2018 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan

Tag: Patrick Kugler


25Apr 2018
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2018 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan

Maurice Hurst, Jr.

The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft will be taking place on Thursday evening, April 26. I don’t know about you, but this is one of the top few biggest sporting events of the year for me.

There aren’t many players leaving from a young Michigan team, so this is a much shorter list than it was in 2017. I posted their Pro Day results back in March (LINK). Here’s a look at the prospective NFLers from the Maize and Blue:

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1Mar 2018
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Goodbye, Patrick Kugler

Patrick Kugler (image via MGoBlog)

HIGH SCHOOL

Kugler attended Wexford (PA) North Allegheny when his dad, Sean, was the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Patrick was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #1 center, and #68 overall in the 2013 class. Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, Stanford, and others all offered, including Purdue, where his brother played offensive line, as well. Kugler committed to Michigan in late February of 2012 (LINK), almost a year before National Signing Day. While film was lacking early in his career, I ended up giving a TTB Rating of 86 at the end of the cycle (LINK).

COLLEGE

Kugler redshirted in 2013 and only played in one game in 2014, the opener against Appalachian State. As a redshirt sophomore in 2015, he played in three games as a backup. Kugler made one start at left guard in 2016 when Ben Braden was injured, and he played in four more games as a backup throughout the season. As a fifth year senior in 2017, Kugler started all thirteen games at center, earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten from the media.

CAREER STATS

14 starts in 23 games played

AWARDS

Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2017)

SUMMARY

Even though Kugler was a tackle in high school, Michigan fans – and national evaluators – had high expectations for him. He was the projected #1 player at the center position, and he was a top-100 guy overall. With his father being an NFL offensive line coach, it was assumed he would be a relatively early contributor, particularly because the underwhelming Jack Miller was ahead of him when he arrived. A shoulder injury hampered Kugler for his first couple seasons on campus, and he even admitted in an interview last year that he did not take football seriously enough early in his career. Whether that was a reference to rehab, film study, the weight room, practice habits, or some combination of those things is unclear, but it’s not an understatement to say that his first four years on campus were disappointing. It shouldn’t take a guy with his size and pedigree five years to become a reliable contributor, but it did. Guys who played ahead of him included Jack Miller, Graham Glasgow, and Mason Cole, who converted from left tackle to keep Kugler on the bench in 2016. Kugler actually did a solid job of blocking in 2017, but there were communication issues on the offensive line, particularly with the right side. Whether that was an issue with Kugler’s calls or just with the guys on the right side, we’ll never know for sure. Considering the coaching staff is bringing him back as a graduate assistant in 2018, I have to believe the staff was confident in his understanding of the game.

I WILL REMEMBER HIM FOR . . . 

. . . being the son of an NFL offensive line coach. When he was being recruited, and when he was sitting on the bench, I couldn’t help thinking, “His dad is an NFL coach! He’s got to be good, right?!?!?!”

PROJECTION

As I mentioned above, Michigan is planning for Kugler to return in 2018 as a graduate assistant. He appears to be following in his dad’s footsteps as a coach, and he won’t be pursuing a career as an NFL player. This is probably a prudent move, since he would not be drafted and I don’t believe he would stick with an NFL team.

25Aug 2017
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2017 Season Countdown: #7 Patrick Kugler

Patrick Kugler (#57, image via Land of 10)

Name: Patrick Kugler
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 303 lbs.
High school: Wexford (PA) North Allegheny
Position: Center
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #57
Last year: I ranked Kugler #33 and said he would be the backup center. He started one game and played in five total.
TTB Rating: 83

Kugler came in with a lot of promise as a highly rated player and All-American. He was also the son of an NFL offensive line coach, who is now an FBS head coach at UTSA. It was thought that he would be ready to play center for Michigan by year two, maybe three. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case, and Michigan has had to rejigger its line several times to figure out the center spot, moving both Graham Glasgow and Mason Cole to center at times. Meanwhile, Kugler barely saw the field early in his career, and he started one game at left guard last season before ultimately being outplayed by freshman Ben Bredeson.

This year Kugler has finally appeared to seize the center position that we thought he would grab three years ago. Cole, who started at center in 2016 after playing left tackle the previous two years, is back at left tackle. Freshman Cesar Ruiz is battling at center and left guard, and he would probably be inserted if something were to happen to Kugler. One would think that Kugler would be ready to make the line calls as a fifth year senior, and the hope is that he can avoid mental mistakes while being able to hold up physically. In the spring, Ruiz looked the part physically, but he was a split second slow on recognizing blitzes. I would be very nervous if Michigan entrusted the center spot to a true freshman, even though Ruiz might be one of the best centers to come out of high school in a while.

Prediction: Starting center

17Apr 2017
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2017 Spring Game Thoughts: Offense

Brandon Peters

Brandon Peters (#18) with Michael Onwenu (#50) and Ty Isaac (#32)

SITE NEWS: Right now we have 35 users with avatars uploaded. When that number reaches 50, I’ll do a drawing for a $50 gift card to Amazon.


The Maize team won Saturday’s spring game by a score of 31-29 with a last-second field goal by Kyle Seychel. You can find videos and highlights here (LINK).

Hit the jump for some position-by-position thoughts on what we all saw. (Note: not every player will be mentioned.)

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