This summer, the National Football Post is breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who might warrant interest from NFL teams in the 2010 draft.
The Michigan Wolverines struggled in 2008 under new coach Rich Rodriguez, but return a wealth of talent in 2009 and look capable of sending a solid group of NFL prospects to next year’s draft.
Brandon Minor: No. 4, RB, 6-0, 218
A downhill runner who hits the first hole he sees and doesn’t dance at the line of scrimmage. Isn’t very patient, but plays with a good pad level and drives his legs through initial contact. Displays good power and possesses a strong base, which makes him hard to knock off balance and wrap up. A blue-collar guy who does all the little things and showcases a willingness to block in the run or pass game.
Possesses only an average first step attacking the line of scrimmage, plays at one speed and isn’t going to run away from anyone at the second level. However, he’s physical through the hole and has the ability to run through arm tacklers and wear down opposing defenses. Doesn’t have much wiggle to his game and isn’t going to make many defenders miss in the open field.
Impression: Isn’t anything special, but is a tough, downhill back who will give you an honest day’s work between the tackles.
Greg Mathews: No. 13, WR, 6-3, 209
A big, good-looking target who will block down the field and stay on cornerbacks through the play. Is too high in his stance and has a tendency to bend first at the knee before getting into his route. Possesses the size and quickness to beat press coverage inside, but struggles getting down the field when releasing to the outside; consistently rounds himself into his route.
Knows how to find soft spots underneath and consistently secures the ball over the middle of the field. Lets the ball get into his body too often, but is physical after the catch. Does a nice job planting his foot in the ground as a route runner and using his short-area quickness to gain inside position on defenders. Displays good body control and has the ability to stop on a dime and find the ball quickly. However, he isn’t very explosive down the field and only has one gear to his game.
Impression: Could definitely fill a role as a possession-type receiver in the NFL, but needs to work on his initial step off the line to further enhance his game.
Tim McAvoy: No. 62, OG, 6-6, 300
A natural bender who sits into his stance well and fires off the ball with a low pad level for his size. Does a nice job extending his arms on contact and exploding into blocks. Lacks ideal power on contact, but has the ability to get a quick jolt on linemen and seal them away from the play. Is very coordinated shifting his way through traffic and getting out to the second level. Showcases a good burst pivoting out of his stance and pulling around the line, but gets too narrow in his base on contact and struggles driving defenders down the field.
Displays good initial quickness out of his stance in the pass game and possesses the lateral burst and coordination to quickly redirect. Lacks power in his punch when sliding laterally and struggles to engage on contact, but uses his long arms to keep defenders from getting in on his frame.
Impression: A natural bender who displays good coordination and has the ability to play in the NFL, but needs to continue to add strength to his game.
David Moosman: No. 60, OG, 6-5, 295
Exhibits good bend in his stance and fires off the ball low, but consistently gets jacked at the point of attack and pushed backward. Struggles getting much movement as an in-line run blocker and simply doesn’t have the length or base strength to be real effective in that area. Lacks short-area quickness out of his stance and struggles quickly sliding laterally to stonewall defenders shooting across his frame. Looks stiff in the hips and struggles changing directions inside.
Impression: A flexible athlete who can reach a moving target, but lacks the power and short-area quickness to handle NFL-caliber defensive linemen.
Stephen Schilling: No. 52, OT, 6-5, 305
Displays a smooth kick-step out of his stance and does a nice job reaching the corner quickly. Looks natural when asked to slide laterally on contact and possesses the footwork to mirror defenders in space. However, he gets a bit hunched over at times and struggles extending his arms on the outside. Does a nice job winning initial hand battles and lowering his pad level on contact, but too often allows defenders to get into his frame. Will overextend into blocks at times—especially in the run game—and open up the door inside.
Exhibits a strong punch at the point of attack and has the coordination to chip at the line and get into the second level. Does a nice job getting around on reach blocks and angling defenders away from the play. Demonstrates the athleticism to move up and down the line and cut down defenders in space.
Impression: Possesses a smooth kick-step and good coordination in both the run and pass game. Has the potential to develop into a solid all-around left tackle at the next level.
Brandon Graham: No. 55, DE, 6-1, 270
A thickly built defensive lineman who showcases a powerful-looking lower half and good flexibility out of his stance. Displays the strength to consistently hold the point of attack and set the edge vs. the run game. Does a nice job gaining initial separation with his punch, but lacks ideal closing speed toward the ball. Possesses an average first step off the edge, but doesn’t exhibit the burst to consistently reach the corner. Extends his arms well on his pass rush and uses his natural flexibility to dip under offensive linemen and collapse the pocket.
Displays good lateral quickness as a pass rusher and does a nice job firing off the ball wide, planting his outside foot, and exploding through the inside lane. Keeps his hands and legs in sync on his arm-over move and has power to simply drive his way though blocks once he gains an initial step.
Impression: Is never going to be any kind of sack artist in the NFL, but plays both the run and pass well and has the ability to stay on the field for three downs.
Donovan Warren: No. 6, CB, 6-0, 187
Displays good balance and fluidity in his back-pedal and does a nice job keeping his feet under him. Exhibits compact footwork, which allows him to quickly click and close on the football and/or drive on his receiver. Isn’t real thick, but demonstrates enough pop on contact to disengage ball from man. Is patient in his drop and has the second gear to flip his hips and run with receivers down the field.
However, he looks more comfortable opening up to the outside, where he can get a hand on receivers and keep his balance. Has a tendency to get too tall out of his transition inside, and allows receivers to cross his face and consistently gain separation.
Impression: A young cornerback who possesses the skill set and footwork to become a starter at the next level if he continues to develop.
Stevie Brown: No. 3, SS, 5-11, 215
Isn’t the most fluid or compact of safeties and has a tendency to get a bit leggy when asked to change directions. Lacks balance in his back-pedal and consistently widens his footwork before breaking down, which causes him to struggle driving on the ball. Does a nice job using his length to take on blocks at the second level and is a solid wrap-up tackler on all areas of the field.
Impression: A decent run defender, but struggles with his footwork and instincts vs. the pass. Looks like a big liability in coverage at the next level.
Be sure to check out the rest of my breakdowns at Nationalfootballpost.com.