Word out of Texas is that the Calvin Anderson Sweepstakes is at the quarter pole now, with the finish line in plain sight.
— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) February 14, 2018
We know Michigan made the final four for the graduate transfer tackle from Rice, along with Oklahoma, Texas and Auburn. We know Anderson, a 6-foot-5 Texan with quick hands, a dancer’s feet and a degree in mathematical economic analysis, wants to play at a blueblood in 2018, at a place that’ll prepare him for the most competitive and cutthroat job market out there: the NFL.
We know he dug the trip to Ann Arbor last month:
— Calvin Anderson (@THE_CONDA25) January 28, 2018
What we don’t know is this:
Does he help?
Scratch that. Rather, to what degree does he help a Wolverines offense, immediately, that looked for stretches last fall like it was pulled straight out of 1956?
“I think what he’ll do is offer competition,” Ourlads general manager and pro scout Dan Shonka said of Anderson.
“He’s just a raw, athletic talent that is a guy that will get in the mix. Because I know Michigan has had a lot of injuries within the offensive line and they’ve lost a couple guys over the last couple years. I’m sure he [would be] going in there and competing.”
One of Shonka’s old NFL buddies was on the Rice coaching staff; recently, his pal offered up this quickie scouting text on Anderson:
Athletic. Long. Needs more power as a run blocker. Smart player. Can play left tackle, will cut before getting beat off the edge. Can be bull-rushed. Game to look at is him vs. Davenport of UT-San Antonio.
Davenport is Michael Davenport, the next Big NFL Thing From A Little FBS School, a 6-foot-7 pass-rushing terror at UTSA who last fall recorded 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks — a pair of those sacks coming against Rice on Oct. 21 in a 20-7 victory.
The Big Ten is loaded with Davenports; Urban Meyer seems to turn up about four of them at Ohio State in any given recruiting cycle.
Anderson’s got a need. The Wolverines — who surrendered an astonishing 36 sacks last fall, more than any Big Ten squad save for Illinois (42) — have a glaring one, right off the edge. Right now.
We know he passes the eye test, at least based on clips the gang at SWCRoundUp.com put together last summer:
We know the scouts, if not effusive, are at least awfully piqued. Pro Football Focus gave Anderson a run-blocking grade of 83.8 in 2017 — which ranks eighth among tackles eligible for the 2019 draft class, PFF analyst Josh Liskiewitz told Land of 10 recently.
‘I wouldn’t give you a dollar for [former signal-caller John] O’Korn and [Wilton] Speight. They couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a handful of peas.’
— Pro football scout and Ourlads.com GM Dan Shonka on Michigan’s quarterbacks in 2017
Bonus: The analytical site credited him with only 2 sacks allowed, zero hits, and 5 hurries surrendered last fall, and Liskiewitz says the man didn’t give up a sack or a hit ― or take a single penalty — over his first eight contests.
Your leaders in fewest pressures allowed among returning offensive tackles pic.twitter.com/7IJ31WcQOC
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 4, 2018
We know he’s groovy with being Shea Patterson’s wingman. We know he’s got the quicks …
— Super K (@SuperK_TFB) February 3, 2018
… and the brains …
This was awesome watching Rice LT Calvin Anderson and his photographic memory solving a Rubik cube behind his back pic.twitter.com/3wFkgHXEHz
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) September 7, 2016
…. that could prove to be the tide that lifts all of Tim Drevno’s boats.
Especially after 36 sacks. Mercy.
“That had a lot to do with the quarterbacks they had,” Shonka noted. “I wouldn’t give you a dollar for [former signal-caller John] O’Korn and [Wilton] Speight. They couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a handful of peas.
“Which disappointed me because Jim [Harbaugh] is a pretty good quarterback coach and he couldn’t get through to those guys. And [Brandon] Peters, he isn’t anything they thought he could be, either. They ran the ball more — I’ve got to put a lot of that more on the [issues at] wide receiver and really poor quarterback play.
“Peyton Manning went his whole career with a very average offensive line and he set all kinds of NFL records. Brett Favre didn’t have [a great line] either. If you’ve got a quarterback, you’ve got a chance. And Michigan hasn’t had anybody, really, since [Jake] Rudock had left there, to be honest with you.”