Note: Only Seniors being observed at this point.
When Alabama has the ball I was focusing on their offensive line, more specially OG Chance Warmack and C Barrett Jones. And while Jones might be the better prospect, Warmack was the one who shined. He imposed his will physically and seemed to dominate every snap. Instead of just catching the defender and holding ground like mot OG’s, Warmack was constantly driving his legs and knocking the DL off balance.
He did have a few instances in pass protection where he was caught off balance and was beat to his outside, but it was nothing to be concerned about. I think right now he can develop into an elite run-blocker and very good pass protector.
For Barrett Jones it seemed like business as usual. I was shocked how natural he looked under center, and that versatility to play any spot on the line gives him tremendous value at the next level. There was never an errant snap, and he fired off the ball quickly and got into position rather smoothly. He’s a true technician in the run game and does a good job getting to the second level. He performed just like we thought he would and there’s not much to be said other than he looks like the best OL prospect in this draft.
As I mentioned in this games preview, TE Michael Williams brings size and ability to block in the run game as inline TE. On a TD catch he did a good job getting around a chip attempt by the TE and found a soft spot and hauled in the reception. He doesn’t fit the mold of the next wave of athletic TE’s who are athletic and stretch the field vertically, but he could contribute as a solid #2 who is an asset in run protection.
DE’s Damion Square and Quinton Dial entered this game as a couple of prospects to keep an eye on. Dial didn’t start, but he made an impact with a sack and 3 tackles. He looks very relentless and plays with good leverage. Dial started, but only had one tackles. While he never flashed, he was constantly getting pressure and plugging run lanes.
I gave LB Nico Johnson a conservative grade entering the season, as I wanted to see if he could be the guy after the departure of several key LBs to the NFL. While he didn’t start, he was very solid. He was overshadowed by CJ Mosley, but he made good plays but wasn’t overly flashy. He’s good in run support, but still has yet to show if he can be a dynamic player.
S Robert Lester only finished with one tackle, but had an effect on several plays around the line of scrimmage. He lined up all over the field and shows a good ability to diagnose plays. I didn’t spend too much focusing on Lester, with Dee Millner stealing the spotlight, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of him as the season goes on.
QB Denard Robinson will be drafted on talent and speed alone. He most likely will switch to a RB/WR role for the next level. He showed terrible footwork and doesn’t breakdown the defense. He’s very rarely parallel with the line, which causes erratic throws. It will be tough to get a true read on what Robinson can do at the next level. The only thing we can look at is his ability to run in the open field.
WR Roy Roundtree is much better than what he showed against Alabama, but against that defense, and Robinson’s lackluster play, Roundtree felt the effects. He did show aggressiveness when blocking downfield, but it was hard to get a true read on him in this game.
There was a trio of prospects on each level that I was watching on the Wolverines defense. DE Craig Roh showed a solid motor, but wasn’t flashy.
LB Kenny Demens was a huge disappointment. He didn’t show strength to shed blockers, and was out of position to make a tackle on several others. Demens definitetly had his stock take a hit with his performance against Alabama.
I did come away with a positive attitude regarding Safety Jordan Kovacs. He was always more than willing to help in run game and was effective doing it. Never looked lost and did a good job reacting to plays. We didn’t get to see too much in pass defense as he was mostly in-the-box, but he was one of they few defenders who wasn’t dominated by Crimson Tide offense.