Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NFL Draft Preview: Michigan-style

Jonas Mouton (#8) should be one of just two Michigan players drafted this weekend

The NFL Draft has always been a fun time for me, because I would always sit around and wait for the next Michigan player's name to get called.  Between watching for a Michigan player to get drafted and waiting for the Lions to pick, one Saturday in April was perhaps the most exciting day of the football off-season.  But Michigan's production of NFL players has waned in recent years.

Ever since six players were taken in the 2008 draft - four in the first three rounds - the Wolverines have only been able to muster five total draft picks in 2009 (4th round: Terrance Taylor; 6th: Morgan Trent) and 2010 (1st: Brandon Graham; 5th: Zoltan Mesko; 7th: Steve Brown).  That's an average draft position of the 4.6th round.

By contrast, 60 players were taken from 1995-2007, an average of 4.62 per year.  On average, those players were drafted in the 3.68th round.  Not only has the number of Michigan draftees been lower in the past couple seasons, but they're getting picked lower, too.

That average draft position might rise slightly this year, but there will probably only be two Wolverines chosen this coming weekend:

Jonas Mouton - Linebacker
Mouton measured in at the NFL Combine at 6'1" and 239 lbs.  I think he could play a couple positions, either as a weak inside linebacker in a 3-4 or as a weakside outside linebacker in a 4-3.  He's pretty solid in coverage and changes direction well (video here, senior profile here).
Projection: 5th round to the Patriots

Steve Schilling - Offensive guard
Schilling measured in at the NFL Combine at 6'5", 304 lbs.  He had a pretty good Combine performance, but nothing stellar.  He played a lot of offensive tackle at Michigan, but I think he's strictly a guard at the next level.  Four years of starting experience should help him (senior profile here).
Projection: 4th round to the Browns

Undrafted: DT Greg Banks, OT Perry Dorrestein, LB Obi Ezeh, OG John Ferrara, LB Kevin Leach, FB/LB Mark Moundros, DE/DT Adam Patterson, CB James Rogers, DT Renaldo Sagesse, TE Martell Webb

I do think there is a remote chance that two other players get drafted late - Obi Ezeh and Martell Webb.  Ezeh was, for all intents and purposes, a four-year starter at middle linebacker.  That might be worth something to a team late in the draft.  And Webb turned into a very good blocker.  If a team is looking for a cheap blocking tight end in the 7th round, they could do worse than picking a 6'4", 268-pounder with decent athleticism.


  1. I was thinking the same thing on Webb. He should at least get some camp invites.


  2. UMich's '09 to '11 draft run is remarkably sub-par. RichRod's missteps have been painstakingly documented. At the risk of stating the obvious, it does appear that he was working with less talent than is usually in place at Michigan. To put it another way, he wasn't working with much of a margin.

  3. @ anon

    While this is true to an extent, let's not forget that there are likely going to be at least a few guys drafted over the next couple years that left Michigan after Rodriguez became the HC.

    That's still certainly a dropoff (although part of that is also simply that players didn't fit the system/weren't well coached on the defensive side of the ball) but perhaps not to the same level as it might seem.