I’ve seen this asserted a few places (including by Brian Cook) and thought it was worth discussing further.
The DL loses Chris Wormley, Ryan Glasgow, Taco Charlton, and Matt Godin. All 4 starters, all 4 seniors, 3/4 likely to go in the NFL draft.
Could it possibly be as good next year?
Starters (by position):
NT Bryan Mone will replace Glasgow. Given an extra year, his size advantage, and the talent that’s been hyped up for a couple years it’s reasonable to think Mone can approximate or even exceed what Glasgow did (though that should not be undersold.)
DT Mo Hurst will replace Godin. Godin started over Hurst the last 2 years, but Hurst looks like the more talented player and all but split snaps with him already. With an extra year it is likely that we see improvement.
SDE Rashan Gary will replace Wormley. He’ll be a sophomore and is an elite talent. It is possible he is as good as Wormley, maybe even better. I don’t think it’s likely given that Gary is still a soph and Wormley was a senior who was arguably the best and most consistent DLmen Michigan had… but possible. Lets call it a push.
WDE Chase Winovich will replace Charlton. Winovich is a budding star IMO but was a pass rush specialist this season. It was his first at the position though, so we can expect some improvement in regard to being an every down player. Still, Charlton was an elite player when healthy. He wasn’t quite all american level but he was an all conference caliber performer. Winovich likely won’t hit that level in 2017, if ever, so we can expect some dropoff.
Summary NT and SDE could get better due to talent but just reaching Wormley/Glasgow level consistency would be considered a win. DT gets better. WDE gets worse. Overall: They should be pretty close to this year’s starters, give or take.
Bench (by position):
NT: Dwumfour/Freshman(?) replaces Mone. Mone is really good as mentioned above and made some plays against OSU that got people excited. I guess we’re hoping for a true freshman recruit to fill his shoes otherwise it’s Dwumfour, who seems solid, but is a little light for the position and may be a better DT. Clear downgrade.
DT: ??? replaces Hurst. Again we are counting on a freshman to step up. That could be fine if we land Solomon or Tufele. If we don’t, things get a lot more speculative with Jeter, Paea, Hudson, or DIB. Do not sleep on Paea here. Hurst is a monster and this is a massive downgrade no matter what happens on the trail.
SDE: Marshall replaces Gary. Given he barely played and was beat out by Gary this is clearly a downgrade. Marshall does have talent but we haven’t seen it yet. Gary was up and down for a freshman but made more impact plays than an average starter even in limited snaps. This is a draw in the very best possible scenario for Michigan where Marshall reaches his potential.
WDE: Johnson replaces Winovich. It could be a freshman too as Michigan is recruiting a whole bunch of DEs, but Johnson is getting a lot of buzz and has talent. I’m going to call this one a draw just because Winovich was a limited player this season and Johnson’s hype is encouraging.
Summary: Michigan may hit on a couple of impact linemen coming through their development and talent pipeline. Greg Mattison being here all but ensures that someone is going to step up to be a solid backup. But, Michigan lacks experience here and this 2nd string DL was as good as any that I can remember having ever been at Michigan.
The one mitigating factor is that the starters can probably handle more minutes. Gary can be moved around all over the line. Michigan doesn’t need a clear backup at every DL position, they just need 2.5 guys they can plug in without a huge dropoff.
With Mattison this is not a worry spot, but it is also not an epic strength like it was in 2016.
No, the DL is not going to be as good as it was this year. No matter how optimistic you want to be about the starters, there is heavy rotation and the backups simply have no way of replacing the performance level of Hurst, Mone, Gary, and Winovich. The starters will likely have to play more snaps which will limit their effectiveness in some 4th quarter situations.
I agree completely that the 2017 defensive line will not be as good as 2016. I even think it’s a stretch to say Mone will be on Glasgow’s level, although maybe his injury slowed him down for a while. I do think Mone played a very good game against Ohio State, but that was the first time. Michigan’s going to take a step back on the DL next year. I think we’re going to take a step backward with everyone except Hurst and Gary.
Agree on Mone vs Glasgow. I was trying to be generous and acknowledge that Mone might have more talent and definitely has more size. His upside is higher but Glasgow was dang good. I do think he got overranked by some who called him an all american caliber player – he wasn’t even the best in the conference. (Same goes for Butt and Lewis — some guys are just really really good at a time when someone else who is great comes along.)
Great post. I think the starters can be as good, especially if Gary blows up. I actually like Winovich, and remember Taco wasn’t even a full time starter until this year. If we could get some rotation for him, the overall dropoff shouldn’t be too terrible.
LB is a spot I’d really like to look into, as I feel 2 of 3 spots can improve
The secondary however, will be both young and inexperienced…
LB is going to drop off IMO. You don’t lose Peppers and senior like Gedeon and replace them with freshman and sophomores and not have a dropoff. I like our talent but it’s a year or two away from being a strong as this years group. Not that they were perfect (with some coverage issues) but McCray is going to go from being the weakest link to the biggest strength.
The secondary is a big concern, obviously. After OL, the biggest on the team.
I wonder if Thunder or anyone else has a guess about which incoming freshman is most likely to contribute at DT/NT and if any of them seem likely to be able to beat out Dwumfour. Michigan clearly needs at least one other (3rd) interior DL to emerge, even if they use Gary inside more often.
I like Donovan Jeter. If we get Tufele or Solomon, they’ll probably play next year. I don’t think Jeter can be a NT as a freshman, though. He’s got some size and strength to add before he plays there, IMO. Personally, I would like to see Onwenu end up at NT, but it seems like he’s headed for one of the guard spots.
Yeah, a lot is leaving but none of you have pointed out that those guys all played for 3 different DC’s in 3 years…….
2017’s will not have to learn from scratch on the fly a new dc’s system. So while not having overall playing experience as guys leaving they will have More experience in playing within the same defensive system of Don Brown.
This has to be a posiitve that those leaving never experienced. No?