2017 defense concerns.....(youth)

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on April 19th, 2016 at 9:17 PM

I was just thinking about this today.

Take a look at some of the starters and players that will see significant time in 2016 on defense. We are guaranteed to lose 9 of 10 of these guys after the 2016 season. 

Defensive Line
Taco Charlton DE
Ryan Glasgow DT
Chris Wormley DL
Ben Gedeon LB
Defensive Backfield
Jeremy Clark DB
Delano Hill S
Jourdan Lewis CB
Jabrill Peppers (draft eligible after 2016) DB
Channing Stribling CB
Dymonte Thomas S

The defensive backfield is especially horrifying. I can't remember such an attrition at one spot excluding Never Forget. 

Which young guys will play this year? The DL isn't completely scary as we'll have Hurst and Mone in terms of guys that have experience. 

I think David Long is gonna see time this year. 



April 19th, 2016 at 9:21 PM ^

If the d line returns the third best player on the team, Mo Hurst and rashan Gary I think they should be just fine there. The secondary will be younger but arguably more talented and athletic

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April 19th, 2016 at 9:30 PM ^

More talented and athletic than peppers, Dymonte, Lewis, and Clark?

Peppers and Lewis need no explanation, but Dymonte was considered a stud similar to peppers coming out of high school. He wasn't as highly regarded, but was still a do it all specimen. Clarks measurables are nuts for a corner.

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April 20th, 2016 at 3:11 PM ^

Was not viewed the same as Peppers coming out of H.S., not even close. Hell he only ended up at UM cause OSU slow played him because there was several better options. They ended up with Vonn Bell instead which is why he is at UM. He has turned out to be a stud, but he is no Peppers, not now, and not when he was in HS.


April 20th, 2016 at 6:21 AM ^

Weird question.

Lewis is the best CB in the country at the college level in large part because he's such a technician he can make up for his height difference against larger receivers -- but as a result he has a lopsided PBU:INT.  IIRC he projects to be a mid-round pick because NFL teams are skeptical he can maintain that performance at the next level.

But it's a weird question because if Peppers blows up next season he may be gone too, and it's hard to be more athletic than Peppers.


April 20th, 2016 at 7:51 AM ^

Really don't understand your question plus many site members probably make a living off teaching dbs. Sounds to me like you're saying he's recognized as best but questions remain by those filling NFL rosters because they are not sure if he's hit his ceiling?  Or possibly, because you suggested a likelihood that production would decrease? I am sorry, but I don't quite follow. Hell one of the db coaches on the site will probably understand immediately and shoot you out an answer.

As to Peppers, I think he was basically considered a three and done from the time he graduated h.s. I still do and that is weird, I know, for someone who has not really defined greatness at one position, yet still has proven he could very well be the team's MVP because he understands the game, with minimun instruction will tackle a new position on a weekly basis and acquit himself nicely, normally. He came into college much like Woodson, a very highly rated RB, but CW from day one left no doubt as to coverage skills. He was one of the best at his position, one of difficulty from his freshman year and just kept improving.

Jabrill, and he has been asked to  do a lot has been exposed a few times. He's also proven to be a one man screen stopper, a return specialist who proved great at limiting the amount of yards our offense had to cover, a unit he was a part of for more than a few plays. I am probably  one of the bigger homers - without apologizies you will ever exchange info with - but I think it's safe to assume fans of our opposition would not argue he's one of the best football players they've ever seen. He arrived here a man, already possessing an NFL body, and the  speed and power to go with it. His abilility to smell out plays from the defensive side and halt them at the l.o.s., usually causing two would be blockers, minimum, to whiff. He does shit others can't do.

I have no idea if NFL experts have projected a spot for him or not. I do know, with admitted ignorance of what the NFL people think - except for coming in with needs and trying to find the best prospect to stop them, in the order they've prioritized - that Peppers was probably considered a take from the  time he was a h.s senior. In an ideal world, their questions would have been answered, but things get in the way. Things like a new coach deciding, 'Hell, he's too valuable to the team to lock him down to a position. That will work itself out." All you really have to consider is Desmond going into the league, having half his game exposed as not there, yet was still Super Bowl MVP because of an uncanny knack for catching a ball, and like an NBA point guard decide on the quickest way to move it down to the other end. Don't overlook that. That's a rare skill obviously.

