Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton are going to battle it out for the starting quarterback spot in 2020 and whoever wins the job has a shot at winning the Heisman according to Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports.
We don't know who Michigan's starting QB is going to be in 2020. All we know is that Shea Patterson is gone, and Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton are competing to take his place. Based on Heisman odds, it seems sportsbooks are putting their money on it being McCaffrey. I'm approaching this from the standpoint of the darkhorse being "Michigan QB," whether that's McCaffrey or Milton.
Like LSU, Michigan broke in a new offense last season. One meant to spread things out and modernize an attack that had grown a bit obsolete. Unlike LSU, Michigan's offense didn't hit the ground running, mostly because it didn't have a Joe Burrow leading the way. Odds are neither McCaffrey or Milton are Burrow, either, but heading into the second season of a new offense -- one that improved in the second half of last season -- I expect Michigan to be better on that side of the ball.
I also expect Wolverine receivers not to drop so many passes.
Michigan's receiving corps had a drop rate of 12.6% last season. That ranked 121st nationally. Even worse, Michigan receivers had an on-target catch rate of 75.2% last year, according to Sports Info Solutions. That ranked 129th nationally, with only Buffalo being worse at 73.5%.
This tells me two things. One is that Patterson was better than you thought. His on-target rate last season of 75.2% wasn't elite, but did rank No. 32 in the country. It was also a full 19% higher than his 56.2% completion rate. The second is that it will be hard for Michigan receivers to be worse in 2020.
Michigan's two leading receivers last season, Ronnie Bell and Nico Collins, were two of its biggest culprits. Bell dropped 16.9% of his targets and had an on-target catch rate of 70.8%. Collins wasn't much better, checking in with a drop rate of 11.1% and an on-target catch rate of 68.5%.
Those two need to be better in 2020. A lot better. There's no guarantee this will happen, but if they do improve, and perhaps get a little luckier, their numbers should rebound. If they do, that will go a long way toward helping McCaffrey or Milton as Michigan's QB.
I don't hate the prediction but I actually think Joe Milton is going to win the job. Milton has been working extremely hard this offseason and simply has more physical tools than McCaffrey. Throw in the fact that McCaffrey hasn't been able to stay healthy and I think the opportunity is there for Milton.
I also think that Josh Gattis would love to push the ball down the field more than he did with Shea Patterson and no one, perhaps in the country, is better suited for that than Joe Milton.
Whoever wins the job is going to be in a pretty good situation. Michigan is replacing four starters along the offensive line but Jalen Mayfield is being billed as a first-round pick, and Andrew Stueber and Ryan Hayes have both started games in the past. Offensive line coach Ed Warinner has to be feeling pretty good about three fifths of the positions along the O-line but finding a center to replace Cesar Ruiz and a guard to replace Ben Bredeson is going to be daunting.
Regardless, whoever wins the job is going to have an abundance of weapons at his disposal. Even though Bell and Collins did have some drops and apparently didn't catch a lot of balls that they should've, a lot of programs would trade their top two guys for Michigan's.
At the end of the day, I expect whoever wins the job to have a better statistical season than Shea Patterson. It's been outlined here a lot and it's something I'm sticking to.