Friday, April 30, 2021

2021 NFL Draft Primer: Days 2 & 3


Jalen Mayfield

Last night defensive end Kwity Paye went #21 overall to the Indianapolis Colts. I discussed offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield yesterday as a possible first rounder (LINK), but as expected, he did not go off the board on night one.

So besides Mayfield, who's next?

Wide receiver Nico Collins measured in at 6'4", 215 lbs., having lost weight since he last wore a Michigan uniform in 2019. He ran a 4.43 at Michigan's pro day, broad jumped 10'5 3/4", and showed a 37.5" vertical. Even though I have doubts about that forty time, I don't think anyone expects him to be a burner in the NFL. He can be a matchup probably with his size. I thought he might be a good fit for a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Eagles already went with a wide receiver (albeit a small one) in Devonta Smith.
Projected draft spot: Rounds 2-3

Cornerback Ambry Thomas is probably the next best bet. At 5'11" and 191 lbs., Thomas showed off a 38" vertical, broad jumped 10'2", and ran the forty in 4.37. He opted out of the 2020 season, but he was a shutdown corner when he last played in 2019. Will teams hold it against him that he missed 2020? That remains to be seen, but a few guys who opted out of 2020 still went in the first round.
Projected draft spot: Rounds 3-4

Linebacker Cam McGrone missed a chunk of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, and he wasn't playing that well before the injury, anyway. At 6'0" and 234 lbs., he was unable to run the forty and did 20 reps on the bench press. McGrone only started for part of 2019 and part of 2020, and he probably left too early. It would not surprise me if he went undrafted, and it would not surprise me if he went in the 5th round.
Projected draft spot: Rounds 6-7

Fullback Ben Mason weighed in at 6'2" and 246 lbs. He did 29 reps on the bench, ran a 4.72, and broad jumped 9'9". Fullbacks have gone the way of the dodo in recent years, but he's such a devastating lead blocker that I think he can fill a role on a roster somewhere.
Projected draft spot: Rounds 6-7

Running back Chris Evans is 5'11" and 211 lbs. He clocked a 4.44 forty, did 20 bench press reps, had a 40.5" vertical, and broad jumped 10'7". His pro day was arguably the most impressive of any Michigan player, and yet his overall lack of production at Michigan leaves some questions about what he can really do at the next level. He never topped 685 rushing yards in a Wolverines uniform, and his final season included just 73 rushing yards and 87 receiving yards. I think he can play in the NFL, but it would be a little odd for him to get drafted.
Projected draft spot: Round 7 or UDFA

Other draft-eligible players I do not expect to get drafted:

  • LS Cameron Cheeseman
  • TE Nick Eubanks
  • DT Carlo Kemp
  • K Quinn Nordin

2021 NFL Draft Primer: 1st round


Oct 20, 2018; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kwity Paye (19) prepares for the snap of the ball during the second half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

I have not delved into the NFL Draft this spring as much as I normally would. There's a good reason for that. I got roped into coaching a spring sport this year (temporarily), and in addition to my regular football coaching duties, it has really thrown off my schedule. I've been struggling to stay afloat in real life, let alone writing regularly for the blog. Luckily, that coaching situation resolved itself and I am now back to regularly scheduled programming.

Briefly, I wanted to take a look at tonight's 1st round of the NFL Draft.

There are two Michigan prospects who could hear their name called. One is almost a certainty, and the other is unlikely.

First, defensive end Kwity Paye measured in at 6'2", 261 lbs. with a 74 4/8" wingspan and 10" hands. He did 36 reps on the bench, showed off a 35 1/2" vertical, broad jumped 9'10", and ran the forty in 4.52. (I don't trust pro day forty times, so it was probably more like a 4.62, which is still pretty good. I've heard multiple draft analysts mention that they do not believe Paye was used optimally at Michigan because he moved around so much (DE, DT, NT) and was not allowed to excel at being a pass rusher. They think he will be better in the NFL once he's able to stabilize his position.
Possible landing spots: #10 to Dallas, #12 to Philadelphia, #14 Minnesota, #17 Las Vegas

