By RICKY LINDSAY, Sports Editor
Michigan’s spring game is just over a week away, and Jim Harbaugh will be drafting the team for his debut as head coach.
Harbaugh’s spring game draft, a method he used while at Stanford, will be held on March 28, per mgoblue.com.
So with Harbaugh and company drafting the Wolverines, The Michigan Journal decided to get in on the action too. Staff Reporter Jeramy Stover and myself split Michigan’s spring roster into two teams, pick-by-pick, for the Journal’s edition of Drafting Michigan’s Spring Game.
Stover took the Maize team and I took the Blue team, and we drafted Wolverines based on Harbaugh’s format in 2010. At Stanford, the Cardinal team received the first pick and took Heisman candidate Andrew Luck, while the White team got three straight picks (2-4) before selections shifted to pairs.
We flipped for the first pick and he happily won. Our goal was to draft the entire roster, but just over an hour later and 50-some picks into the draft, we realized this would be tedious. There were a couple of “Is this player available?” questions, so we decided to end it at 70 picks. Thirty-five players for Stover. Thirty-five players for myself.
My game plan was to chase the names early and swipe up studs as the draft progressed. There was a lot of high-risk, high-reward selections with this strategy, because most of the players were unproven. This tactic reflects on my receivers and offensive linemen.
Stover focused on drafting skill players early, because he feels the spring game will heavily involve them compared to the brutes.
Derrick Green went No. 1 overall, because Stover felt that, combined with his hype and pre-injury performance, he was the safest pick. I followed it up by selecting Mason Cole, Jabrill Peppers and Jake Butt.
Constructing an all-around defense and offensive line early were priorities for both Stover and myself. It wasn’t until the 29th pick when the first quarterback — Shane Morris – came off the board. And once Morris was gone, the two competing for starts immediately followed. Stover sought to put a blockade on the position and drafted Alex Malzone with his next pick, leaving me with Wilton Speight.
The results from the draft pleased me. I considered Drake Harris at No. 39 overall was a steal and was overjoyed that Ty Isaac and Taco Charlton were available at picks seven and eight.
Stover was pleased with his depth at linebacker and defensive back. Grabbing Darboh and Chesson, two players he views as Michigan’s one and two receivers in 2015, was a win for him. Fringe players such as Bryane Mone, Joe Bolden and Jeremy Clark, who all earned a bit of praise in 2014, factored into Stover’s plan as breakout candidates.
Michigan’s spring game will be held at Michigan Stadium on April 4 at 12 p.m. Along with the positional previews, the Journal will have coverage leading up to the game and postgame coverage.