The Wolverine

June/July 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 33 "holding our breath" during the last few selections before choosing Butt to make sure he lasted until their spot. "Jake's not even close to the fifth round if he's not hurt," Elway later said at his club's press conference. "Sometimes that's where you can get good value. If you're willing to be pa- tient with them and give them time to get healthy, then we've got a darn good player." Butt noted during his turn with the media that the last time he suffered a torn ACL (in 2014) he was back within seven months. The 2016 John Mackey Award winner hopes to have a simi- lar recovery this time around and be on the field when the Broncos kick off their 2017 campaign. NFL.com listed him as one of their 10 third-day picks who can make an immediate impact. "I don't see much getting in Butt's way, especially if he stays true to form and picks up the offense quickly," Chad Reuter wrote. "This is a system that could suit his style quite well — and a team who could use dependable, intermediate options for their young quarterbacks." The final choice was an- other Wolverine coming off a knee injury; cornerback Jeremy Clark saw his senior season ended after only four games. Despite just 15 col- legiate starts and 36 games played (for a comparison, Butt started 37 and played in 49), Clark intrigued NFL teams enough with his size to come off the board in the sixth round to the New York Jets, at No. 197 overall. The 6-3 defensive back has played both cornerback and safety in his career, but he was announced as a corner- back. However, as a late-round pick there's a good chance that his roster spot and early playing time will be determined by special teams ability. "Clark got off to a great start this season, but wound up getting in- jured," McShay said. "He's had some injuries before, and he petitioned to the NCAA to get a sixth year of eli- gibility, but they said no. Now he's in the NFL Draft, and I'm glad to see him get picked because he has abil- ity, and it came on late. … The Jets have something to work with here, and I think he could be a sub-package, press-type corner." ❏ Michigan Draft Superlatives The Final Piece: DE Taco Charlton, Dallas Cowboys — The Cowboys desper- ately needed help on their defensive front line and in the secondary, and they addressed both with Michigan Men. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis has his work cut out to get on the field among a host of rookie defensive backs, but Charlton brings something different than what is on the roster. Projected starters Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence have 21.5 career sacks in their seven combined NFL seasons, and both are in the 6-4, 270- to 280-pound range. Charlton's length and pressure off the edge could help last year's 13-3 NFC East champions take the next step to winning more than just a division title. Turnaround Opportunity: S Jabrill Peppers, Cleveland Browns — Much like he did in Ann Arbor, Peppers could play a major role in a big-time turnaround at his new home. Michigan went 12-13 in the two years before he got onto the field on a full-time basis in 2015 (he played in three games as a true freshman in 2014 before being lost for the year due to injury), but was 20-6 in the two seasons with him at full strength. Many experts agree the Browns had one of the stronger drafts in 2017 — ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. noted, "I'm not sure any team added more overall talent" — and grabbing Peppers at No. 25 is a big reason why. The team has said they expect the second of their three first-round picks to play a major role on defense and special teams while moonlighting on offense a little. Instant Impact: CB Jourdan Lewis, Dallas Cowboys — Charlton and Peppers are obvious early impacters as first-round picks, but it's not often a NFL team can find a possible starter in the third round. That's exactly what the Cowboys did with the 28th pick of the stanza. The two-time All-American was a borderline first-round pick in some analysts' eyes and a steal in nearly all of them at this draft slot. Provided everything checks out off the field, he'll get immediately thrown into the competition for playing time among Dallas' three cornerback draft picks. Perfect Fit: DL Chris Wormley, Baltimore Ravens — The Ravens have added Michigan front-seven defenders Brennen Beyer and Willie Henry in the last two years, and they came back to the maize and blue well for this one. Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke tweeted the rock-steady lineman "is like what [general manager] Ozzie Newsome would make using the Madden create-a-player feature." Biggest Steal: TE Jake Butt, Denver Broncos — Before the torn ACL suffered in the Orange Bowl, Butt was considered by some to be a potential first-round pick. For the Broncos to get him all the way down in round five, especially when Butt has said he expects to be back on the field by week one of the 2017 sea- son, transcends the "steal" tag and may elevate this one to highway robbery. Drafted Higher Than Expected: Delano Hill, Se- attle Seahawks — There weren't many that expected Hill to go among the top 100 picks, but that was exactly what happened when he became the Wolver- ines' third of four third-round picks in the 2017 draft. At 6-1, 216 pounds, he physically fits right in with Se- attle's Legion of Boom secondary made up of jumbo- sized defensive backs. Head coach Pete Carroll even compared him to four-time Pro Bowler Kam Chancellor, a 6-3, 225-pound safety that can show Hill the ropes. Unexpected Undrafted: CB Channing Stribling, Cleveland Browns — On the other side of the coin, most analysts had a draftable grade on Stribling after he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media in his first year as a full-time starter. Stribling's long frame and 17 passes broken up in 2017 — the fourth-highest single-season total in U-M history — weren't enough to get him drafted, but he should continue to make plays alongside Jabrill Pep- pers with the Browns. — Ryan Tice Chris Wormley will be a great fit on the 3-4 defense employed by the Ravens' John Harbaugh, the brother of U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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