Second is offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield. Mayfield measured in at 6'5" and 326 lbs. with a 79 5/8" wingspan and 9 3/4" hands. He ran a 5.31 forty (or 5.41) with a 7.86 three cone drill and a 4.91 5-10-5 shuttle. Mayfield played pretty well for a redshirt freshman in 2019, but he came back late for the 2020 season . . . and didn't last very long before getting injured. He never reached his potential at Michigan, but he could be a right tackle or a guard in the NFL. I think he's more likely to end up in the second or third round, but slipping into the late first is a possibility.
Possible landing spots: #23 New York Jets, #24 Pittsburgh, #27 Baltimore, #29 Green Bay, #31 Baltimore

Michigan's NFL Draft History


Probably like many of you, I occasionally have a hankering for some Michigan NFL Draft history. Below you will find (as far as I'm aware) every pro draft pick in the history of Michigan's football program going all the way back to 1937.

A few little factoids:

  • Michigan's only two #1 overall NFL Draft picks are Jake Long in 2008 and Tom Harmon in 1941.
  • Michigan set a record in 2017 with 11 total draft picks.
  • Michigan's record number of 1st round NFL draft picks is a tie with 3 each in 1995 (Tyrone Wheatley, Ty Law, Trezelle Jenkins) and 2001 (David Terrell, Steve Hutchinson, Jeff Backus).
1st round: Kwity Paye - DE - Indianapolis Colts (#21 overall)
3rd round: Jalen Mayfield - OT - Atlanta Falcons (#68 overall)
3rd round: Nico Collins - WR - Houston Texans (#89 overall)
3rd round: Ambry Thomas - CB - San Francisco 49ers (#102 overall)

1st round: Cesar Ruiz - C - New Orleans Saints (#24 overall)
2nd round: Josh Uche - OLB - New England Patriots (#60 overall)
4th round: Ben Bredeson - OG - Baltimore Ravens (#143 overall)
5th round: Khaleke Hudson - LB - Washington Redskins (#162 overall)
5th round: Mike Danna - DE - Kansas City Chiefs (#177 overall)
6th round: Michael Onwenu - OG - New England Patriots (#182 overall)
6th round: Donovan Peoples-Jones - WR - Cleveland Browns (#187 overall)
6th round: Jon Runyan, Jr. - OG - Green Bay Packers (#192 overall)
6th round: Josh Metellus - S - Minnesota Vikings (#205 overall)
6th round: Jordan Glasgow - LB - Indianapolis Colts (#213 overall)

1st round: Devin Bush, Jr. - LB - Pittsburgh Steelers (#10 overall)
1st round: Rashan Gary - DE - Green Bay Packers (#12 overall)
3rd round: Chase Winovich - OLB - New England Patriots (#77 overall)
3rd round: David Long, Jr. - CB - Los Angeles Rams (#79 overall)
5th round: Zach Gentry - TE - Pittsburgh Steelers (#141 overall)

3rd round: Mason Cole - C - Arizona Cardinals (#97)
5th round: Maurice Hurst, Jr. - DT - Oakland Raiders (#140)

1st round: Jabrill Peppers - S - Cleveland Browns (#25)
1st round: Taco Charlton - DE - Dallas Cowboys (#28)
3rd round: Chris Wormley - DT - Baltimore Ravens (#74)
3rd round: Jourdan Lewis - CB - Dallas Cowboys (#92)
3rd round: Delano Hill - S - Seattle Seahawks (#95)
3rd round: Amara Darboh - WR - Seattle Seahawks (#106)
4th round: Ben Gedeon - LB - Minnesota Vikings (#120)
4th round: Ryan Glasgow - DT - Cincinnati Bengals (#138)
4th round: Jehu Chesson - WR - Kansas City Chiefs (#139)
5th round: Jake Butt - TE - Denver Broncos (#145)
6th round: Jeremy Clark - CB - New York Jets (#197)

3rd round: Graham Glasgow - C - Detroit Lions (#95)
4th round: Willie Henry - DT - Baltimore Ravens (#132)
6th round: Jake Rudock - QB - Detroit Lions (#191)

2nd round: Devin Funchess - WR - Carolina Panthers (#41)
2nd round: Frank Clark - DE - Seattle Seahawks (#63)
4th round: Jake Ryan - LB - Green Bay Packers (#129)

1st round: Taylor Lewan - OT - Tennessee Titans (#11)
3rd round: Michael Schofield - OT - Denver Broncos (#95)
7th round: Jeremy Gallon - WR - New England Patriots (#244)

5th round: Denard Robinson - RB - Jacksonville Jaguars (#135)
6th round: William Campbell - DT - New York Jets (#178)

Hit the jump for the remainder of Michigan's historical draft picks.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tyler Morris, Wolverine


La Grange Park (IL) Nazareth Academy WR Tyler Morris (image via 247 Sports)

La Grange Park (IL) Nazareth Academy wide receiver Tyler Morris committed to Michigan last week. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Florida, Notre Dame, and Penn State, among others.

