Monday, March 19, 2012

For Michigan's Seniors, The Future Is Now

The NFL draft is coming up, but before that happens, there is a lot of work to do for the coaches and GMs. College pro days are in full swing, giving more athletes an opportunity to show their skills whether or not they were invited to the Scouting Combine back in February. Michigan's pro day has come and gone and I'm going to throw some ideas out there about our seniors. Michigan will not have an underclassmen that has declared for the draft, which I think that is more of a testament to the type of program Hoke is building.

First, I'm not a draft expert. Picking the draft correctly is like being perfect on your NCAA Tournament bracket. It's just not going to happen. However, I've tried not to attach myself to player stats. Everyone knows by know that Jerry Rice was criticized at college for being too slow. Are we going to argue about that now? I can tell you where I believe each player would be best suited to go. Then of course, this is all subject to opinion and any views expressed forthwith are just mine.

Mike Martin, DT--Martin was an absolute stud this past season. Martin has always been a talented player on the defensive line. It took Mattison's arrival to show just how special he can be. Some scouts believe his height is a detriment, but with his motor, there's nothing that can prevent him from being an important cog on the D-line. My guess: Vikings. Kevin and Pat Williams no longer anchor their stout line, and the entire defense has holes. I could see him going in the early to mid 3rd round area.

David Molk, C--This is a tricky one for NFL scouts. He repeated his numbers at the pro day from the Combine, but also had his right foot in a cast. Molk communicates wonderfully at the line of scrimmage, rarely gets called for penalties, and knows how to audible. When he came out due to an injury at the Sugar Bowl, the drop-off was considerable. Centers can come at a premium at the NFL level, but with time Molk could easily be a Pro Bowler. My guess: Packers. The Packers just lost their sturdy Pro Bowl center Scott Wells to free agency. I believe Molk would be an asset hiking the ball to Aaron Rodgers, and he should be gone in the late 2nd round.

Junior Hemingway, WR--The NFL is a quarterback driven league. This past season had a bounty of passing records broken. Every team looks for the next big thing, and Hemingway could be it. He surprised scouts at both the Combine and the pro day with his speed. Considering he's always able to run that long post route, or go over the middle, he is an ideal fit for any team. My guess: Broncos. With losing Eddie Royal to free agency, that leaves Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker at receiver. That wouldn't be too bad with Tebow at the helm, but now that Peyton Manning has signed on as starting quarterback, they're going to need at least one more receiver to catch his passes. Middle of 4th round.

Kevin Koger, TE-- Team captain Koger seemed to disappear at times last season, yet he always makes that spectacular catch or block on just the right play. Snubbed by not getting an invite to the combine, that might make him work harder for a roster spot. My guess: Cardinals. Tight ends are becoming the sexy position of the league. Koger could be one of the top 10 TEs taken, but I don't think that'll happen till the 5th or 6th rounds.

Martavious Odoms, WR--Always efficient and elusive. In the NFL, probably better suited as a return man and special teams player. My guess: Chargers. San Diego's special teams suffered last year by losing Darren Sproles to free agency. Odoms could be that guy to step in. I wouldn't go after him til the 6th to 7th rounds however.

Ryan Van Bergen, DL--Alongside Martin, they were a formidable team to try to run against. Some pro teams stockpile players on the D-line, and Van Bergen fits any defensive system. My guess: Browns. Cleveland seems to be perpetually bad on defense, and Van Bergen could end up as a starter. I'm guessing 6th round.

Troy Woolfolk, CB--Woolfolk is a true mystery. Will he be a shutdown corner that we've seen flashes of, or the oft-injured guy we pined for? One thing that might be going for him is his dad, Butch, was drafted by the Giants in 1982. My guess: Buccaneers. The defense is aging for the Bucs, a la Ronde Barber, and Woolfolk could be a stopgap measure to replace him. I'm figuring on 7th round.

Steve Watson, Mark Huyge, Brandon Herron, Kelvin Grady, Tony Anderson, Michael Shaw, J.B. Fitzgerald, Marell Evans, Jared Van Slyke, John McColgan, Zac Johnson, amd Will Heininger are all probably going to be undrafted, or undrafted free-agents.

The 7 listed players above, however, do signal a shift in players drafted out of Michigan. In recent years the numbers have dwindled to 3 or 4. Hopefully our outgoing seniors will show we're still here to contend with, because we're "Michigan for God's sake".

Photo Credit: Miami New Times

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