Hokepoints at the Midpoint: Which Defenders are the Most Big Ten(NNN!)

Submitted by Seth on October 16th, 2012 at 9:06 AM

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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:

Defensive Line:

104881722_display_imageJohnathanHankinsKawann-ShortJohnSimon

Tackles (Bolding my selections for All-B1G)

Name # Team School Pos Tackles TFL Sacks
Kawann Short 8 SETH PUR 3T 20 9 4
Johnathan Hankins 9 SETH OSU NT 33 4 1
Jordan Hill 27 HEIKO PSU NT 28 3 2
Akeem Spence 28 BRIAN ILL 3T 32 4 1
Beau Allen 52 BRIAN WIS NT 14 4 2
Baker Steinkuhler 54 HEIKO NEB 3T 23 5 2
William Campbell 63 ACE MICH NT 18 1 1
Ondre Pipkins 66 ACE MICH NT 4 - -

Ends:

Name # Team School Pos Tackles TFL Sacks Hurries
John Simon 4 BRIAN OSU WDE 26 9 3 -
Michael Buchanan 14 HEIKO ILL WDE 28 7 3 4
William Gholston 18 ACE MSU WDE 28 5 1 5
Marcus Rush 24 SETH MSU 5T 23 6 1 3
Craig Roh 43 HEIKO MICH 5T 19 4 3 1
Cameron Meredith 55 ACE NEB 5T 21 3 2 -
Ra'shede Hageman 77 BRIAN MIN 5T 17 4 3 -
Lawrence Thomas 81 SETH MSU WDE 2 - - -

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.Gagme

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]

Linebackers:

Mike Taylor Wisconsin v Ohio State VnWDmGyNkT3xmichael-mauti-fc54ba99ac3a12ec8084217323_3b4b4e3798_b

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:

tweetn

tweetn1

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 62036861but 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

Secondary:

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Safeties ("PDF" is for passes defended):

Name # Team School Tackles PDF PBU INTs
Jordan Kovacs 33 SETH MICH 33 - - -
Isaiah Lewis 35 HEIKO MSU 40 4 3 1
C.J. Barnett 38 HEIKO OSU 23 5 5 -
Ibraheim Campbell 39 ACE NW 50 5 5 -
Daimion Stafford 69 BRIAN NEB 39 4 4 -
Thomas Gordon 72 SETH MICH 34 - - 2
Supo Sanni 79 ACE ILL 11 2 1 -
Christian Bryant 93 BRIAN OSU 43 6 5 1

Cornerbacks:

Name # Team School Tackles PDF PBU INTs
Terry Hawthorne 21 BRIAN ILL 23 5 5 -
Johnny Adams 23 ACE MSU 23 6 5 1
Micah Hyde 25 SETH IOWA 40 6 6 -
Ricardo Allen 34 ACE PUR 20 3 1 1
Bradley Roby 53 BRIAN OSU 33 14 12 2
J.T. Floyd 62 HEIKO MICH 22 2 2 -
Blake Countess 68 BRIAN MICH - - - -
Josh Johnson 73 SETH PUR 21 9 7 2
Darqueze Dennard 78 HEIKO MSU 29 5 5 -
Courtney Avery 90 ACE MICH 10 - - -
Troy Stoudermire 96 SETH MIN 36 1 1 -

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 974382relevance 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.

Special Teams:

kickedrs

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:

Name # Team School 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ Long
Brett Maher 30 HEIKO NEB 0-0 2-2 1-2 4-6 1-3 54
Drew Basil 89 SETH OSU 0-0 2-2 1-2 0-0 0-0 35
Dan Conroy 95 ACE MSU 0-0 5-5 3-5 3-6 3-3 50
Mitch Ewald 100 BRIAN IND 2-2 1-2 2-2 2-4 0-0 46

Punters:

Name # Team School Punts Yds Avg.
Brett Maher 30 HEIKO NEB 19 794 41.8
Cody Webster 98 ACE PUR 28 1212 43.3
Ben Buchanan 104 SETH OSU 34 1438 42.3

8084213122_81e573ebd3_bBrian didn't draft a punter.

