by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Wake Forest, Center, Michael Jurgens
Name- Michael Jurgens
Team- Wake Forest
HT/WT- 6’4” 311 lbs.
Home – Damascus, MD
Jurgens played guard at Damascus High School in Maryland, and never felt the agony of defeat during his time there, going 42-0. As a senior, he was named the MCPS Coaches 3A-2A Player of theYear and holds all the school offensive line records for pancakes, including most in a game, most in a season and most in a career. All the major outlets had Jurgens as a 3-star recruit and he was rated the #47 guard in the class. He enrolled at Wake Forest in January of 2018.
Jurgens redshirted in 2018 after only appearing in 2 games, and the following year he played a limited role in 13 games, mostly on punt coverage. In 2020, he started 8 games at center for Wake Forest, making his first start against Clemson.
In 2021, Jurgens became a huge part of Wake Forest’s success in their historic 11-win season and invitation in the ACC Championship game. After the season, he was named All-ACC Honorable Mention at the center position, and was once again named an All-ACC Honorable Mention in 2022 after starting all 13 games for the Demon Deacons. This season, Jurgens was moved to guard and did not skip a beat. He was named All-ACC second team for his stellar performance at a new position.
Jurgens has played center and guard throughout his football life and some think he could even play the right tackle position with his versatility on the offensive line. He has the power to move defenders off the snap and is athletic enough to make blocks in the second level. His techniques and mechanics are at the top of this class and although he may not be the strongest or biggest he knows how to work angles to help his cause. He is a leader on the line and plays with a high football IQ.
On the downside, he will struggle against the larger interior defensive linemen. His size is limited and he is going to have to rely on his IQ and angles to be successful. He can become impatient and not let the defenders make their way to him, causing him to reach and lose balance. He is not the fleetest of foot and has problems leading out front when pulling. He needs to improve his hand placement and initial punch when battling one-on-one.
Michael Jurgens’ versatility reminds Draft 412 of Ted Karras. Karras was a 6th round pick of the Patriots in 2016 out of Illinois where he played more guard in college but has become a center in the pros. Jurgens has a shot to become a starting center but his worst case scenario is becoming a depth piece on an offensive line.
Jurgens will be a valuable asset for an organization. His lack of pure athleticism and power will keep him towards the end of the draft but Draft 412 thinks he can be a future starter down the line in the NFL.
Draft 412 Draft Projection - Round 5 or Round 6