Morris is a 6'0", 165 lb. prospect. He was a teammate of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy up through the 2019 season (McCarthy transferred to IMG Academy for the 2020 season).

ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #15 WR, #135 overall
Rivals: 4-star, 5.9 grade, #8 WR, #78 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 94 grade, #9 WR, #77 overall

Hit the jump for more.

2021 Season Countdown: #129 Peter Simmons III


Peter Simmons III (image via Hudl)

Note: I skipped #130 because Willie Allen transferred (LINK) and I'm not going to bother posting about him later, so the countdown jumps from #131 to #129.

Name: Peter Simmons III
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 282 lbs.
High school: Fort Myers (FL) Bishop Verot
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Simmons was a senior in high school.
TTB Rating: N/A

Simmons committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on, despite some offers from smaller colleges, including FCS Butler. He's rather limited when it comes to athleticism, and obviously, it's tough to play offensive line as any kind of freshman, scholarship-level or walk-on. I full expect him to redshirt and play on the scout team.

Prediction: Redshirt

Friday, April 23, 2021

Willie Allen, Ex-Wolverine


Willie Allen

Offensive tackle Willie Allen has entered the transfer portal after spending the winter at Michigan. He transferred from Louisiana Tech, after he transferred from Tyler Junior College, after he transferred from LSU. So wherever he ends up from here, it will be Allen's fourth college.

Allen was expected to compete for an open offensive tackle job, but word out of Schembechler Hall was that he needed to put in plenty of work to get into playing shape at Michigan. After sitting out the 2020 season, it's not too surprising that a guy who hasn't played football in two years might be a little bit rusty.

I had a hard time seeing where Allen would fit in Michigan's plans, though he was a nice insurance policy. Michigan has younger guys that seem like they're on a good track to play at a high level.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

2021 Season Countdown: #131 Noah Howes


Noah Howes (image via Twitter)

Name: Noah Howes
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 250 lbs.
High school: Rochester (MI) Rochester Hills
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Howes was a senior in high school.
TTB Rating: N/A

Howes recently committed to Michigan as a walk-on, spurring a scholarship offer from Navy. At 6'4" and 250 lbs., it's easy to see why the Midshipmen offered. They like athletic linemen who might not have the mammoth size that other schools prefer. The nice thing about a place like Michigan is that he would not be expected to contribute early, so he can join the program, add some weight, get in the weight room, and potentially be a contributor down the road.

I really appreciate how Howes plays, the way he finishes blocks and then hustles back to the huddle. That kind of effort, hustle, and enthusiasm can carry over to teammates, and if he works that way in the weight room, Michigan might have found a diamond in the rough.

Prediction: Redshirt

The 2021 Season Countdown is Coming!


It's coming.

If you’re a regular here at Touch the Banner, you probably know what the spring content entails. Every year since 2009, I have counted down from the least important player on that year’s roster to the most important player, including starters, scholarship players, preferred walk-ons, special teams players, student body walk-ons, and everyone in between.

In case you want a look back at last year’s countdown, here it is (LINK).

YEARLY DISCLAIMER: The countdown is by the player’s importance to the team, not his overall talent. A talented player at a deep position won’t necessarily be missed a lot if he gets injured, but an injury to a moderately talented player at a thin position could be devastating. For example, I had cornerback Ambry Thomas ranked at #2 last year because he was the team's only proven cornerback. Naturally, he opted out of the season and the team as a whole was an unmitigated disaster. Meanwhile, projected first round pick Kwity Paye was #6 because more talent was returning on the defensive line.

I know times are tough, but now is a good time to suggest a Paypal donation if you appreciate the content here at TTB:

Be ready for the countdown to begin today, April 20.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Xavier Worthy, Ex-Wolverine


Xavier Worthy (image via Diehardsport)

We learned a few days ago that Fresno (CA) Central East wide receiver Xavier Worthy would not be making good on his pledge to play for the Wolverines. Despite signing his National Letter of Intent, he requested out of it and will presumably be granted that request. In modern times it's not worth the public relations hit to reject those requests.

