2017 Season Countdown: #6 Chase Winovich

2017 Season Countdown: #6 Chase Winovich


August 27, 2017

Chase Winovich (image via MLive)

Name: Chase Winovich
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 245 lbs.
High school: Jefferson Hills (PA) Thomas Jefferson
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #15
Last year: I ranked Winovich #37 and said he would be a backup weakside end. He started two games and made 35 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
TTB Rating: 79

Winovich was an unknown quantity going into 2016 after spending 2014 as a linebacker and 2015 as a fullback/tight end. Jim Harbaugh liked his upside as an offensive player enough to move him to offense, but the high school quarterback didn’t seem to adjust to being a guy without the ball in his hands. But instead of moving back to linebacker, the staff bulked him up and plopped him at weakside end. I could see in the spring of 2016 that he was going to be quick enough and aggressive enough to pester offensive tackles and quarterbacks and be a contributor, and that came true. He backed up Taco Charlton at weakside end and finished the year with the second-most sacks on the team, despite being a backup.

Now that Charlton is with the Dallas Cowboys, Winovich’s spot is written in ink at weakside end. Some solid recruits back him up, but this is Winovich’s job. He should continue where he left off, and I expect an uptick in production now that he has been playing one spot for a second year in a row. He’s a smaller guy, but he plays with leverage and a non-stop motor. I think there’s a fair amount of talent in the Big Ten on the defensive line, but Winovich could be a second team all-conference guy this season.

Prediction: Starting weakside end; 40 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 9 sacks

17 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 182
    Joined: 9/15/2015
    ragingbull
    Aug 27, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    dont necessarily agree with the position here (id prob put winovich around 9-14) despite lack of experienced backups…but i agree hes highly valuable player set to have another solid year. and ive been saying theres a good chance he posts more sacks than gary (given the attention gary will receive not to mention winovichs insane motor).

    also ive seen several places list winovich as 2nd on the team in sacks last year…and while close, thats incorrect…pretty darn sure wormley had 6. takes nothing away from winovichs impact last year or projection this year, just a minor correction

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Aug 27, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    I just hope he (and Hurst) can hold up to starter’s reps…

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Aug 27, 2017 at 11:22 AM

      That’s the real question. Both of these guys have been touted for playing at a very high level last year, but if you know you’re only playing 30% of the snaps, you can go all out and not worry so much about getting worn down. It is by no means guaranteed that the same level of play will translate to 60-70% of snaps.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6272
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 27, 2017 at 3:19 PM

        Yes, this is the key for all our starting DL. Up to the backups to earn the snaps to not make the case. Up to the starters to earn that trust. Last year we had both.

        Winovich is exactly the type of guy you want stepping into this kind of role. He was excellent as a backup and took snaps away from a 1st round pick. No reason to doubt him at this point, but yes we will have to see.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Aug 27, 2017 at 1:07 PM

    I respect Winovich as a football player. He plays with great enthusiasm. Regardless, this spot is too high for Winovich in my opinion.

    Winovich is the 3rd best guy on the line at best. It’s not like he can’t be replaced on the weakside by moving someone. It seems like Winovich is getting this position by default? Surprised. Especially when I see him more as a pass rushing specialist rather than a complete player. Hope he proves me wrong.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Aug 27, 2017 at 1:17 PM

      Winovich may not be a great all-around defender, but a pass rush specialist is pretty much what the WDE is going to be in this defense. And we’re going to rely heavily on our pass rush this year, with our secondary appearing somewhat less solid than last year, at least to start, so I don’t think that this is an inordinately high rank for him.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6272
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 27, 2017 at 3:17 PM

        PFF gave Winovich an excellent grade against the run. I’m not sure his rep as a pass-rush specialist is justified.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3834
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Aug 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

      Okay, move someone…and who replaces the guy you moved? Put Gary at weakside end, and how good is your strongside end?

