Its All About Protecting The QB

Protecting the quarterback and finding holes for the running back can only be accomplished one way – getting talented offensive linemen. Work in the trenches is where it all begins and these days offensive guards and centers are getting more money on the open market as the appreciation for their value is realized. <BR><BR> When a top player in the draft comes out along the interior of the line, every team in the league takes notice.

Michigan continues to pound out offensive linemen. Scanning NFL rosters, former Wolverine linemen have made a positive impact on the league. From Jeff Backus to Steve Hutchinson – and now David Baas hopes to join that elite group.

He has already shown the pedigree that has become the staple of Michigan linemen to come before him. Baas entered his senior year as the starting guard on the Michigan line but was moved inside to center because of need. That versatility served has served him well and gives teams a myriad of options at the NFL level.

The Rimington Trophy Co-Winner (with Ben Wilkerson), given annually to the Nations top offensive center prospect, and Outland Trophy finalist, acknowledges his strength remains at guard.

"I think more people see me as a better guard," Baas admitted. "I am just grateful for the opportunity (to play in the NFL). I will play anything."

While he displays a nasty attitude on the field, Baas remains humble off it. When asked whether he is the best guard prospect in the nation, he didn't say yes nor did he say no.

"I am going to try and make myself the best," the number two ranked Scout.com guard prospect said.

As the co-captain of the Michigan offense, Baas made 30 consecutive starts at guard before moving to center.

Like any Michigan line prospect, he has been well coached and is sound fundamentally. He has the ability to drive his opponents back at the point of attack and does well blocking at the second level. He is not fleet of foot and his pulls need work but used properly, he will be effective from the beginning of his rookie year.

"I think I have done a fairly good job," Baas says shyly regarding his college career. "You just have to keep working hard and keep doing the things that I am doing to keep prepared and we will see what happens on draft day."

With the draft just two months away, Baas relished in the Senior Bowl spotlight. He was plagued by teams wanting a close-up look and was happy to be invited where he could play against the best college football has to offer.

"Competition," Baas said of his time in Mobile. "It is something that you strive off of."

After a successful college career, Baas is hoping to parlay it into a long NFL career. History is on his side.

The keys for the big man heading into an NFL camp this summer will be focus and determination.

"It is just another challenge," he said of playing in the NFL. "You have to live up to the moment. I have to be prepared."


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