2012 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan-style

Tag: Troy Woolfolk

26Apr 2012
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2012 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan-style

Mike Martin will probably be the first Wolverine drafted, but not until Friday night

Last year saw only linebacker Jonas Mouton and offensive tackle Steve Schilling get drafted, both by the San Diego Chargers.  It’s no sure thing that Michigan will beat that number this year, especially now that tight end Kevin Koger suffered an Achilles injury.  Here’s a look at the Wolverines who are eligible for the draft:

Mike Martin, DT
Martin is the likely top choice out of Michigan.  He’s 6’1 3/8″, 306 lbs. and ran a 4.86 forty yard dash at the NFL Combine.  He also put up 36 repetitions on the 225 lb. bench press.  Martin is too undersized to play nose tackle in the NFL, but I think he can play as a defensive end in a 3-4 look or as a 3-tech defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense.  Martin is pretty quick and uses leverage very well, and best of all, he’s a hard worker with a good motor.  I don’t know if Martin will be a Pro Bowler, but he could have a ten-year career.
Projection: 3rd round to Chargers

David Molk, C
Molk is 6’0 7/8″, 298 lbs. and ran a 5.2 forty.  The general knock on Molk is that he’s not very big, which is true.  He is very quick, though, and excelled in the zone blocking system run by Rich Rodriguez from 2008-2010.  Molk looks like an NFL backup, but one of the problems with him will be that he doesn’t offer any position flexibility – he’s a center and that’s it.  Lots of teams like their backup centers to be able to be plugged in at guard, too.  I doubt anyone’s going to hand Molk a starting center job, but he could be brought in as the heir apparent to a veteran center or to work in for a zone running team.
Projection: 5th round to Texans

Junior Hemingway, WR
Hemingway is 6’0 7/8″, 225 lbs., and ran a 4.51 forty yard dash at the NFL Combine, which is much faster than I expected him to run.  Hemingway doesn’t play that fast, and his real strength seems to be the timing on his jump balls and his ability to outmuscle opposing receivers.  For a receiver with just average height, 225 lbs. is a lot.  Hemingway struggled with staying healthy early in his career, and his inability to get separation consistently limit him to being a possession receiver at the next level.
Projection: 6th round to Bears

Ryan Van Bergen, DE
Van Bergen is a 6’4 1/2″, 290 lb. defensive end with a 4.99 forty.  He’s a high character guy who has a little bit of surprising athleticism.  He lacks the pass rush abilities to make a star-level impact at the next level, but he could be an Aaron Smith-like defensive end for a 3-4 team or a left/strongside end for a 4-3 team.  I think he might be able to play for five or six years, but his ceiling is probably a journeyman type of career.
Projection: Undrafted

Kevin Koger, TE
Koger measured in at 6’3 3/4″ and 253 lbs. with a 4.8 forty.  He was borderline draftable before hurting his Achilles, so I sincerely doubt whether he’ll get picked.  Koger has decent size and speed, but he’s not a particularly good runner after the catch and his hands are a bit shaky.  He might be able to be a second or third tight end for someone, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a starter.
Projection: Undrafted

Other undrafted players: WR Kelvin Grady, OT Mark Huyge, WR Martavious Odoms, RB Michael Shaw, CB Troy Woolfolk

15Feb 2012
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2011 Season Grades: Defense

I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but Jordan Kovacs will be Michigan’s top returning defender, according to my grades
(image via Maize and Blue Nation)

Over the last three games of Michigan’s season, I took the time to grade the defense.  For individual games, you can look at the grades for Nebraska, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech.  The following shows each player’s cumulative grade:

MMartin: +36
RVanBergen: +24
JKovacs: +21
JRyan: +16
KDemens: +12
FClark: +11
WHeininger: +5
CAvery: +4
CRoh: +3
BBeyer: +1
JBlack: +1
WCampbell: +1
DMorgan: +1
JFurman: 0
DHollowell: 0
JVanSlyke: 0
QWashington: 0
MJones: -1
RTaylor: -1
NBrink: -2
BHawthorne: -2
TGordon: -2
BCountess: -3
TWoolfolk: -3
JFloyd: -16

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that defensive linemen seem to rocket to the top of the grading scale, while defensive backs linger toward the bottom.  By the nature of the sport of football (and the angles that television uses), defensive linemen and linebackers are more involved in the game.  And when the ball is in the air, roughly 60% of the time it’s going to result in a completion and an angry defensive back.

