Could Michigan produce the next great class in the NFL Draft?
This years NFL draft was all about Ohio State. They had the chance to break two records, one set by themselves back in 2004 with 14 draft picks taken and one set by the University of Miami in the same year with six first round picks. Ohio State didn’t break either, ending with 12 draft picks in total and five in the first round, but they did have a record break with 10 picks taken in the first three rounds.
Now could Michigan challenge this draft class with their own great class in 2017 and possibly break a record Ohio State tried to break this season with the most players taken in the draft? Yes
Michigan had some big name players decide to return for their senior seasons and they could have some underclassmen decide to declare for the draft in 2017, making this another great class of the NFL draft. I will be listing players that have a chance to get drafted and in what round. Could Michigan put its thumb back on the map with the next great class to put talent into the NFL? Let’s find out together.
Jabrill Peppers – CB/S
This is the only lock that is questionable in this possible great class. Why is it? Because Jabrill could return to Michigan for his junior season. If he does enough to impress this season though (even though he is already projected as a first round pick by many scouts) he could have to ignore school and take his talents to the next level. Jabrill has impressed fans and scouts well in just one full year and the three games he played in his freshman year in 2014. He has had 53 tackles, 5 and a half for loss, 10 pass deflections, 18 punt returns for 200 yards, eight kick returns for 223 yards, 18 carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns, and eight catches for 79 yards. Now in the NFL he would play defense and maybe return kicks, but overall Peppers would be a lock for the first round. His athletic ability and coverage skills are impressive enough. He can also play linebacker, safety and cornerback, giving teams many options of what they could do with him.
Jourdan Lewis – CB
Lewis is a top three and possibly number two cornerback coming into the draft in 2017. Lewis could have been drafted within the first two rounds this season, but decided to come back and this could make him a lock in the first round. Lewis has had 108 tackles, five for loss, one sack, four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), one forced fumble and 28 pass deflections in three years at Michigan. He is a shutdown cornerback that has a chance to be a day one starter in the NFL. Lewis does have a height disadvantage, but don’t let that fool you. He set a new Michigan record with 20 pass deflections last season, and has another year to improve on that. If Lewis has a great year, he might be able to pass Desmond King from Iowa. If not, he will be the number two cornerback in the class.
Jake Butt – TE
Jake Butt had the chance to be a top tight end in this draft class, but saw that he wouldn’t be a first round pick and came back to Michigan. Butt could possibly be the next Rob Gronkowski with his great catching ability and skills at blocking. Butt has had a great career so far, with 92 catches for 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns. He probably will be the number one tight end in next year’s draft, only getting a challenge from O.J. Howard from Alabama. Butt can easily be a first round pick if he can get more yards and more blocking chances to show he is versatile on the field.
Chris Wormley – DE/DT
Some scouts have Wormley as a first round pick. While Wormley is a good player, I don’t see him as a first round pick unless he can have a great year this season. Wormley has 83 tackles, 24 for loss, 12 sacks, two pass deflections along with a fumble recovery and forced fumble. Wormley had a great year last season, improving his game from his previous two seasons. He is big at 6’5, 300 pounds. Wormley can force pressure on the quarterback and help stop the run game. If he can keep at the pace he played last season, he is a first round pick no doubt, but for now I will keep him in the second round.
Mason Cole – LT
Another underclassmen in this possible great class is Mason Cole. Cole was the first true freshman to play at Michigan on the offensive line in 2014. He has never missed a game and has been a rock solid left tackle at Michigan, being an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team last season and was an All-American from ESPN and 247sports in 2014. He is great left tackle and has kept his quarterbacks safe from getting hit on their blindside in his career. If he has another great year, expect him to leave early.
Jehu Chesson – WR
Speed is something teams love in the NFL and Chesson has that. He is the fastest player on the team, beating out Peppers who plays track as well. Chesson can be that deep threat for a team in the NFL. He had a breakout year last season, but his career so far has been 79 catches for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns, 10 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns, six kick returns for 202 yards and one touchdown. Chesson is a great weapon to use on Jet Sweeps and can be used as a decoy in those plays. He is also tall at 6’3. A tall player with great speed is something you don’t see often and Chesson would be a great pick in the third round.
Erik Magnuson – RT
Another offensive tackle in this great class is Erik Magnuson. Magnuson is the tackle on the opposite side of Cole and has been great at the right side as well. He was on the All-Big Ten third team last season, and another good season could move him up to the second or first All-Big Ten team. Magnuson has played in 32 games, starting in 24 of them. He would be another good lineman to add for depth and a possible sleeper starter in the NFL.
Kyle Kalis – RG
To close out the third round, another offensive lineman leaves the school. Kalis has played in 37 games, starting 28 at right guard. Last season he made the All-Big Ten third team by the media and an honorable mention by the coaches. Just like Magnuson, give him another season and he could move up to the second or first team. Kalis has been a solid guard for Michigan and could provide depth for teams.
