ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 10: Running back Justin Jackson #21 of the Northwestern Wildcats runs for a short gain as defensive lineman Ryan Glasgow #96 of the Michigan Wolverines gives chase during the third quarter of the game on October 10, 2015 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Wildcats 38-0. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Michigan's defensive line features prominently on this list of 2016 breakout candidates


The Michigan Wolverines are regularly included in discussions concerning the top defenses in college football, but the great majority of the attention is paid to the secondary. Jabrill Peppers and Jourdan Lewis are both preseason All-Americans according to various publications, and especially in the case of Peppers, NFL stardom appears to be on the horizon.

However, Michigan's defensive line is also an area of incredible strength when it comes to the upcoming 2016 campaign and Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus lists two members of that position group among his top 25 "breakout players".

First, defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow lands at number three overall:

The argument could be made that Glasgow has already broken out as he boasted the nation's No. 19 run-stopping grade before going down to injury last season, but since he only played 332 snaps, he still qualifies as a breakout candidate. He's seen the field for 753 snaps the last two seasons, posting a strong +32.7 grade against the run, and last year he improved his pass rush grade to +9.0 on the strength of a sack, four QB hits, and 12 hurries on 179 rushes. Glasgow is part of a loaded defensive line at Michigan that is often difficult to single out the best of the bunch, but he'll have plenty of moments as the anchor at nose tackle.

Glasgow's role is perhaps the most clearly defined on what is a deep position group, and he was one of the better nose tackles in the Big Ten a year ago. Next to him, though, is Taco Charlton, who ranks at number seven according to PFF's list:


While Charlton is certainly not slight at 6-6 and 275 pounds, he brings the best edge rushing dynamic on the team. Look for Charlton to play at least 600 snaps this season while continuing to develop into one of the nation's best edge rushers.

If there is a weakness on Michigan's defensive line, it comes in the form of a lack of edge-rushing talent, but even at his massive size (see above), Charlton can get after the quarterback in a big way. It will be interesting to see how the defensive staff deploys Charlton when the season opens, but you can never have too many quality defensive lineman and Michigan will put that theory into practice in 2016.