2016 Michigan Spring Football Preview: Defensive End

Michigan’s spring practice begin this Monday at IMG Academy and I’ve been previewing each position group going into the practice. Next up, the defensive end spot which should become a main spot in Don Brown’s defense

Overview

Like multiple positions, defensive end is a position in transition for Michigan (almost rhymed perfectly). Brown’s defense relies heavily on rushing the passer and there are questions on who fits the weak side end spot best.

Charlton is by far the most experienced end and can play either side though he may need to shed some weight to maintain that explosive first step he’s flashed during the fall. After that, things get interesting. Lawrence Marshall looked to be in the dog house throughout the year and this may be a make or break offseason. And he may need to pick it up to fend off Shelton Johnson.

Pre-Spring Expected Depth Chart

  1. #33 Taco Charlton, SR 
  2. #93 Lawrence Marshall, JR*
  3. #8 Shelton Johnson, SO* 
  4. #92 Cheyenn Robertson, SO
  5. #88 Jack Dunaway, SO
  6. Ron Johnson, FR

Name to Watch Closest

Charlton. The now senior (wow, time flies) is in his final year of eligibility and is set up perfectly to not only have a big year but also become a 1st or 2nd day NFL Draft pick. He’s been one of the most physically impressive defensive ends in the B1G since his arrival but his technique and consistency has kept him from truly making the impact he’s capable of. But with the playing time available and Brown’s aggressive system, this spring could be the first step into an All-B1G senior year.

Don’t Forget About Me

Marshall. Going into his junior year, everyone expected Marshall would be a standout for Michigan’s defense. However, he’s had issues getting onto the field for multiple reasons which makes this spring an important one. If he can figure it out on and off the field, it would greatly benefit himself and the team.

Breakout Prediction

Johnson. When Michigan signed the Sunshine State star in 2015, his measurables and potential jumped off the page. And it looks like UM may get to see what he can do early on. According to The Wolverine’s Chris Balas, Johnson continues to add size in the weight room and may have “the biggest upside” of all of the redshirt freshmen ($). If he puts in a great offseason, there’s a very good chance he’s not only in the two-deep but he could become a true threat for this defense.

Other Spring Positional Previews

Who do you believe will leave spring ball as the starting weak side and strong side defensive ends? Breakout players? Add your predictions in the comment section below! 

Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports