Michigan’s Donovan Warren Didn’t Need Another Year in School


By H. Jose Bosch

The name Donovan Warren doesn’t attract a monsoon of attention the way Ndamukong Suh does. That’s largely because he played for a defense that was horrible and he really didn’t do much to help it in the second half of the season.

One could argue that anyone starting alongside Boubacar Cissoko to begin a season will look NFL-ready by comparison as long as he can breathe and tie his shoes correctly. But that’s probably not fair to Warren, who was a first-team All Big Ten selection.

But with one more year of eligibility left and the recent trend of Michigan players staying the extra year (Brandon Graham, LaMarr Woodley, Chad Henne and Jake Long) why didn’t Warren stay to improve his draft stock?

Because that would be a stupid decision.

Last season there were five prime quarterbacks with a chance to stay one more year: Mark Sanchez, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow. (Realistically Tebow isn’t a QB prospect, but considering he was coming off a national title, his QB stock was high).

Some believed McCoy and Bradford would be taken before the other two and knowing the Lions, they probably would’ve taken one or the other. They decided to stay, along with Tebow. All three did nothing to help their stock and, if anything, lowered it.

Meanwhile Sanchez and Stafford are living the dream, starting in the NFL and making boatloads of cash; money that the other three will never make from this next draft.

Now money shouldn’t be the only motivator when making this decision but if you’re being told that you’re a first or second round pick, you should leave college immediately. And According to some, Warren’s size makes him worth drafting in the first two rounds, even if he isn’t that fast or doesn’t jump that high.

Really his best asset is tackling and jamming receivers at the line. But if someone is willing to give him a job in the NFL to do that, more power to him.

Marcus Ray, a former Michigan DB, made similar points recently. He goes a step further to say that Warren probably thinks he couldn’t improve at Michigan. I wouldn’t blame him.

There might be another defensive coordinator with another system that would have probably made Warren look bad. And even if the same coach and system is in place, he’ll still probably look bad.

It was really a no-win situation for Warren. He could have played out of his mind next season and still not affected the overall defense’s performance. All opposing teams would do is throw away from him. What made Woodson great was that he played within an amazing defense and other teams couldn’t avoid him easily.

That wouldn’t have been the case for Warren.

Ray makes a great point during his interview. College will be there for as long as you live. If you want to go back and finish your degree, you can. But the NFL comes calling just once and it won’t be there for much longer.

If his dream was to be a doctor, I’d offer different advice. But he wants to be a pro football player. Warren may not be the NFL’s next great corner, but he’s good enough (barring an awful combine) to get a solid look from a team between the first and third rounds.

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