The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 62 of 67

SEPTEMBER 2023 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 63 BY CLAYTON SAYFIE L egendary quarterback Tom Brady was the headliner among Michigan players in the NFL for 23 seasons after his standout career with the Maize and Blue from 1995-99. The 46-year-old has finally moved on, retiring following the 2022 season, but there's still plenty of Wolverine star power in the league. Here are the top 10 former U-M stand- outs that will be most worth following this year. • DL Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions: Entering his second NFL season, Hutchinson is one of the top defenders on a Lions squad that is the favor- ite to win the NFC North at +140 odds according to the DraftKings Sportsbook. Hutchinson led all rookies with 9.5 sacks last season, adding 3 inter- ceptions and 52 total tackles. He now ranks No. 88 on the NFL's list of the top 100 players ahead of the 2023 season. • LB Rashan Gary, Green Bay Packers: A fifth- year pro, Gary was taken off the physically unable to perform list after the second week of training camp, with the 25-year-old nearing a comeback from a torn ACL suffered last season. Prior to go- ing down, he started all nine games, recording 32 tackles, 7 stops for loss, 6 sacks and 12 quarterback hits. Gary has a lot to prove heading into the final year of his rookie contract. • DE Kwity Paye, Indianapolis Colts: The 2021 first-round pick lost 6 pounds and is down to 264 ahead of his third NFL season. He dealt with a nag- ging ankle injury but played in 12 outings last year, amassing 45 total stops, 13 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. The Colts lost 10 of their last 11 games in 2022, and Paye said during training camp that the group is "hungry" to turn things around. • OL Michael Onwenu, New England Patriots: He started all 17 games at right guard last season, and his 79.3 overall PFF grade checked in fourth among NFL offensive guards. Onwenu has been a valuable, versatile player for the Patriots through- out his career, and that won't change in his fourth year once he gets healthy after undergoing offsea- son ankle surgery. • WR Nico Collins, Houston Texans: He was fourth on the team with 481 receiving yards on 37 catches, plus scored 2 touchdowns, last season. He will be featured even more prominently this year, with leading receiver Brandin Cooks now on the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, Collins is the team's leading returning receiver and will be a top target for rookie signal-caller C.J. Stroud. • OLB David Ojabo, Baltimore Ravens: He played in only two games last season, after returning from a torn Achilles. With some experience — including ❱  MICHIGAN IN THE PROS 10 Michigan Players To Watch In The 2023 NFL Season Second-year pro Aidan Hutchinson led all rookies with 9.5 sacks last year. He now ranks No. 88 on the NFL's list of the top 100 players ahead of the 2023 season. PHOTO BY JEFF NGUYEN/COURTESY DETROIT LIONS Jake Moody • NFL The rookie had an up-and-down preseason for the San Francisco 49ers, missing 2 field goals in a 34-7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders Aug. 13 and failing on an extra point attempt versus the Denver Broncos Aug. 19. However, Moody drilled a 32-yard walk- off game-winning field goal to beat the Broncos, 21-20. He's also reportedly been strong in practice, leading to little concern inside the organization. Franz Wagner • NBA He scored a team-high 17 points in a 99-91 loss to the United States Aug. 20. Wag- ner is one of the top players on Germany's squad heading into the FIBA World Cup in Asia beginning Aug. 25. He's one of three Wolverines set for the World Cup, joining his brother Moritz Wagner (Germany) and Ignas Brazdeikis (Lithuania). Current U-M graduate forward Olivier Nkamhoua will represent Finland. Ronnie Bell • NFL Despite a pass slipping through his fingers for an interception, the dynamic seventh- round draft choice stood out in the San Francisco 49ers' second preseason game Aug. 19. Bell hauled in 7 catches (on 9 targets) for 114 yards. He also broke tackles — includ- ing one on a punt return — and finished with 74 yards after the catch. — Clayton Sayfie HEADLINERS Former Michigan athletes in the news this month

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - Sept 2023