Punt returners:

Name # TEAM School PRs Yds Avg TDs
Jared Abbrederis 20 BRIAN WIS 7 55 7.9 0
Micah Hyde 25 SETH IOWA 8 70 8.8 0
Le'Veon Bell 37 BRIAN MSU 3 18 6.0 0
Jeremy Gallon 65 SETH MICH 4 18 4.5 0
Josh Johnson 73 SETH PUR 5 27 5.4 0

Kick returners:

Name # Team School KO Ret Yds Avg TDs
Keenan Davis 26 ACE IOWA 5 93 18.6 -
Kenny Bell 57 SETH NEB 6 178 29.7 -
Troy Stoudermire 96 SETH MINN 7 131 18.7 -
Dennis Norfleet - - MICH 20 473 23.7 -

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
LB (x3) 2nd 3rd 4th 1st
DB (x4) 1st 3rd 2nd 4th
ST (x1) 2nd 3rd 4th (i) 1st
Avg. 1.7 2.3 3.0 3.0

Comments

PurpleStuff

October 16th, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

We offered Hankins.  We just didn't offer him early at a time when peole assumed he would come if offered (before he had any other significant offers).  He visited officially here, at OSU, and at Florida in consecutive weeks.  He chose OSU. 

As we just saw the other day, offering an in-state guy early (and even getting a commitment from that guy) doesn't mean shit at the end of the day and certainly doesn't guarantee the guy is coming to Michigan.  It would be great to have Hankins, but the blame-game essentially amounts to bitching that a guy chose another school.

M-Wolverine

October 16th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

It's just like the Ohio State guy in the other thread lamenting that Jack Ryan is playing for Michigan. Except the difference is that a lot of Ohio guys historical come up to Michigan, and very few impact players go from Michigan to Ohio (it happens; and mainly doesn't happen because of the amount of talent...Ohio can't keep all of theirs, and it's easier to reign in ours, or they end up at MSU).

And as ThWard said one of the worries was his conditioning; and with Barwis, you'd think you could whip him into shape. But as Purplestuff points out, it brings into question attitude too. Took a chance; it didn't work out. It happens. That's recruiting. But man, we're doing some nice things on D. Add him and it looks even better.  And it's not like he was one of those that never had ANY interest.

Of course, if he goes to LSU or something, we only rarely ever think of him again, no matter how good he is.

Indiana Blue

October 16th, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

Will Hagerup is now averaging 48.7 yards per punt.  First in the B1G and is 4.8 yards more than 2nd slot (Sadler of msu).  It is true that Wile takes the "pooch" punts that does impact the overall average - but thus far Hagerup has been ... money!    FYI - Maher's average is 41.8 ypp.

Go Blue!

dragonchild

October 16th, 2012 at 10:16 AM ^

Football is ever a formation team game and college has way more disparity than the NFL, so defensive stats are a dangerous thing.  Offense is more straightforward in that you always first try to play to your strengths, but defenses will always see themselves picked apart for weak links.  Granted the best players will find ways to get onto the box score anyway, but (for example) Kovacs has been rather quiet when the front seven don't give him a whole lot to do.  This is despite being every bit as good, and most likely far better, than his much busier days back in 2010.  On the flip side, if we had a glaring weakness in the secondary that guy could lead the team in passes defended but only because he's being thrown at 20 times a game.

What's that old joke?  The surest sign your team is bad is that your punter made the Pro Bowl.  (Yes yes I know it's not really true, but you get the idea.)

ThWard

October 16th, 2012 at 11:00 AM ^

Hankins was from a UM-unfriendly school (I believe Archie Collins was his coach, guy that channeled people to MSU before he himself went to EL). Anyway, Hank was a big UM fan, but looked out of shape and unprepared at UM's camp (so said insiders). Didn't get an offer.

 

Late in recruiting season, an offer came through, but it was too late to pull him from OSU.

 

So it's a big miss from a Detroit school and a UM-friendly kid at an MSU-friendly school, to boot.