Departing captain and defensive anchor Chris Wormley came from the Michigan/Ohio State battleground that is Toledo, Ohio. Fortunately for Michigan Wolverines fans, he chose the former in 2012, becoming a large part of Michigan’s reversal of fortunes in recent years. Leaving Ann Arbor after his fifth year, Wormley enters the 2017 NFL Draft as a potential top 50 pick.
After a redshirt year in 2012, Wormley saw the field in 2013 and contributed 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as a reserve. His potential was evident, and he had a “first guy off the bus” look to him, even in his early years.
Wormley was fortunate to be tutored throughout his entire career by defensive guru Greg Mattison, but he really began his ascent in 2015 when Harbaugh and Durkin came to Ann Arbor. That year he came out of the gates like his hair was on fire, and for a good part of the season, he led the nation in tackles for loss, playing some of his best ball during Michigan’s three game shutout streak.
He finished that season with 43 total tackles (25 solo), with 14.5 being for loss and 6.5 sacks.
His numbers dipped slightly his senior year, but his impact on the game never waned, and he finished his five year career with 119 tackles, 31.5 for loss, and 17.5 sacks. Wormley’s career totals for sack yardage are good for 10th in Michigan history (tied with fellow lineman Taco Charlton), and 20th in career tackles for loss.
Big Worm had a solid combine and pro day, measuring in at 6’5 and 298. His 4.86 40-yard dash and 4.59 20-yard shuttle at his pro day are very much above average for a guy his size, one that can play either inside or out on the line which he showed the ability to do throughout his time in the Maize and Blue.
Wormley’s game probably ultimately translates best to the inside at the next level. He is big enough to disrupt the run with good technique and leverage, and can collapse the pocket on the inside if given a little bit of time. His outside rush is based more on power than finesse, and most of his sacks came when he was given ample time to overpower his man.
Always a sure tackler, Wormley rarely misses an opportunity to deliver a big hit, and had several momentum shifting plays throughout his career. He has excellent height and wingspan, so he can be an asset blocking kicks and disrupting passing lanes, although he needs to show more of the latter. His high football I.Q and leadership are an asset to the locker room as well.
What might cause Wormley to fall out of the first, or potentially even second round; is his perceived lack of elite athleticism. The raw power that won him so many one-on-one battles in college will be less effective against larger, stronger NFL linemen. He does not possess an array of pass rushing moves of the edge, and will have stretches where he struggles to disengage from blockers.
It is likely that Wormley is picked up in the second to mid-fourth round range in two weeks. Depending on scheme, the Michigan stalwart could thrive as an above average run stuffer in the NFL. He may never be your primary pass rusher, but with his physicality, big frame, and lateral quickness, Wormley could easily have a ten year or longer career at the next level as a key rotational piece.
What is Chris Wormley’s most likely NFL future?
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10 year starter
Mid-Round role player
4-year bench warmer