And this is one thing I love about Harbaugh. Peppers showed his ability earlier in that aspect of the game, or maybe it was Baxter. But I thought the respect they showed for Jehu and Lewis and the gratitude for what they did during the  season, give those at the next level even more info to ponder by allowing them to show their worth in the return game.

Like I said,  Jabrill is freaky. I can't imagine him coming back. Despite, as stated, not proving among the best at any given position, demonstrated so much potential, based on so little prep time, that he's impossible to ignore. It's possible, given his new position, he'll make a statement, but then again how many do at 205 playing that close to the los? Another challenge. Let's grade him as the season moves on.

I loved him about six yards back where he was allowed a few yards to set up the moves that would get him where he wanted to be. But no way in hell am I going to argue against anything this staff comes up with. I don't think that's a result of the 7 years before Harbaugh and then relief at having some coaches on the field who know what they're doing. I think its more the respect I have for a proven great and his accomplishments wherever he's been.  In this case, and it's so not like me, I give up my right to double guess the coaching staff until there's an absolute need to.


April 20th, 2016 at 8:06 AM ^

That's a very roundabout way of saying that Jabrill is excellent and extremely versatile, which is something we all know. He has said flat out, however, that he's not leaving without his degree. Now obviously he isn't tied to that and hasn't been shown the NFL money yet, and players definitely have graduated in three years in the past, but I don't think there's no chance he sticks around for one more.

Just recently we've had Lewan, Butt, and Lewis all stay when plenty of people thought they were going to leave. Lewis is someone Peppers looks up to (he's said as much in interviews multiple times) and also stressed the importance of getting his degree in his decision to stay. It wouldn't shock me at all to see Jabrill do the same thing.


April 20th, 2016 at 9:59 AM ^

Sorry, I realized my subject header was the same as what most here use when asking a question.

I wasn't asking a question.  I was saying Albatross' question was weird because Peppers is by far the most athletic DB* we have, not Lewis.

*Brown's "SLB" is a hybrid that plays man coverage so just don't yo


April 20th, 2016 at 3:45 PM ^

Just curious where did you get that? Mel Kiper just said that Lewis projects to be the second best CB behind Adoree Jackson in next years draft which is a first round grade. 


April 19th, 2016 at 11:37 PM ^

Starters... yes.  But after that we are looking at Pallante, RS frosh Dwumfour and any true freshmen we sign this year.  I really like Dwumfour but he seems like the developmental type that comes on in his 3rd or 4th year.  That is very thin depth for a position that is often talked about how important is it so have a strong second string.

FYI I'm not counting WDE in this conversation where we seem to have quite a few young talents.

Mr Miggle

April 20th, 2016 at 1:34 PM ^

I don't see Ron Johnson on offense. He should be at anchor. They already moved Kemp and Jones back to DE after tryouts at LB. It's unusual to move DL to LB and we'll no longer be low on numbers at LB when the freshmen arrive. 

It's not unusual to move LBs to DE, WDEs to SDE or DEs to DT. I fully expect to see some of that as players bulk up.


April 20th, 2016 at 1:43 PM ^

one of the comments on Johnson from the Semper fi game (or whatever all star game he was at) was that he was undersized. I don't like the chances of an undersized WDE bulking up to 280+. and even if someone does bulk up, are they going to be able to do it by 2017? Clark was a freak and was able to put the weight on but it took even him a couple years. I've said it before but I think Kemp is the best bet to bulk up.


April 19th, 2016 at 9:22 PM ^

Don Brown always has really good second seasons and beyond, so I am not too concerend about that. I am a tiny bit concerend for this year because Don Brown's first season at a school is usually worse then the team's defense the year before. I also wonder how quickly our defense will learn his system.


April 20th, 2016 at 9:57 AM ^

Sometimes, mitigation becomes your life.  I'm not necessarily down on Doc Brown -- he's damn good at what he does -- but "Brown + UM talent = upgrade over '15 D" is flawed logic.  We don't know Brown's ceiling because he has not worked with this much talent.

