the Wisconsin game and sat out last week; he is still expected to go first among B1G corners in the draft, and he's been not the problem with Illinois's defense. Bradley Roby is beloved by his coaches but didn't register an interception until Indiana. He's a future 1st round NFL pick and though tested A LOT, he's been doing okay with it, unlike other guys. Other guys means Christian Bryant (Brian's free safety), who is exactly the kind of idiot I snarked he is. See: MSU's Keith Mumphery's rumblestumble TD. Daimion Stafford was a guy I thought would be good, but he's been just adequate—Jamar Adams-y perhaps.
C.J. Barnett, Heiko's strong safety, is the other OSU safety with oodles of talent and as much culpability for giving up big passing plays. He's young Stevie Brown/Ryan Mundy reincarnate, except OSU has had great safeties for so long they don't know what to do. Heiko had more luck at CB, as Dennard has been better than expected Thorpe candidate Johnny Adams. J.T. Floyd is J.T. Floyd and we love him for it but he's not a top conference corner.
As for Ace's picks, he pointed out that Johnson is the better Boilermaker corner, but Ricardo Allen is more than useful against teams that aren't going to just run all over you with their quarterback. Ahem. Ibraheim Campbell lost his relevance when NW's linebackers took over tackling everything duties, and Supo Sanni has alternated between being an awful safety, and a banged up awful safety.
Guys we should have drafted: We got most of them—helped to have a nickel pick. I'm not ready to say Raymon Taylor yet but he can be our cutoff. The easy one is Marcus Cromartie (right), a guy people weren't sure if he'd get a 5th year, started the season as Wisconsin's nickel back, came in when Devin Smith (NTDS) went down against Oregon State, and refused to relinquish the job. Cromartie was tested and didn't break against Oregon State, and now has 6 PBUs to go with 30 tackles. Smith himself, who was on my draft board if somebody else grabbed Stoudermire, is now back and should certainly make a 12-deep in this conference. From there it drops. OSU's other corner, Travis Howard, is a Family Resource Management major who's got 3 interceptions but as many boneheaded plays. OSU's senior free safety Orhian Johnson is the leader of the highly talented boneheads. Indiana's Greg Heban and Brian Williams are both putting up good numbers, for Indiana.
DB standings: 1. Seth, 2. Brian, 3. Heiko, 4. Ace.
Warmer colors are harder kicks. Light-colored is a miss of that distance. Esc pauses.
Kickers kick. Punters punt. We barely took this seriously 'cause it was the end of the draft and Brian was hollering us on gchat to make our picks. Anyway kickers:
Who's winning: I guess Ace although that's a whole lot of easy kicks. Nebraska uses Maher in mostly NFL-ish situations. Mitch Ewald isn't anything you couldn't get from Gibbons. Urban Meyer doesn't kick, so the guy I thought was the best kicker in the conference has just 7 attempts. I somehow ended up with all the returners.
Guy we should have drafted: That graph above is better the darker it is and the warmer it is. Maher and Conroy are being tested; Iowa's Mike Meyer is getting a ton of easy poots, and making them. Jeff Budzien is better at being Gibbons than Gibbons (he puts it thru the uprights). Mike Sadler of MSU can punt better than our guys apparently.
Northwestern's Venric Mark is averaging 28 yards per punt return on 8 returns thanks to twice carrying it to the house. Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah is getting over 16 yards per on 13 punt returns, and 20 yards per kick return. Dennis Norfleet, because he is going to have us calling him Dennis Bergkamp someday soon.
Special Teams standings: 1. Ace, 2. Seth, 3. Heiko (no KRs), 4. Brian
Mid-season defense/special teams standings:
|Unit (scale)||1. Seth||2. Heiko||3(t). Brian||3(T) Ace|
|DL (x4)||2nd||1st||3rd||4th by a lot|
|ST (x1)||2nd||3rd||4th (i)||1st|