      Anyway, the secondary might be the weakest spot on the team. How do you cover up a weak secondary? You do it by creating a pass rush. If your front four or front seven guys can’t put pressure on the quarterback, then the secondary could very well get toasted. The defense is going to rely on its line to be successful, so I think this is where he belongs.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 6272
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Aug 27, 2017 at 3:16 PM

        Limitations to this of course. Pass rush can be neutralized. Max protect is still going to expose your corners. Quick throws are going to test them in space. Sound run game will keep the DEs from letting rip. Blitzes will stress the safety responsibilities, etc.

        I think you can make a case that none of our DL are THAT important because we have Mattison and so much talent. BUT, this year, none of those options are proven. So maybe Paye/Villain/Johnson/Kemp etc. can handle WDE duties and maybe they can’t. We only have a handful of proven players on the DL so I think valuing them this high is fair.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 528
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Aug 27, 2017 at 3:20 PM

        Vilain replaces Winovich or move Gary over to replace Winovich and Kemp replaces Gary. In fact, on run downs you could actually be better off having Kemp, Mone, Hurst and Gary.

        Winovich is the Duncan Robinson off the football team. Come on, that is funny.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 528
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Aug 27, 2017 at 4:03 PM

        You can’t create a pass rush unless your opponent can’t run for the most part. Winovich is obviously an important cog because Gary is going to have a lot of attention and your point is absolutely correct, a consistently great pass rush is going to help out the corners. This is going to be needed to help out young corners. Great point.

        All that being said, Winovich can be offset by Vilain. I see Winovich sort of like Bunting. He can make a tremendous impact but the guy behind him can probably do somewhat of the same job quality. Now a guy who UM absolutely can’t lose is McCray. Let me go check the countdown.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3834
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Aug 27, 2017 at 5:34 PM

          I mean, I think Vilain is pretty good, but obviously we have no idea whether he’s going to be able to contribute much this year or not. Winovich is the only proven commodity.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 6272
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Aug 27, 2017 at 8:38 PM

          If you’re assuming Vilain is the 2nd best WDE – then he is already playing a big chunk of snaps. So really you’re pulling in whoever WDE #3 is into Winovich’s snaps. Maybe generously split the snaps 50/50 between Vilain and whoever #3 is.

          More importantly the argument is based on the assumption that Vilain is significantly better than Ross/Singleton/Anthony/Furbush. This is just guessing about freshman.

          Finally you have to overcome the fact that Winovich graded out better than McCray did last year at his position, albeit in an easier role as a rotational player, not an every down starter.

          We can debate these guys respective values but we are just quibbling about a fine tuning at this point in the countdown. We’re in the top 10.

          • Avatar
            Comments: 528
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            michymich
            Aug 28, 2017 at 12:15 AM

            Here is the main point of contention. Is Winovich that much better than the 2nd stringer? A guy who is a specialty pass rusher just last year.

            Here is a point that hasn’t been mentioned. Is Winovich that good or was he a beneficiary of playing with Taco, Henry and Glasgow. I personally think Winovich is a very good specialty guy who is like the PF who puts back the misses from a guy who is getting double teamed down low.

            In regards to post below, is Winovich a burgeoning star or is he really an outside linebacker who has a matchup advantage at WDE. Does Winovich have a future in the NFL on the line or as an OLB? Reminds me a little of Peppers where he is benefitting from very good coaching and quality teammates. Not saying for one minute that Winovich isn’t good at what he does which is rush the passer. If he bull rushes a guy then I will be the first guy on this site to give him props.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1352
              Joined: 8/13/2015
              Roanman
              Aug 28, 2017 at 6:57 AM

              As Lanky pointed out above, what Winovich did well last year was stop the run. That was Taco, for the most part, getting after the QB.

              For Winovich to play on Sunday, he’s gonna have to either get bigger, and not just a little, or reacquaint himself with the two point stance and coverage.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 6272
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 27, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    I had Winovich a couple spots lower but at this point it’s a quibble. Dude is a burgeoning star and would probably be all-conference in many places. Good write-up, Thunder.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 528
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Aug 28, 2017 at 12:24 AM

    Great stuff. From the horse’s mouth. Cool kid but he knows his job/role.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8H8yPm34Q0

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