Way Too Early 2018 Depth Chart: December 2017

Way Too Early 2018 Depth Chart: December 2017


December 21, 2017

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Here’s my second stab at projecting the 2018 depth chart. I expect several of these guys to depart in the meantime, and there will be other additions. But based on the current roster, below is the depth chart Michigan could roll out next September.

Hit the jump for another early look at 2018.

QB: Shea Patterson (Jr.), Brandon Peters (RS So.), Dylan McCaffrey (So.), Kevin Doyle (Fr.), Joe Milton (Fr.)
RB: Karan Higdon (Sr.), Chris Evans (Jr.),  Kareem Walker (RS So.), O’Maury Samuels (So.), Kurt Taylor (RS Fr.), Christian Turner (Fr.), Hassan Haskins (Fr.)
FB: Ben Mason (So.), Ben VanSumeren (Fr.), Jared Wangler (5th), Peter Bush (RS So.)
WR1: Tarik Black (RS Fr.), Kekoa Crawford (Jr.),  Nate Schoenle (Jr.)
WR2: Donovan Peoples-Jones (So.), Nico Collins (So.)
WR3: Grant Perry (Sr.), Eddie McDoom (Jr.), Oliver Martin (RS Fr.), Ronnie Bell (Fr.)
TE: Sean McKeon (Jr.), Zach Gentry (RS Jr.), Nick Eubanks (RS So.), Ian Bunting (5th), Tyrone Wheatley (RS Jr.), Mustapha Muhammad (Fr.), Luke Schoonmaker (Fr.)
LT: Grant Newsome (RS Jr.), James Hudson (RS Fr.), Joel Honigford (RS Fr.), Jalen Mayfield (Fr.)
LG: Ben Bredeson (Jr.), Chuck Filiaga (RS Fr.), Ja’Raymond Hall (RS Fr.)
C: Cesar Ruiz (So.), Andrew Vastardis (RS So.), Jess Speight (RS Fr.)
RG: Michael Onwenu (Jr.), Jon Runyan, Jr. (RS Jr.), Stephen Spanellis (RS So.)
RT: Juwann Bushell-Beatty (5th), Andrew Stueber (RS Fr.), Nolan Ulizio (RS Jr.), Ryan Hayes (Fr.)

SDE: Rashan Gary (Jr.), Carlo Kemp (RS So.), Ron Johnson (RS So.), Deron Irving-Bey (RS Fr.), Aidan Hutchinson (Fr.), Julius Welschof (Fr.)
DT: Michael Dwumfour (RS So.), Donovan Jeter (RS Fr.), Lawrence Marshall (5th), Carl Myers (Jr.)
NT: Aubrey Solomon (So.), Bryan Mone (5th), Phillip Paea (RS Fr.)
WDE: Chase Winovich (5th), Kwity Paye (So.), Luiji Vilain (RS Fr.), Reuben Jones (RS Jr.)
Viper/SAM: Khaleke Hudson (Jr.), Noah Furbush (5th), Joshua Uche (Jr.), Otis Reese (Fr.)
MIKE: Devin Bush (Jr.), Josh Ross (So.), Drew Singleton (RS Fr.), Elysee Mbem-Bosse (Jr.)
WILL: Devin Gil (Jr.), Jordan Anthony (RS Fr.), Cameron McGrone (Fr.)
CB: Lavert Hill (Jr.),  Ambry Thomas (So.), Myles Sims (Fr.), Gemon Green (Fr.)
CB: David Long (Jr.), Brandon Watson (5th), Benjamin St-Juste (So.), Sammy Faustin (Fr.)
FS: Tyree Kinnel (Sr.), Jaylen Kelly-Powell (So.), German Green (Fr.)
SS: Joshua Metellus (Jr.), Jordan Glasgow (RS Jr.),  J’Marick Woods (So.)

K: Quinn Nordin (RS So.), Ryan Tice (RS Jr.)
P: Brad Robbins (So.), Will Hart (RS So.)

