Seven former Michigan Wolverines advanced to their respective conference championships in the NFL this year. Of those seven, four are moving on the Super Bowl. It’s safe to say the Michigan football program is well represented in the NFL and will continue to be for years to come under Jim Harbaugh’s watch.
Here’s how each of them performed in the Conference Championship Round:
Frank Clark, DE Kansas City Chiefs
The duo of Frank Clark and Mike Danna continued to shine on Sunday in Kansas City. Of course, they are helped by the fact that Chris Jones anchors the defensive line and draws most of the attention.
However, Clark was able to register three tackles, 1.5 sacks and one tackle for loss on Sunday. He was even assisted by fellow Wolverine Mike Danna on one of the sacks:
Clark now leads Kansas City in sacks this postseason with 2.5. He has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL playoffs.
Clark and the Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20.
Mike Danna, DE Kansas City Chiefs
As we mentioned last week, Danna had a quiet Divisional Round, but we expected a bounce-back in the AFC Championship. He delivered on our expectations and then some. He was in on five tackles and helped create Clark’s sack embedded above. This was, without a doubt his best postseason performance of his young NFL career. It’s time to see what he can do in the Super Bowl in two weeks.
Chad Henne, QB Kansas City Chiefs
Following Patrick Mahomes’ ankle sprain, many thought there was a chance he would be unable to play. Fortunately for the Chiefs, Mahomes was able to go and even used his legs to win the game. Henne did not appear in the AFC Championship but remains the primary backup quarterback in search of his second Super Bowl ring.
Daxton Hill, S Cincinnati Bengals
Hill was only inserted into the game on defense for seven plays at free safety. While he did play quite a bit on special teams, he committed yet another penalty. Special teams penalties are becoming an unfortunate trend for Hill.
All-in-all, it was an up-and-down year for Hill. He certainly flashed his potential while also displaying some rookie mistakes. It will be an important offseason for his progression.
Chris Evans, RB Cincinnati Bengals
Unfortunately, Evans was inactive yet again. He scored a touchdown against the Chiefs in their Dec. 4 matchup, so it was a bit surprising to see him not suit up. He did not appear in the playoffs this year for Cincinnati.
Brandon Graham, DE Philadelphia Eagles
Graham and the Eagles boat-raced the 49ers on their way to an easy NFC Championship victory. While he only tallied one tackle on the day, the Philadelphia captain made his presence felt in many ways on the field. Additionally, he had this viral moment with his daughter in a post-game interview:
What an awesome moment for Brandon Graham and his daughter pic.twitter.com/QDBbNZ7peM— Bussin' With The Boys (@BussinWTB) January 30, 2023
Graham was also recently nominated as Philadelphia’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee:
A great man. A Michigan Man.— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) January 29, 2023
We’re so proud of you, @brandongraham55, of the leader that you are and for the countless lives that you continue to touch and inspire.#GoBlue | #WPMOYChallenge pic.twitter.com/tf0nqYROgg
Graham and the Eagles crushed the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7.
Ambry Thomas, CB San Francisco 49ers
Thomas returned to practice this week, but was unable to avoid the inactive list once again for the 49ers. It was a disappointing end to what was once a promising season for him.
It’s also worth noting that Maurice Hurst and Michael Dwumfour are presently with the 49ers, though Hurst is on IR and Dwumfour is on the practice squad. In addition, Brian Griese is the quarterbacks coach for San Francisco and former Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs is an assistant linebackers coach with the Bengals.