Obviously, this three-game sample is not indicative of the entire season.  For example, J.T. Floyd’s best game was probably against Illinois, which isn’t a game I graded.  On the flip side, Frank Clark ended up with a +11 largely because he was outstanding in the Virginia Tech game.

24Jan 2012
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2012 Players All-Star Classic

Cornerback/safety Troy Woolfolk will be participating in the
Players All-Star Classic on February 4

The Players All-Star Classic will be played in Little Rock, AR, at 4:00 p.m. on February 4.  Cornerback Troy Woolfolk (spelled “Woolfork” on the PASC roster) will be playing for the North, and linebacker Marell Evans has received an invitation to play as well, but he has not yet accepted.

Here’s a list of other players from around the country who might be of interest to Michigan fans:

TE Garrett Celek – Michigan State
DT Erik Lattimore – Penn State
WR Derek Moye – Penn State
CB Troy Woolfolk – Michigan

WR Jarrett Boykin – Virginia Tech
OG Jaymes Brooks – Virginia Tech
WR Toney Clemons – Colorado*
OT Blake DeChristopher – Virginia Tech
OT Taylor Dever – Notre Dame
S Eddie Whitley – Virginia Tech

*Played for Michigan in 2008-09 before transferring

1Jan 2012
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Defensive Backs Preview: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech

This is Jayron Hosley (#20).  I bet #41 is gonna catch him.

Starters: Redshirt junior J.T. Floyd (6’0″, 185 lbs.) started 11 games at cornerback; he was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention after recording 45 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble.  True freshman cornerback Blake Countess (5’10”, 176 lbs.) started the final 5 games of the season; he has made 36 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 6 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.  Fifth year senior Troy Woolfolk (6’0″, 191 lbs.) starts at free safety after beginning the year as the starting cornerback; he has notched 29 tackles and 2 pass breakups on the year.  Redshirt junior Jordan Kovacs (6’0″, 197 lbs.) started 11 games at strong safety; he ended the regular season with 64 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles.
Backups: Redshirt sophomore Thomas Gordon (5’11”, 208 lbs.) started 9 games and arguably should have held his starting job over Woolfolk at free safety; Gordon made 59 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, 4 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles.  Sophomore cornerback Courtney Avery (5’11”, 173 lbs.) started 2 games at nickel corner; on the season he has 24 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1/2 a sack, 2 interceptions, 3 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries (1 returned for an 83-yard touchdown).

Starters: Junior cornerback Jayron Holsey (5’10”, 171 lbs.) started 12 games at cornerback and was named Second Team All-ACC; he made 59 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, and 8 pass breakups. The other starting corner will probably be Cris Hill (5’11”, 180 lbs.), a fifth year senior who has 5 starts; Hill has 33 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, and 6 pass breakups.  Free safety Antone Exum (6’0″, 220 lbs.) was All-ACC Honorable Mention; he has made 85 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, and 10 pass breakups.  Senior rover Eddie Whitley (6’1″, 200 lbs.) was named Second Team All-ACC; he has 78 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 interceptions on the year.
Backups: Part-time cornerback Kyle Fuller was discussed in the linebackers preview, since he will likely start at weakside linebacker; he’s essentially a nickel corner.  Redshirt freshman cornerback Detrick Bonner (6’0″, 189 lbs.) is the only other significant contributor in the defensive backfield; he started two games at cornerback and has 26 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception on the year.

