Posted at 12:00pm -- 1/23/2010
Mailbag question: Defensive draft
My concern is the lack of first round D-line and Linebackers produced by Michigan. I can't remember a time when we had a first round D-tackle or Linebacker. What gives when Northwestern and others of this ilk in the Big Ten are beating us in this category? Could it be a perception thing since Michigan is not known for churning out first-rounders at these critical positions? Does Michigan not develop those positions well because we've had the likes of David Harris, Lamar Woodley and Alan Branch to name a few. Please shed some light on this because top recruits at these positions want to go to a program that has a proven history of getting guys drafted in the first round!
Thanks for helping. I love reading your posts guys.
Otis, thank you for writing and please keep reading.
Michigan has had a past history of solid defensive tackles, Branch whom you named, Josh Williams, and even Gabe Watson all had early (leave early) NFL talent.
For years, Michigan used a conservative gap control defense that lots of top kids had no desire to play.
At linebacker Michigan has produced a few solid linebackers in recent years: Harris, Gold, Foote, Dhani Jones, and Crable to name a few. None were the elite level first-round talent you are talking about.
In our opinion it all starts with recruiting; if you don't bring in top- level talent, you will not produce elite level, first round NFL talent. Just like in physics, the perfect machine is when input and output match to create maximum efficiency. Michigan also was slow to change the type of player they were using at safety, T. Hendricks, Cato June, and Shazor all were better fits at linebacker than the safety position they played at Michigan.
Teams will continue to beat Michigan on the defensive side until Michigan shows they will play great defense.
Until elite level defensive recruits think playing defense is important and productive at Michigan, there will be little change. Great players want to play with other great players. Having top-level talent helps to draw more top-level talent. Look at what Florida just pulled off in recruiting, getting verbal commitments from perhaps two of the top five defensive players in the country.
Coach Bo would always bring in top defensive talent because he stressed the importance of having a great defense, despite being the offensive coordinator. And it showed in that players like Curtis Greer, Mel Owens, David Gallagher and Mike Taylor were high draft picks, and they helped to attract other top defenders. Success helps in recruiting and success starts with recruiting.
Written by GBMW Staff
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