It's likely the '16 defense will be scary good.  It is.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Brown does.  But I'm not ready to declare that as a guarantee based on a flawed premise.

Pepto Bismol

April 20th, 2016 at 11:08 AM ^

Chicken22 didn't say they'd be bad in 2016.  He said Brown's first season is often worse than the year before he arrived.  Brian posted a mailbag 5 days ago that pretty much supports that possibility.

Not bad, but possibly worse.  As in worse than the 2015 top-5 defensive ranking.  They could still be a top-10 defense in 2016 and Chicken22 would be correct.

Also in Brian's post are numbers supporting that in year two under Brown, his defense takes a major step forward. 

For Chicken22 to say that he predicts a step back in 2016 and have a better 2017 (Brown's system settling in to offset talent loss) is to interpret historical numbers in black and white.  I have no idea how the guy got 8 negs out of this.

This has nothing to do with Michigan's talent level.  There's a very clear pattern established of Don Brown's defense taking a year to adjust before taking off.






April 20th, 2016 at 12:30 AM ^

This year the defense should absolutely be one of the best in the country, and there will be a lot of talent next year, but I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that the defense next year will be worse. Not like the bottom is going to fall out, but I can't imagine the defense not taking a step back.


April 20th, 2016 at 9:32 AM ^

I agree, i think it is unrealistic to not expect the defense to at least take a step back in 2017 when considering what they will lose. Like you said though, I still expect it to be a really good defense. I do think that the offense will probably be starting to take off in '17, which should help balance out the young defense.


April 20th, 2016 at 5:55 AM ^

Wasn't there a mail bag or something recently in which Brian looks at the defensive stats for Brown's various stops and showed that teams always demonstrated immediate improvement? Basically, any learning curve is so minor that teams were picking up his system over the off season.

He also pointed out that we can't expect too big of a jump because M's D was already #2 in the country according to most stats, trailing only Brown's own #1 D at BC. But he was addressing this exact idea - that this loaded, experienced roster would somehow not be as effective as it could be, because they're "learning a new defense," and how that wasn't likely to be an issue.


April 20th, 2016 at 9:00 AM ^

their shutouts from last year, then I will be really dissapointed.

Despite the sarcasm there, it really isn't impossible though. I only expect the defense to get better or maintain from what they did last year, and will play an easier schedule. Should be pretty fun to see. In 3 games last year, they only gave up 1 touchdown, and then there were the 3 shutouts on top of that. I'm more hoping to see the improvement over the OSU and Indiana games where they gave up over 40 (indiana with 2 OTs). 


April 20th, 2016 at 10:24 AM ^

Remember UM had 3 straight shutouts against BYU, Maryland, & NW.  I think many of us were surprised by that.  But, Oregon & UNLV also only scored 7 pts each in the two games prior.  So, last year's team could have easily shut out 5 opponents.  Looking at this year, Hawaii, UCF, Colorado, Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, all look like potential shutouts.  But, IMO the number of shutouts is a bit arbitrary to me.


I'm more concerned about slowing down Indiana & OSU particularly.  I don't think we'll have much trouble slowing down Iowa, PSU, MSU, Wiscy, etc.  Even though those are quality teams they run a pro style offense which didn't give us much trouble last year. 


April 19th, 2016 at 10:00 PM ^

But I agree we need to enjoy this season right now. We will learn so much more about 2017 after watching player development this season and seeing the next class of recruits.

We will need some young prospects to step up. Take a look at Long, Hill, Kinnel, Hudson, Bredeson, Onwenhu, Mbosse, and Bush to name several. All could be in the two deep this year.

We have some very talented guys with a great opportunity for playing time. Everyone is going to be hungry.


April 19th, 2016 at 9:30 PM ^

Hurst, Gary, Mone should provide a good DL foundation. I expect 2-3 solid Lb contributors from 2016 will remain, so we should be ok there as well. We will likely lose almost everyone in our secondary, but I expect a few guys to step up in 2016, at least in spot duty (kinnel, long, Hudson, etc). It'll be a bit rough, but we will also have a lot of guys who are highly skilled

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