Hit the jump for more.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Phillip Paea, Ex-Wolverine


Phillip Paea (image via 247 Sports)

Defensive tackle Phillip Paea has entered the transfer portal. Paea played in just a few games from 2017-2020, bouncing back and forth between offensive and defensive line.

Paea was recruited for defensive tackle, even though I said all along I liked him best on offense (LINK). I initially gave him a TTB Rating of 76 thinking the staff might come around, but as it became clear he was headed for defense, I lowered that to 68 (LINK).

It seems to be rather unusual that a player in modern football sticks around for four years without having a role on offense or defense, but that was the case here with Paea. As a grad transfer, he now has two years to play two.

That 2017 class was thought to be a great in-state haul, but Donovan Peoples-Jones and Ambry Thomas only played three years each, never reaching their ceiling. Deron Irving-Bey, Ja'Raymond Hall, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and Joshua Ross rounded out that in-state class. The only one remaining is Ross, and so far, none has received honors above Third Team All-Big Ten.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ex-Wolverines: Class of 2011


Blake Countess (image via Alchetron)

Here's a look back at the recruits who did not pan out for Michigan in 2011, the transition class between Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke.


Chris Barnett - Tight end - Hurst (TX) L.D. Bell
Barnett was an outstanding tight end coming out of high school.  He tore his ACL during his senior year and struggled to regain his playing shape.  When he arrived at Michigan in the summer of 2011 for his freshman season, he weighed 278 lbs.  By late August the distance from home, the summer classwork, and the required physical conditioning forced him to leave the program and re-evaluate his options.  He enrolled at a Texas junior college, but left that program.
Current status: Unknown

Russell Bellomy - Quarterback - Arlington (TX) Martin
After the decommitment of Kevin Sousa in December 2010 (see below), Michigan was scrambling for a more traditional quarterback, whereas Sousa had been a dual-threat guy. He was previously committed to Purdue, but that changed when Michigan came calling. He redshirted in 2011. Then he played in five games in 2012, including stepping in for Denard Robinson against Nebraska, which was an ugly performance (3/16, 38 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT), and stuck around through 2014. Altogether, he was 4/23 for 46 yards and 4 interceptions at Michigan. He transferred to UTSA as a senior in 2015, completing 4/10 passes for 39 yards and rushing 7 times for 21 yards.
Current status: Out of football

Greg Brown - Cornerback - Fremont (OH) Ross
Brown was the first commitment of the 2011 class after choosing the Wolverines in September of 2009.  He enrolled early in January 2011, but was one of those kids who was caught in the middle between Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke.  Rodriguez recruited him, but he wasn't fired until January, when Brown was already on campus.  The cornerback received mixed reviews in spring practices and played sparingly on special teams at the beginning of the 2011 season, but decided to transfer mid-season.  He played sparingly for Findlay in 2012, then transferred to Iowa Central Community College prior to the 2013 season.
Current status: Out of football

Hit the jump for more.

Way Too Early 2021 Depth Chart: April 2021


Aidan Hutchinson: Will he stay or will he go?

The following depth chart has removed the following players from the 2020 depth chart for various reasons:

  • LB William Mohan (transfer)
  • S Hunter Reynolds (transfer)
  • WR Giles Jackson (transfer)
  • C Zach Carpenter (transfer to Indiana)
  • RB Zach Charbonnet (transfer to UCLA)
  • WR Giles Jackson (transfer)
  • QB Joe Milton (transfer)
  • RB Christian Turner (transfer to Wake Forest)
  • LB Ben VanSumeren (transfer to Michigan State)
  • DE Luiji Vilain (transfer to Wake Forest)

It also assumes that every currently rostered player and every currently committed prospect will be here in 2021, which is obviously not true.

Hit the jump for the depth chart.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Ex-Wolverine Commit Updates: Spring 2021


Rashad Weaver (image via Pitt Athletics)

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Marcus Allen, WR (Wisconsin): Allen signed with the Badgers in the 2021 class.

Tim Baldwin, Jr., RB (Indiana): Baldwin ran 22 times for 141 yards as a backup for the Hoosiers.

Kalil Branham, WR: Branham is no longer on the Kentucky football team, but he does not appear to be in the transfer portal.