CHANGES SINCE LAST TIME

  • Added QB Shea Patterson, WR Ronnie Bell, FB Ben VanSumeren, and DE Julius Welschof
  • Moved Phillip Paea from DT to NT
  • Moved Andrew Stueber one spot higher on the depth chart at RT

22 comments

  1. Comments: 1191
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Dec 21, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    McGrone?

  2. Comments: 19
    Joined: 3/18/2017
    coop
    Dec 21, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    i’m mostly a lurker but i’ve been doing my xmas shopping through ttb. thanks for the content everyday. looking forward to reading even more now that the holiday is almost upon us.

  3. Comments: 32
    Joined: 1/2/2016
    peterfumo
    Dec 21, 2017 at 11:37 AM

    You are expecting Newsome to recover enough from his knee injury to start? I hope and pray you are right.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2593
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2017 at 11:41 AM

      I really don’t know what to do with him. He’s the best LT on the roster. He and Harbaugh keep saying that they believe he can play. I’m just going based on that belief. If not, it drops to the #2 guy.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3733
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 21, 2017 at 12:13 PM

        Unless it’s Bredeson! He and Newsome battled till opening day (supposedly) in 2016 and Bredeson was just getting to campus then. After a year and half of playing vs recovering, the gap may have disappeared.

        • crazyjoedavola
          Comments: 192
          Joined: 8/13/2015
          crazyjoedavola
          Dec 21, 2017 at 12:50 PM

          Bredeson is probably is best guard on the team, it would be ideal if he stays there and Newsome somehow recovers to take LT spot back.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3733
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM

            The best OL is usually the best OL, regardless of postion (e.g., Glasgow, Cole). That’s very likely Bredeson. Like Cole and Glasgow he’ll be used where he’s needed most I think.

            • crazyjoedavola
              Comments: 192
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              crazyjoedavola
              Dec 21, 2017 at 3:51 PM

              I am sure that Bredeson will be used where needed, but Molk was a better C than Lewan, and Lewan was a better LT than Molk. There is a huge difference between all 3 positions on the OL.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3733
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 21, 2017 at 4:06 PM

                Some guys are limited to certain positions (as you point out) but many are not. The best guards can be playable at OC or OT generally.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 3733
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Dec 21, 2017 at 4:07 PM

                Huge differences is a gross exaggeration in general. As evident by Michigan’s constant flipping and switching, often in mid-season.

    • Comments: 1191
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      Roanman
      Dec 21, 2017 at 1:38 PM

      Newsome able to play free of any residue of his injury, physical or mental, would in my view be about the best thing that could happen for this team. But remember, he is way inexperienced. He has very few starts/snaps. You hope that hanging out in the meeting room would help some, but he has likely fewer snaps than Ulizio.

      I keep hoping myself, but I am increasingly thinking that the push for more tackles is a signal … and not a good one … despite all positive talk.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3733
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 21, 2017 at 3:22 PM

        Newsome’s performance is certainly getting overstated by some for a mix of reasons – hope and rationalization for struggles both. You are right to wonder just how good he would be even if he returns. On the other hand most development is happening outside Michigan Stadium so Newsome is presumably still ahead of where he started as long as his injury is not holding him back significantly.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 3733
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Dec 21, 2017 at 12:12 PM

    My thoughts:

    The positions don’t line up very well with how Michigan uses them. For example, there are 3 WRs listed but by the end of the year they seemed to be using 3 TEs at least as often. Similar issue to TE at Viper and SAM where Furbush and Hudson often saw the field at the same time. The SAM replaced the NT far more often than the Viper and there is different personnel.

    Since nickel is the defensive analogue to slot, why list WR 1,2,3 and not CB 1,2,3? Perhaps it makes more sense to list boundary, field, split end, flanker to distinguish. Perhaps it makes more sense to just group them generally.

    Either way, the distinction (or lackthereof) between positions is a bit confusing. Would maybe make sense if the intent was to list 11 starters but there are 12 guys on offense and WR3 probably isn’t the position that’s most utilized by Michigan.

