Bleacher Report has been going position by position through college football to decide who has produced “the most productive NFL players” at each position. This time, it’s the offensive line, where the Michigan Wolverines have quite a rich history.
Michigan has had so much great talent in the trenches that according to Bleacher Report, a former Wolverines’ offensive lineman has “starred at the professional level... in every decade since the AFL-NFL merger.” That is not something that many college programs can boast.
Author of the piece, David Kenyon, went into more detail:
The 1970s boasted Hall of Famers in Dan Dierdorf and Tom Mack, as well as 13-year starter Reggie McKenzie. The 1980s featured Mike Kenn—a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro—before Jon Runyan and his 192 starts in the 1990s and 2000s.
Steve Hutchinson put together a Hall of Fame career in the 2000s, and four-time Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long entered the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Over the last half-decade, Taylor Lewan has developed into a top tackle.
The article failed to point out that Dan Dierdorf and Tom Mack also made the NFL 100 team last year for his dominant play in the 1970’s where he also earned All-Decade honors.
Honorable mentions for Michigan in the article include Jumbo Elliott, Jeff Backus, Jon Jansen, Jonathan Goodwin, Jon Giesler, Bubba Paris, and Maurice Williams.
When one school can assert such dominance at a specific position, they are going to be towards the highest marks on a list like this. That is why Bleacher Report placed them as the No. 2 program in their Offensive Lineman University (OLU) rankings.
That is one spot above their arch-rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes who have a similar resume with Orlando Pace, Jim Lachey, Nick Mangold, Andrew Norwell, and current Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker receiving citation.
The only school to top the Wolverines is the USC Trojans who developed three of the greatest offensive lineman in NFL History with Anthony Munoz, Bruce Matthews, and Ron Yary who are all present on the NFL 100 Team. USC also hold the Kalil brothers (Matt and Ryan), long-time Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (likely headed to the Hall), Marvin Powell, and Tony Boselli.
Michigan has made quite a few appearances throughout this series by Bleacher Report. All in all, this is the sixth list they have put together ranking schools at the defensive line, running back, wide receiver, quarterback, offensive line, and defensive back position groups. Along with their No. 2 ranking for OLU, Michigan was rated at the same spot for QBU (Quarterback University) competition and were an honorable mention in DBU (Defensive Back University).