Hit the jump for more.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

William Mohan, Ex-Wolverine


William Mohan (image via Wolverines Wire)

Rising second-year linebacker William Mohan has entered the transfer portal. Mohan made 1 tackle on special teams last season.

I gave Mohan a TTB Rating of 88 when he committed (LINK). He was a whirling dervish coming off the edge. At 6'1" and 205 lbs., he still had some filling out to do but I thought he could be a terror. He was a 3-star, the #23 athlete, and #461 overall coming out of high school in 2020.

Recruited for the Viper position that is now obsolete with the departure of defensive coordinator Don Brown, obviously he did not see a fit with the new defensive staff. I expect Macdonald to use more of a safety-like presence as a nickel player rather than running out a quasi-linebacker on almost every down. As I've mentioned previously, it's much easier to move safeties up into the box than to teach a linebacker to play safety.

Michigan now has 86 scholarship players on the roster (LINK), so at least one more player needs to depart before Michigan is under its limit for 2021.

2023 Recruiting Update: April 6, 2021


Makai Lemon (image via Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)


Jayvant Brown - LB - Deerfield Beach (FL) Deerfield Beach: Brown is a 6'0", 195 lb. prospect with offers from Auburn, Florida State, Miami, and Notre Dame, among others. He's a 247 Sports 4-star, the #1 outside linebacker, and #13 overall in his class.

Makai Lemon - WR - Los Alamitos (CA) Los Alamitos: Lemon is a 6'0", 180-pounder with offers from Alabama, Georgia, and USC, among others. He's a 5-star, the #2 athlete, and #19 overall.

Rico Walker - DE - Hickory (NC) Hickory: Walker is a 6'3", 225 lb. prospect with offers from North Carolina, Penn State, and South Carolina, among others. He'sa 247 Sports 4-star, the #4 weakside end, and #48 overall.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Ex-Wolverine Player Updates: Spring 2021


Zach Charbonnet (image via MLive)

I would appreciate any support you can offer through Amazon purchases (LINK):


Jordan Anthony, LB (transfer portal): Anthony has been in the transfer portal for over a year. He last played for Michigan in 2019.

Tarik Black, WR (Texas): Black caught 10 passes for 240 yards and 1 touchdown in 2020. He is returning to Texas for his fifth year of college eligibility.

Zach Carpenter, C (Indiana): Carpenter is listed as a 6'5", 320 lb. lineman for Indiana. He transferred immediately after the 2020 season.

Zach Charbonnet, RB (UCLA): Charbonnet ran 19 times for 124 yards and 1 touchdown for Michigan in 2020 and signed with the Bruins as a transfer.

Kekoa Crawford, WR (Cal): Crawford is listed as a 6'1", 195 lb. sixth-year senior for the Golden Bears. He caught 19 passes for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2020.

Devin Gil, LB (South Florida): Gil opted out of the 2020 season and is transferring, though a destination has not yet been announced.

Ja'Raymond Hall, OT (CMU): Hall is retired after having some injury issues.

Hit the jump for more.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Highlights: 1989 Michigan vs. Seton Hall

 For those of you who, like me, are too young to remember Michigan's national championship victory over Seton Hall in 1989, here are some highlights:

Friday, April 2, 2021

Taylor Groves, Ex-Wolverine


Taylor Groves

Cross Plains (TN) East Robertson safety Taylor Groves decommitted from Michigan earlier this week. Groves committed to the Wolverines sight unseen shortly after Maurice Linguist was hired to be the cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator.

Michigan has done well recruiting the safety position in recent years, but Groves seemed like perhaps a new direction for the position. He is tall and lanky (listed at 6'2", 175 lbs.) with cornerback skills. Michigan has generally seemed to reel in shorter, thicker, quasi-outside linebacker types for safety, aside from Daxton Hill.

Groves is the third decommitment in the 2022 class, joining safety Myles Rowser (Arkansas) and defensive tackle Alex VanSumeren (undecided).

Giles Jackson, Ex-Wolverine


Giles Jackson (image via MGoBlue)

Michigan wide receiver Giles Jackson has entered the transfer portal. Jackson went through a surgery this off-season after his second year in a Wolverines uniform.

A member of the class of 2019, I gave Jackson a TTB Rating of 75 (LINK) and he ended up as a 76.

Hit the jump for more.