    Here is my version:

    QB: Peters, McCaffrey, Doyle/Milton [ Redshirts for Patterson + Milton/Doyle]
    WR: Black, People-Jones, Perry, Crawford, McDoom, Schoenle*, Collins, Martin [Redshirt for Bell]
    RB: Higdon, Evans, Walker, Samuels, Taylor, Turner, Haskins
    FB/H-back: Mason, VanSumeren
    TE: McKeon, Gentry, Wheatley, Bunting, Muhammed, Eubanks [Redshirt for Schoonmaker]
    OT: Newsome, Bushel-Beatty, Ulizio, Stuber, Hudson, Honiford [Redshirt for Mayfield & Hayes]
    OG/OC: Bradeson, Onwenu, Ruiz, Vastardis*, Runyan, Spanellis, Filiaga

    DT: Solomon, Mone, Dumfour, Marshall, Jeter, Meyers*, Paea [Redshirt for Upshaw]
    SDE: Gary, Kemp, Irving-Bey, Welschof [Redshirt for Hutchinson]
    WDE: Winovich, Paye, Vilain, Jones, Johnson
    SAM: Furbush, Uche
    ILB: Bush, Gil, Ross, Singleton, Anthoney, Mbem-Bosse, McGrone
    VIPER: Hudson, Glasgow*
    S: Kinnel, Metellus, Woods, Kelly-Powell, Green
    CB: Hill, Long, Watson, Thomas, Sims, St. Juste [Red-shirts for Green & Faustin]

    *Walk-on

    I grouped OG/OC because if we’re projecting a position-switch for Ruiz we might as well project one for Bredeson too. Players and staff have both said Vastardis is a legit option to start at OC. That might be preferable to whoever the second best OT is. Michigan moves people around every year – there’s little point in distinguishing at this point.

    I almost included H-back as a position with FB in honor of Roanman but the above approach elects not to breakout differences in WRs, CBs, etc. For the sake of consistency and coherence I did not.

    More on Viper/SAM being different positions: In 2015 and 2016 the SAM was hardly used (Gant was listed as a starter in 2015) partly because it was antiquated (like an NFL fullback) and partly because Peppers could do it all. Hudson can too. This year you saw the truth of the matter – Michigan’s VIPER is a DB who lines up near the box. He didn’t come out when the SAM came in (though I’m sure at times he played the SAM role, there are also times that DL drop into coverage – doesn’t make them a LB or DB). Even in a goaline package they would drop a CB before they dropped Hudson.

    Woods was in before Glasgow against OSU so I think Glasgow has been passed at safety. Metellus is probably the real backup Viper in the long-term (as he was in 2016) but the differences across the 3 safety positions are hardly worthwhile. I almost lumped Viper in with safety but I thought I’d stick to convention on this front at least.

    The MIKE/WIL distinction is not much more than alignment. I’ve been told MIKEs tend towards burly run-stuffers and WILs are speedier with blitz and coverage skills but uhhhh Bush and McCray say otherwise.

    Is there any legit reason to think Patterson will be eligible? Other than he and we hope it to be so. Are there many precedents for this kind of thing? This feels like the Ty Isaac thing where Michigan fans confuse their wishes with reality.

    I think McCaffrey might be 50/50 or better to start if Patterson is ineligible.

    People seem to think Walker is entrenched as the #3 back but he’s got 4 younger players behind him next year. There’s a significant chance he gets passed over.

    Gonna be fun to watch the scrum at WR.

    Is Wheatley so low on the depth chart because he is going to transfer supposedly? Seems like he played a lot of snaps despite battling injury most of the year. Yeah he is getting passed by Gentry/McKeon but he still played a lot.

    I think Solomon is replacing Hurst as the DT/NT but I think rotation will be heavier with Dumfour and Mone getting more snaps than the ‘other’ DTs got in 2017.

    LB will be a fun position battle. Probably more rotation than we’ve had in years unless someone really locks it down.

    Sims seems like the kind of talent who could immediately assert himself. I don’t know what that would mean for Watson/Thomas/Kelly-Powell. After badly lacking depth at DB there could be some heavy competition in 2018.

    • JC
      Comments: 196
      Joined: 8/17/2015
      JC
      Dec 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM

      The differences at viper and the safeties is hardly worthwhile.

