By now, it’s pretty well documented that I am partial to players that I’ve watched play college ball, especially at the University of Michigan. That said, I truly believe Jake Ryan was one of the steals of the draft. He is gifted, a physical and instinctual player who, to an extent, was undervalued based on the recent lack of success from the Wolverines.
He plays with an intelligent mindset, keeping the ball in front of him first and foremost, while always finding good routes to the carrier. Some scouts were wary – based on tape, he was slow to rise after getting knocked down. However, I still think this guy is a steal for a fourth round draft pick. I mean, they would practically cut your hand off for stealing in other countries for endeavors such as the likes of drafting this guy so late! All levity aside, Ryan plugs a position at ILB that is sorely needed and will, for the foreseeable future, leave Clay Matthews to work the outside and have more freedom. Win-Win for all!
Ryan is a man who comes from humble beginnings. Coming out of High School at St. Ignatious in Ohio, he was not regarded as a valuable asset or high recruit. He mostly accrued offers from Mac and middle tier programs, until he received an offer from Michigan and Miami. He eventually ended up committing to Michigan. At a rock solid 6’3 and 237 pounds, Ryan made quite the impact at Michigan. He’s not only built for football, but has the brains for it as well – his instincts reside somewhere in uncharted territory.
The University of Michigan football loses to Michigan State University, 35-11, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., on Oct. 25, 2014.
Ryan did not receive a whole lot of playing time his freshmen year, but broke out his sophomore year with 88 tackles with a record 16 for a loss. He tore his ACL in summer training his junior year, but returned late October, seemingly losing some of the momentum he had gained the previous year. In his senior season he recorded an astounding 112 tackles with 14 for a loss, and was also a captain and leader for the Wolverines, who ended up with an abysmal 5-7 record.
I’ve seen this guy blow up plays at Michigan and am confident he will be doing so at the next level. He is a studious guy with a strict work out regimen, augmented with a copious amount of film study and book work. A recipe for success if you ask me.
Returning our focus back to the Packers, Mike McCarthy stated that “number one, Clay is an outside linebacker. He’s a pass-rusher. That’s his premium position.” That gives Ryan an outstanding opportunity to step in on day 1 and make contributions. Ryan is a self proclaimed “football junkie”, so it would seem he would be able to adapt to the pro game with a relative amount of ease. He will be a valued member of the Packers with a 4.65 40 and the ability to run through heavy traffic.
The job has not been given to Ryan, as we all know how the camps and preseason tend to unfold. However, coming to Michigan with only two power 5 conference scholarship offers, he is not averse to proving himself. He has already had to do that before and it bode pretty well for him. Ryan was quoted in an interview saying, “It is a dream come true to be a Packer.” Throughout the course of the interview, he also reiterated the fact that he is, “happy to be a Packer.” I’m betting Packers’ fans are happy about it too.
Look for this guy to be making a big impact come around November! Check out some of his highlights