Player News

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NFL Media's Lance Zierlein notes that while Western Michigan H-back Donnie Ernsberger is more than willing to engage as a blocker, he is "very inconsistent with his technique."

"Ernsberger could offer special teams value, but he plays a position that may not have many openings so he'll need to find something in his game to stand out in order to become an NFL player," Zierlein writes. At the NFL Scouting Combine, the 6-foot-3, 255-pounder posted a composite testing score landing him in the 31st percentile of NFL running backs. Granted, that's putting his scores up against all backs, not just those who found roles as fullbacks or H-backs at the pro level. Ernsberger is a probable UDFA candidate for next week unless he's able to sneak into the seventh round.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 20 - 4:33 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Chukwuma "Chuks" Okorafor to Tampa Bay Buccaneers T Donovan Smith.

Okorafor was listed as the most underrated tackle by Luke Easterling of Draft Wire, and Zierlein sees strengths in the former Western Michigan tackle as well. He notes his "tremendous" size (6'6/330) and ability to clog lanes, and he shows good quickness coming out of his stance. He will need to show more "bend," however, and Zierlein would like to see more of a mean streak. He sees Okorafor going in the third round, but a mid-to-late second round landing spot is within reason for someone looking for a bookend.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 17 - 11:55 PM

An NFC North area scout believes that Western Michigan DB Darius Phillips will have to play the nickel as a pro.

"He's a pretty good man cover talent but he's just so soft against the run," he told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein. "He's a pure nickel who can play man or zone and he gets the ball so he's going to play." The "soft" connotation is one that no defender wants to hear, but there's a lot of positives to take from the report. Zierlein compares him to Charles Gaines, and believes he'll be drafted late on Day 3.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 16 - 9:25 PM

Western Michigan senior DT Steven Clark has been medically disqualified.

Clark (6'2/287) declined to offer specifics, but said that he would remain on scholarship with the Broncos even as his playing career is now drawing to a close. The defensive tackle initially landed at Western Michigan as a transfer last summer, coming over from Syracuse. That move was necessitated by the fact that Clark was medically disqualified by the Orange as well, due to a genetic disorder which increases the likelihood of blood clots. He was cleared for football activities following his transfer and went on to start 11 games for Western Michigan during the 2017 campaign, racking up 27 tackles along the way.
Apr 10 - 12:18 PM

Draft Wire's Luke Easterling lists Western Michigan T Chukwuma Okorafor as the most underrated T in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Easterling also mentions North Carolina AT&T's Brandon Parker as an underrated player at the position. Okorafor was once considered a potential first-round pick, but his stock slipped due to some inconsistent play and also some other players just beating expectations in the 2017 season. Easterling is still a fan, and thinks his "slide" might be over exaggerated. "With starting experience at both tackle spots, Okorafor should be on the radar of any team that can be patient enough to develop him slowly and smooth out the rough edges in his game," he writes. Expect the 6-foot-6, 320-pound tackle to go at some point on Day 2.
Source: Draft Wire
Apr 9 - 10:55 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline called Western Michigan CB Darius Phillips a "big winner" from Wednesday's pro day.

Phillips (5'9/188) tested considerably faster than he did at the NFL Scouting Combine, putting in a sharp 40-yard dash in the range of 4.38 seconds and 4.43 seconds. This newfound need for speed was largely due to his recovery from an ankle injury which he had aggravated at the Senior Bowl. Pauline passes along that in addition to shoring up his testing marks, Phillips also looked terrific in defensive back and special teams drills. The Jets, Bengals and Bills were all keeping a watchful eye on the special teams portion of the equation. The Cardinals and 49ers -- as well as those aforementioned Bills -- interviewed Phillips during his pro day. DraftScout.com stamps the Western Michigan defender with a grade for Rounds 4-5.
Mar 22 - 7:07 PM

Western Michigan T Chukwuma Okorafor has visits scheduled with the Eagles and Redskins.

Okorafor will likely land on the second day of the draft. He locked down the left tackle spot for multiple seasons, even keeping Taylor Moton on the right side. Okorafor did not attend the Senior Bowl, so teams likely have work to do to complete their evaluations.
Mar 22 - 9:53 AM

Western Michigan hired Alabany DC/CB coach Nick Sanchez to serve as cornerbacks coacch.

Football Scoop reported in late February that Sanchez would be heading to Western Michigan. It wasn't known at the time what position group he'd be coaching, but he'll be working with the Broncos' corners upcoming. Sanchez had been with Albany for the previous three campaigns prior to accepting this role on staff under HC Tim Lester.
Mar 14 - 12:18 PM

Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Not the best of times for the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Franklin, who posted concerning numbers across the board. In addition to his slow 40 time, he was also ended up on the lower end of the position leaderboard in terms of both his vertical jump (30 inches) and broad jump (109 inches). None of these athletic results would indicate that Franklin has any realistic chance of sticking in the pros. He'll likely be ticketed for undrafted free agency this spring.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 2 - 5:56 PM

Football Scoop reports that Western Michigan will hire Albany DC/CB coach Nick Sanchez to the staff.

Football Scoop doesn't mention what Sanchez's role will be with the Broncos. He spent the past three seasons on the Albany staff, and was a three-year starter for Stanford from 2005-2007 at defensive back.
Feb 26 - 1:40 PM

Michigan redshirt senior WR Drake Harris transferred to Western Michigan as a graduate.

Harris (6'4/188) was a four-star recruit in Michigan's 2014 class, but he never really made good on that initial projection. For his career in Ann Arbor, he finished with just nine catches for 60 yards. He had actually shifted to cornerback last spring before injuries in the Wolverines receiving corp necessitated a shift back to his natural position during the 2017 campaign. At Western Michigan, he'll be eligible to play immediately come the start of the 2018 season. Presumably, he's going to be working as a receiver for the Broncos.
Feb 24 - 3:37 PM

An NFC team executive said Western Michigan T Chukwuma Okorafor is "big and has talent so he's probably going to play early on."

The executive also mentioned, "He got started in football a little late but I still think he should have some of these issues cleaned up by now." NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compares Okorafor (6'6/331) to Buccaneers T Donovan Smith and projects him to be drafted in the second round. Zierlein says his "size and potential will likely get him drafted earlier than where the tape says he should go." Okorafor wasn't able to participate in the Senior Bowl, something that could have potentially helped his draft stock due to the questions surrounding his ability to compete against top-tier talent.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 22 - 7:49 PM

Western Michigan shifted RB coach Eric Evans to quarterbacks coach.

Evans has been on staff at Western Michigan for the past season. He initially came over from UAB, where he worked from 2013-16. Assistant HC Terry Malone will now move to running backs coach with Evans' shift to the quarterbacks room.
Feb 15 - 5:42 PM

Western Michigan promoted OL coach/co-OC Jake Moreland to offensive coordinator.

Moreland already had co-offensive coordinator status, but now receives the bump up to the full-time gig. He'll continue to work with the offensive line in addition. The Broncos needed a new offensive coordinator after Texas Tech poached OC Kevin Johns from the program. This past season was Moreland's first at Western Michigan. Previously, he's worked at Air Force (2016), Syracuse (2015) and Air Force again (2012-14).
Feb 15 - 3:43 PM

Football Scoop reports that Western Michigan has hired former Tennessee Tech special teams coordinator Dontae Wright to serve in a similar capacity.

This will be Wright's first job in the FBS ranks outside of a two-year stint as a graduate assistant with Kentucky from 2007-09. Per Football Scoop, he'll be working as co-special teams coach and safeties coach.
Feb 8 - 4:13 PM


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