Going purely by accolades, J.T. Floyd is Michigan’s best defensive back, and even he could only manage honorable mention when it came to all-conference selections.  Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has two or three All-ACC Second Teamers in the backfield, depending on where you place Kyle Fuller.  Holsey himself has more career interceptions as a junior (12) than the entirety of the Michigan defensive backfield (10).

As for team rankings, it’s somewhat equal.  Virginia Tech is #17 in pass efficiency defense and #39 in pass defense, while Michigan is #36 in pass efficiency defense and #17 in pass defense.  It helps the Hokies that their front seven (and nickel corners) get after the quarterback and are #11 nationally in sacks.

However, the individual numbers suggest that Virginia Tech has the better defensive backfield.  Their starters have the edge in interceptions (7 to 3) and tackles for loss (27 to 17), as well as all-conference selections.  Holsey is a better cover corner than anyone Michigan has at this point, and the rest of Michigan’s secondary doesn’t make up the difference.

Advantage: Virginia Tech

8Dec 2011
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Michigan vs. Ohio State Grades: Defense

Desmond Morgan struggled with Braxton Miller’s speed but otherwise looks like a solid player for the Wolverines

I once again worked out some grades for Michigan’s defense against OSU (see also: Nebraska).  Grades for each play ranged from +3 to -3 for good/bad reads, filling/missing assignments, and physical superiority/inferiority.

+10 . . . Not as dominant as in previous games, but doesn’t get beaten – ever
RVanBergen: +8 . . . More big plays than Martin, but got out of rush lane a couple times
WHeininger: +6 . . . Physically overmatched, but slanting helped him be effective
KDemens: +5 . . . Solid tackler who doesn’t give ground
JKovacs: +5 . . . Decent day but took a late hit penalty
CAvery: +3 . . . Consistently solid and then made a huge pick to seal the game
JBlack: +2 . . . Nice play near goal line to keep his feet and chase down Braxton Miller
TGordon: +2 . . . Beaten in pass coverage but made some nice tackles in open field
DMorgan: +2 . . . Usually in position but not fast enough to keep up with Miller.  Future MIKE?
WCampbell: +1 . . . Didn’t play much but held his ground when he did
CRoh: +1 . . . Had some nice pass rushes but big mistake on Miller’s TD run
JRyan: +1 . . . OSU ran away from him most of the game
BCountess: 0 . . . Got lucky on an overthrow, but mostly tight coverage
NBrink: -1 . . . Unfair to be matched up against Mike Adams but got blown off the ball
MJones: -1 . . . Just isn’t very fast or aggressive
TWoolfolk: -5 . . . Seemed to make some bad reads
JFloyd: -10 . . . Beaten deep a couple times, missed tackle on Dan Herron’s TD run

It sure seemed like defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was willing to take a lot of risks in this game, in hopes that Braxton Miller would make some freshman mistakes.  He did, but not a lot.  It looked like Mattison realized that his defensive line had been playing extremely well for the last several weeks and his game plan revolved around them dominating the game.  The starters combined for a +25 grade with Craig Roh being the weak link.

DeVier Posey is a great deal better than J.T. Floyd and Blake Countess.  There’s no way around it.  Michigan doesn’t have anyone who can handle him on the regular, so it might have been a good idea to try to force Miller to scramble and look to check down.  Miller probably played his best game of the season when it comes to throwing the ball, because they put almost the entire game on his shoulders.

OSU tried to take advantage of freshman weakside linebacker Desmond Morgan, but he held up pretty well.  Morgan was too slow in the open field to catch Miller a couple times, but it’s no surprise that an inside linebacker is going to be at a disadvantage against a guy like him.  Otherwise, Morgan made some excellent plays inside and blew up fullback Zach Boren a couple times.  He might lack the athleticism to stay at WILL for his entire career at Michigan, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slide over and replace Demens in 2013.