B1G represented well on Pro Football Focus' top 25 breakout players of 2016
Anybody can put together an All-American or an All-Conference team.
By now, you’ve probably seen a bunch of those. And if you haven’t, check out this one, or this one, or even this one.
Coming up with breakout players is a different ballgame.
Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo did just that. The college football analyst broke down his top 25 breakout players for the 2016 season, eight of which hailed from the B1G.
Not surprisingly, seven of those eight players came on the defensive side, five of which were defensive linemen. The B1G’s lone offensive representative on Palazzolo’s list was Iowa tight end George Kittle, who figures to see an increased role without Henry Krieger-Coble.
Here’s a excerpt of what Palazzolo had to say about each B1G player. To see the full list, click here:
3. Ryan Glasgow, Michigan DT — He’s seen the field for 753 snaps the last two seasons, posting a strong +32.7 grade against the run, and last year he improved his pass rush grade to +9.0 on the strength of a sack, four QB hits, and 12 hurries on 179 rushes. Glasgow is part of a loaded defensive line at Michigan that is often difficult to single out the best of the bunch, but he’ll have plenty of moments as the anchor at nose tackle.
4. Kevin Maurice, Nebraska DT — He was unblockable against Southern Miss — picking up nine hurries on only 32 rushes — and in his only extended game action, Maurice posted a +6.4 overall grade on a 76-snap effort against Illinois in Week 5. He plays low and explodes into blockers, showing equal ability to blow up both runs and passes. Maurice will be the anchors of the Nebraska defensive line in 2016.
6. Marcus Newby, Nebraska LB — In addition to his strong work in the running game, Newby graded positively in coverage, including three passes defensed on only 18 targets, and he added a sack, two QB hits, and eight hurries on his 43 blitzes. He’s played only 362 snaps in his career, but he’s made the most of them with a +18.9 overall grade.
7. Taco Charlton, Michigan DT — The Wolverines’ defensive line is top heavy with most of their returning talent at defensive tackle, and while Charlton is certainly not slight at 6-6 and 275 pounds, he brings the best edge rushing dynamic on the team. Look for Charlton to play at least 600 snaps this season while continuing to develop into one of the nation’s best edge rushers.
8. George Kittle, Iowa TE — While teammate Henry Krieger Coble saw the majority of the snaps at tight end a year ago (879), Kittle was the better all-around player and he’s the best all-around tight end heading into 2016…Kittle ranked eighth among all returning tight ends in both run blocking and receiving, and he’ll get a much bigger opportunity to showcase his skills with Krieger Coble off to the NFL.
13. Kemoko Turay, Rutgers DE — Turay was on this list a year ago on the strength of his pass rush ability and athleticism, and he’s back on the list after failing to earn full-time snaps in 2015…The key in 2016 will be to improve against the run and get on the field for at least 500-plus snaps. If he does, expect Turay to notch a 10-sack season and grab the attention of NFL scouts.
16. Jack Cichy, Wisconsin LB — Last season, he made an impact in all phases, particularly as a pass rusher and in coverage. He rushed the passer only 60 times, but came back with five sacks, four QB hits, and eight hurries. In coverage, he posted an 83.7 grade as he had a knack for getting his hands in passing lanes, finishing with four passes defensed despite being targeted only nine times. Cichy capped the season with a six-pressure outing (three sacks, one QB hit, two hurries) against USC in the Holiday Bowl and he’s ready for a big 2016 season.
19. Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE — Replacing the nation’s top-graded defensive linemen (Joey Bosa) is no easy task, but Hubbard showed his potential on his 346 snaps as a redshirt freshman…He picked up seven sacks, six QB hits, and nine hurries on only 186 rushes while holding his own in the run game. Given his lack of experience at the position and strong production last season, the future is bright for Hubbard.