Michael has the size, strength and balance to be a potential dominating defensive lineman for the team that drafts him. He does an excellent job defending against the run and has the strength and mature techniques to rush the passer. He can play in a 1-gap or 2-gap defense and in multiple fronts. Right now Michael reminds me of, and plays like, Barry Cofield (DT Washington Redskins) but he has the potential to be a better pass rusher if he slims down a little and plays DE in a 3-4 defense. Michael is a good tackler and if he is not double-teamed, will change the line of scrimmage and make tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He is smart and when he can't get to the QB, he will put his hands up in the air and knock the pass down. Michael is a defensive lineman that can play multiple positions on the line of scrimmage and play them all at a high level. You might have to wait for him to learn the tricks of the trade, but in a few years you should have a core player and a fan favorite to add to your defensive line.
Michael is excellent against the run but will struggle rushing the passer until he learns better techniques and gains better explosion off the line in pass rushing situations. He could become a dominating lineman if he becomes more than just a two down player. His college team took him off the field in most pass rushing situations during the season. Michael will also have to work on his physical stamina and get into better football shape. Slim this kid down to 290 lbs and I think you will see his pass rushing skills come to light.
There is a lot of upside with Michael. He has talent and gives excellent effort. He is smart and is still learning and growing. I think his impact position is as a DE in a 3-4 defense. If you draft him and use him in a 4-3 defense as a DT, he will have the same type of impact that Barry Cofield has for the Redskins. He will be a solid defensive tackle whose strength is playing the run. Draft him, slim him down and use him as a DE in a 3-4 and this kid could become a Jason Pierre Paul (DE NY Giants) type lineman. Most 3-4 teams will rate Michael higher than 4-3 teams. If I were a playoff team and had a 3-4 defense, I would draft Michael in the first round and never look back. All Michael needs is a little time to work on his conditioning and techniques and the potential for him to dominate will show itself in a year or two. I have struggled a little bit putting a TBR score on Michael because he is coming out early and I'm not sure of his pass rushing skills and I profile for 32 different teams. But I am sure of one thing. I want this kid on my team. If it takes reaching for him just a little bit because you're not sure if he can become the pass rusher his talent suggest, I would do it anyway. He might not be dominating but he should be solid and become an important part of your run stuffing defense no matter at what point in the draft you select him.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Jan /12