Michigan tackle Mark Ortmann working to improve his draft stock
But the 6-foot-7, 284-pound left tackle hopes that’ll change when he plays in his final college football game next month.
Ortmann was selected to play in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge Feb. 6 in El Paso, Texas. A native of Klein, Texas, he’ll represent the home team in the game.
“It’s an honor,” Ortmann said. “As long as I can get out there and play I’ll be happy. I don’t really care if I was for the nation or for Texas, I just know I got to get out there and show what I can do.”
One of 3 Wolverines scheduled to play in all-star games - Graham and punter Zoltan Mesko will take part in the Senior Bowl; running back Brandon Minor was scheduled to play in the East-West Shrine Game, but will miss the contest because of a torn rotator cuff - Ortmann might be able to lock up a late-round draft grade with a strong showing.
He said Michigan coaches have relayed “encouraging” things from NFL personnel about his draft stock, and he’s spent most of the past month working out with Graham and Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis in hopes of earning an invitation to the NFL combine.
“Trying to become a track star,” Ortmann joked of workouts that include weight lifting, one-on-one drills and work on sprinting technique.
On Friday, Ortmann spent the final hour of a 3-hour training session working on his 40-yard dash. With a few minor adjustments, he shaved 8/100ths of a second off his first 10-yard split in the run.
“I had the opportunity to go down south and train, but I knew these guys have the best interests for me,” Ortmann said. “They know what I need to work on and instead of going to someplace where they don’t know me and I don’t know them, here we can just hit the ground running.”
Still, Ortmann’s draft stock will hinge on his senior year film and his practices leading up to the Texas vs. The Nation game as much as anything.
As a junior, Ortmann played through a dislocated left elbow that limited his effectiveness. He couldn’t do a push-up for a month after the injury, and finished the season bench-pressing just 225 pounds. By comparison, he did 36 reps at 225 as a sophomore and worked out at 365 pounds on Friday.
Last year, Ortmann had an inconsistent but sometimes impressive season. He played his best games against the best teams on Michigan’s schedule, outdueling Ohio State’s Thaddeus Gibson and dominating Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, but sometimes struggled against lesser opponents.
“Before the Ohio State game I got interviewed by (ESPN analyst) Matt Millen and that whole" broadcast crew, Ortmann said. “It was nice to hear Matt Millen, a former GM (with the Lions), tell me that I shut (Clayborn) down. As long as that film gets out, hopefully that’ll help.”
Ortmann, who started the final 18 games of his Michigan career at left tackle, said he’ll go to the Texas game looking to prove himself as a run blocker.
“My understanding, I’m good on initial contact but they want to see my roll my hips a little more,” Ortmann said. “Just (have to) show I can do that, and then just keep doing what I’ve been doing in pass pro.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.