Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Devin Funchess declared for the NFL Draft

This was Devin Funchess's one impressive game in 2014
Michigan tight end/wide receiver Devin Funchess declared for the NFL Draft on Tuesday afternoon. Coincidentally, this morning I left him out of a projected 2015 depth chart (LINK) because I figured he would be out of the picture. The 6'5", 230 lb. true junior led the Wolverines this season with 62 catches for 733 yards and 4 touchdowns playing wide receiver full-time. He was voted Second Team All-Big Ten this year by conference coaches.

As a sophomore in 2013, he split time between tight end and wide receiver, ending the year with 47 catches for 727 yards and 6 touchdowns. He thought that was good enough to warrant asking for the #1 jersey, which is kinda sorta given to players who will honor the jersey with their leadership and play on the field; Brady Hoke agreed to give it to him prior to the 2014 season.

Aside from an outstanding performance in the 2014 season opener against Appalachian State (3 touchdown receptions), Funchess was mostly a disappointment. His production slipped because of a mediocre offensive line and a struggling quarterback, but also because Funchess looked like he was going about 75% for most of the season. After spraining an ankle against Notre Dame in week two, he missed the next game against Miami. I've suspected for a while that he didn't want to go 100% because he was saving himself for the draft, and that's exactly what appears to have occurred. Funchess had numerous dropped passes, would not risk his body to make anything other than routine catches, and rarely attempted to break tackles despite being about 6" taller and 35-40 lbs. heavier than most defensive backs trying to bring him down.

At one point Funchess was projected to be a 1st round pick, and he still might be. His size and speed are tantalizing. I recently saw him projected as a #26 overall pick. The Detroit Lions took a similar player in the 1st round in 2014, Eric Ebron out of North Carolina. I would hope that NFL scouts and coaches look at Funchess's inconsistency and lack of effort in 2014 as a warning sign, but you never know.

I cannot say that I wish Funchess professional success beyond college. I am indifferent to his success. He was moved away from tight end because he was unwilling to block, and he took the #1 jersey physically but not in spirit. Head coach Brady Hoke stated that he didn't name captains until the end of 2014 because he thought the 2013 squad had too much of a sense of entitlement, but entitlement seemed apparent in Funchess. Maybe that's a product of the leadership Hoke mentioned from last year. Regardless, I have very little respect for players who don't put forth maximum effort, especially on such a regular basis.


  1. Oh yeah. 100% on. I would normally cheer for every Wolverine in the league, and prayed that hard-working guys like Dave Molk and Ryan Van Bergen (for example) would pan out in the league. I cannot say the same for Funchess. He has all the talent and physical tools, but no willingness to work hard.

  2. Hopefully, he'll not be as lazy...good riddance. Stop that whole legend numbers thing. I haven't seen anyone that deserves it.

    1. Butkus Award finalist Jake Ryan isn't deserving? OK.

  3. I keep having this sense that Funchess will end up like USC's Mike Williams in the NFL: Get his payday, get hurt, not put effort, etc. I just don't see a prime-time pro career coming for him unless his work ethic miraculously changes and he has an epiphany about actually blocking defenders during plays.

  4. "Funchess was mostly a disappointment"

    wow. You gave him a 75 TTB rank and predicted he'd be a backup U-back. He turned into a freshman all-american and high-end big 10 WR with some fringe all conference honors.

    I know he came in with huge expectations this year (despite my arguments) but the guy exceeded expectations relative to where he came in by a long shot.

    I don't think he was 'saving himself for the draft' in 2014 anymore than he was in 2012 when he refused to block anyone. Some kids just aren't willing to put in work or do the grunt stuff needed to be a great all-around player.

    I agree he didn't give 100% but I also don't think Funchess is THAT talented. He could make a very good TE and has NFL potential at the position, but he's not fast/quick/skilled enough to be a NFL WR. If Michigan had other WRs who were good and TEs with some experience Funchess would have red-shirted and then been a backup TE with a specialist pass-catching role. Only now in 2014 would he have emerged as a legitimate starter. But because of the void in talent he was rewarded for his lack of effort with the #1 jersey and a featured role in the offense as a WR.

    I would be absolutely shocked if he goes in the first 2 rounds of the NFL draft. He hasn't been nearly as productive as Ebron was, so it would take a standout combine performance to approach that and I don't expect we'll see that.

  5. I root for almost any MIchigan player to be successful in the NFL. It reflects well on Michigan and helps in recruiting.

    If you root for Michigan, you should root for it's players to succeed.

    And, I don't think we know enough about Funchess' personality to dismiss the kid.