      Except the responsibilities.

      The differences between FB and TE are hardly worthwhile, too. They’re both supposed to score touchdowns or block depending on the play call.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3733
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 21, 2017 at 3:31 PM

        Michigan flipped Peppers and Hill quite often. They blitz more often from viper of course but the job is the same for all the safeties — you have to be able to do a bit of everything (cover & tackle). Metellus and Hudson just flipped spots last offseason. Peppers rotated between CB, S, and Viper. It’s a safety spot where playmaking and physicality is emphasized but it’s still a safety spot.

        • JC
          Comments: 196
          Joined: 8/17/2015
          JC
          Dec 21, 2017 at 4:34 PM

          Michigan flipped Peppers and Hill quite often. I must not have been watching the same football as you.

          When they’d shift to a single safety deep, Hill would kick out to slot and Peppers would still be in the box. Hill would sometimes come into the box, as safeties sometimes do. Peppers would sometimes function as a 3rd safety, as players with his versatility sometimes do. The roles were not interchangeable. If I had to guess I’d say 90% of the time Hill was lined up further back than Peppers was, and would line up as nickel more often.

          It’s a hybrid spot that puts a safety in a linebackers role. The role acts as a nickel or as a safety lined up 7 yards off the line, but it’s not a CB/S/LB. Peppers’s role as a safety in the NFL is not how he was functioning at Michigan.

          My FB/TE comment was supposed to be sarcastic, not a good point.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3733
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Dec 21, 2017 at 5:13 PM

            Is there more similarity between flex TE/ in-line TE or Viper / Strong Safety?

            Who is the backup Viper?

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3733
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Dec 21, 2017 at 3:41 PM

        You are right that there can be an overlap in personnel and that the duties of the two positions are similar despite lining up in different places on the field. The Viper’s offensive analogue is the spread offenses hybrid RB/WR. The only hybrid the Michigan offense really utilizes is an H-back.

        If you lumped H-backs with FBs or TEs I wouldn’t argue at all. Michigan is using both “flex” TEs or FBs (converted TE) as H-backs, so that’s fine. If you want to put FBs-H-backs-TEs all in one bucket (as Mgoblog does) that is fine too.

        BUT the reason I differentiated (besides feeling especially agreeable today) is that TEs run routes on most passing plays and they are in on nearly every play Michigan runs. Neither is true for FBs. Michigan plays 3 safeties every down, they don’t always play 2 TEs and a FB.

        In short, there’s a bit more difference between a FB and a TE than a Viper and a Safety. It’s more like Flex TE vs Inline TE – a fine line and one that can flip personnel from down to down depending on the playcall.

  5. JC
    Comments: 196
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Dec 21, 2017 at 12:55 PM

    I don’t like seeing Newsome on the depth chart when he’s not practicing yet.

    I liked Hudson a lot as a defensive prospect. I don’t remember watching film of him at tackle, but I remember that’s what a lot of coaches were recruiting him as. Do you think he would be a liability or an option at LT next year?

    I ask because we need two dominant tackles to emerge from the stable. If it’s JBB and Steuber, great, if it’s Runyan and Hudson, awesome, but we need two. Maybe Cole’s departure will light a fire for some of these guys.

    Besides the OTs I feel great about this depth chart.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2593
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Dec 21, 2017 at 1:24 PM

      I think Hudson has the potential to be a left tackle. He definitely has the athleticism, IMO. I just don’t know if he would be ready so early. I would lean toward “liability” right now, but I haven’t seen him play OT since he was a senior in high school.

      • JC
        Comments: 196
        Joined: 8/17/2015
        JC
        Dec 21, 2017 at 5:00 PM

        Here’s hoping Frey can work some magic!

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3733
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Dec 21, 2017 at 3:43 PM

      This is why I expect Bredeson to move out to OT. There’s a decent chance that one of the RS Freshman will be ready or one of the older players to make a leap (in health or ability). Hoping for it to happen twice the odds get much longer. Not impossible. Not particularly likely though.

      I think most would agree Bredeson’s optimal position is OG but — so was Cole’s.

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