The quarterback position is a problem for the Michigan Wolverines right now. If Jim Harbaugh and his staff can address it, though, the rest of the roster is loaded with high-end talent.
That point was driven home this week by Todd McShay of ESPN Insider, as the NFL Draft guru released his ranking of college football teams with the best talent through the prism of the 2017 draft. Michigan came in at number three overall in the ranking (a lofty perch, to be sure) and McShay had this to say about Jake Butt, Jourdan Lewis, Jabrill Peppers and others:
The Jim Harbaugh Effect is in full bloom in Ann Arbor. After having only nine players drafted since 2014, Michigan could easily exceed that number in the 2017 draft. S Jabrill Peppers and CB Jourdan Lewis are standouts in a secondary that allowed just 158.5 passing yards per game last season (third overall).
They are both solid in coverage and have a chance to go in Round 1. Jake Butt finished second among Power 5 tight ends with 654 receiving yards in 2015. And with good speed and fluidity for his size, Butt is a true big-play threat in the passing game (11 receptions of 20 yards or more, tied for the most among TEs).
To put things in context, the Wolverines place seven (!) players in the top 77 overall for McShay and his group at ESPN, with Jehu Chesson and Grant Cole from the offense joining Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton on the defensive side. That is certainly a far cry from where the program was under Brady Hoke's tutelage (or even that of Rich Rodriguez) and it is a testament to the recruiting efforts in recent seasons.
With this type of praise comes expectation, though, and Michigan must live up to that in 2016. Two of the seven players (Peppers and Cole) have remaining eligibility beyond the coming season, but in order to fully capitalize on this somewhat unexpected boon, Harbaugh's team must come through with double-digit victories and serious contention for the Big Ten title.
If they don't, the "overrated" whispers will turn to screams.
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