Amara Darboh – WR
This picture sums up Darboh last season. Just like Chesson, Darboh had his best year last season after not doing much before in his career. He has 94 catches for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. Darboh is a tall receiver as well, being 6’2, but he isn’t as much of a whole player as Chesson is. Darboh isn’t fast for Jet Sweeps or good at returning, but as a receiver he is good. He has great hands and doesn’t give up easily. Darboh could be a good number three or four wide receiver on many teams in the NFL.
Taco Charlton – DE
Now we get the wackiest name in this great class in Taco Charlton. He has the chance to move up to the third round, but he will have to impress with a stellar senior season. If not, he could be a fourth round pick. He has had 51 tackles, 14.5 for loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble. Taco can disrupt the play and quickly make an impact on the ball carrier. Charlton is bigger than Wormley, being 6’6, but slim at 273 pounds. This gives him quicker movement over Wormley and that extra inch can give him more of a chance to wrap up tackles. The only reason he isn’t higher up is his lack of production. Last year was his first season getting a lot of action and 2016 can be another year where he can show what he can do.
De’Veon Smith – RB
Smith is the starting running back for Michigan right now and could end up in the NFL. His career so far at Michigan hasn’t been bad, with 314 carries for 1,389 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and catching 22 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown. Smith has some serious strength and can break tackles, take it into a second gear and get into the endzone. He is a powerback, so he isn’t that fast and doesn’t have that ability to run out and catch the ball. He doesn’t give up until he is down and will fight for every single inch. Getting taken this late could give him a 50/50 chance of making a team, but if he impresses enough at camps and the preseason he can be a third string or maybe even a backup running back.
Now these are players that have a chance to get drafted next season. If all of these players do get drafted, Michigan will break the record with a whopping 18 players getting taken in the draft. Four of these guys could miss the draft and Michigan could still tie the record.
Delano Hill – S
Hill had his best year last season, but he is going to have to improve some more if he wants a shot in the NFL. He has had 67 tackles, two and a half for loss, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery. His man coverage skills aren’t the best, but zone is good for him. If he can improve enough, he could go as high as a fourth round pick, if not, he might be sitting at home with no phone call after the draft ends.
Ryan Glasgow – DT
Ryan, brother of now Detroit Lions center Graham Glasgow, has a chance to be with his brother at the next level. Last season Glasgow got hurt and never returned. He was the best run stopping defensive tackle for Michigan and his absence was clearly shown. He has had 38 tackles, five for loss, one sack and forced fumble along with one fumble recovery. He doesn’t have the production teams like to see in a draft prospect, but if he can get more involved and be healthy by playing a full season, Glasgow will hear his name get called in the third day of the draft.
Channing Stribling – CB
Stribling is the number three cornerback on the team right now, if you count Peppers as one. Stribling has yet to play in all 12 games in his career, so his production is low but he has a chance this year to do that. He has had 40 tackles, half of one for loss, two interceptions, three pass deflections and one forced fumble. Stribling isn’t a bad corner, but he could improve with his zone coverage. Not playing in all 12 games is a disadvantage for the kid and if he can get more playing time and get more involved with pass breakups he could be a late draft pick.
Drake Johnson – RB
Injury is the biggest concern when facing Johnson. He tore his ACL twice in his career, and just got injured in a freak accident in track practice this year. While playing he can contribute, getting 116 carries for 641 yards and eight touchdowns. He also has seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He can catch the ball better and is quicker than Smith, but his injury history is the main difference, along with lack of power. If a team wants to take a risk on him in the seventh round, it wouldn’t hurt.
Dymonte Thomas – S
Thomas is another player with a lack of experience and playing time. He has yet to play in a full 12 games, but he has 58 tackles, one forced fumble and seven pass deflections. If he can get more playing time, he is a seventh round pick, if not, he won’t be drafted. Thomas isn’t bad in coverage with his seven pass deflections, but he just can’t snag the ball and get the interceptions.
Jeremy Clark – CB
Clark is another player who is a seventh round or bust. He has only two years of playing experience, but played in 11 of the 13 games last year, giving him more games played in one season than some of these other players. He has 39 tackles, three interceptions and four pass deflections. He is tall at 6’4 so that will help his draft stock greatly.
Ben Gedeon – LB
The final player in this possible great class is Ben Gedeon. He has played a lot in the past two years and could possibly start this season. He has 70 tackles, five and a half for loss, and two sacks. If he can start this season, he can move his draft stock up to a sixth round pick at best. While he might not make the team come September, he was still a chess piece in the great class of 2017 for Michigan.https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/could-michigan-produce-the-next-great-class-in-the-nfl-draft/https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mmtQorO-6.jpg?fit=1024%2C683&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mmtQorO-6.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Big TenNCAAFRecent Postserik magnuson michigan,great class,jeremy clark michigan,mason cole michigan,Michigan,NCAA,NFL DraftThis years NFL draft was all about Ohio State. They had the chance to break two records, one set by themselves back in 2004 with 14 draft picks taken and one set by the University of Miami in the same year with six first round picks. Ohio State didn't...Brandon KnappBrandon KnappKnappmb@outlook.comEditorBrandon is a senior at Central Michigan University majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sports Management. He loves the Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Red Wings, Lions, Tigers and Pistons, UFC, WWE and Video Games. Follow him at @BKnappBlogs on Twitter.MyFantasySportsTalk