Mo Williams (Getty images), pick #43 of the NFL draft in 2001, started 100 games as a pro after starting for Michigan in 2000.
Michigan had a school record 11 players drafted in 2017. It was, for sure, a great day to be a Michigan Wolverine. In fact, as many Wolverines were drafted in 2017 as were drafted in the four previous years combined. In light of this, I decided to look back this week at another one of Michigan’s most successful draft classes: 2001.
The 2001 draft wasn’t as deep for the Wolverines, as only five players were picked, but it was an insanely talented and relatively unique group. All five players were taken in the first 43 picks of the draft, and they were all from the offensive side of the ball.
It was a strong week for our former Michigan athletes, but no one had a more eye-popping performance than Philadelphia Eagle Jason Avant. His team won 23-21 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he finished with seven receptions for 133 yards, including one of the most impressive one-handed grabs you’ll ever see. Avant has 38 receptions for 495 yards through 13 games, and his play looks to be improving alongside that of QB Nick Foles. Teammate Brandon Graham had two tackles in the win.
Honorable mention: Stevie Brown picked off Drew Brees twice as his Giants routed the Saints; he returned the two interceptions a total of 91 yards. Brown is now second in the NFL with seven interceptions and is also the Giants’ new single-season record holder for most interception return yards with 259. In addition to the picks, Brown had eight tackles, 2 pass breakups, and a forced fumble in the game.
Tom Brady and the Patriots beat up on the one-loss Texas by a score of 42-14. Brady threw for 296 yards and four touchdowns and torched the Texans on play action. He is quietly having another MVP-caliber season.
David Molk, banged up after nearly a full NFL season, was
placed on the Injured Reserve for the Chargers. The move cleared up a
roster spot that was filled by a healthy lineman, fellow Wolverine and current teammate Stephen Schilling.
After being released by the Seahawks, Braylon Edwards re-signed with one of his former teams, the New York Jets.
Martell Webb was released from the Colts’ practice squad.
Cam Cameron, who coached at Michigan from ’83 to ’93, was fired as the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.
David Harris recorded 10 tackles and a sack in a win over the Jaguars. He has a team-leading 101 tackles through 13 games.
Steve Hutchinson was placed on the Injured Reserve for the Titans due to a knee injury.
Jonas Mouton recorded his first career tackle against the Bengals earlier in the month.
Chad Henne went a dismal 21/43 passing with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in his third start of the year. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville’s starter to begin the season, was recently placed on the IR, so Henne should get a few more games to prove he’s starter-quality.
Steve Hutchinson has never been named as TTB’s former Michigan athlete of the week, probably because it’s hard to judge the performance of an offensive lineman if only given the chance to glance at game recaps and stat lines. Even with that excuse, Hutchinson’s absence from this series just isn’t cool, man. Here’s a quick, incomplete rundown of many of the career accomplishments from one of the greatest Wolverines of all time:
Four-year starter for Michigan at offensive guard
National Championship winner
four-time All-Big Ten selection
First round NFL draft pick
Signed the richest contract ever by an OG
Seven-time Pro Bowl selection, seven time All-Pro
Now with the Tennessee Titans and in his 12th NFL season, Hutchinson helped his team run for 177 yards against a very good Miami defense in a 37-3 blowout win this week. Two years remain on his contract at season’s end.
Honorable mention: The Jacksonville Jaguars lost to rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts by a score of 27-10, but Chad Henne saw significant playing time in the fourth quarter and performed well. Henne finished 10/16 passing for 121 yards with one touchdown and one interception following a tipped pass. Since the Jags are now 1-8 and have nothing else to talk about, fans have been creating some chatter about putting Henne in as the starter to see what he can do. If you’re really hardcore about Chad Henne, you can go to ChadHenneFans.org. Chad Henne!
Stevie Brown makes two tackles, does an interview, and has an article written about his role at safety after the return of both Giant starters.