Michigan Football Draft Notes

The Wolverines tied for second nationally with 10 players drafted over the past three days. What does it all mean? Some thoughts.
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• I asked earlier in the day if Michigan's performance at the NFL Draft - where 10 players were chosen - should be considered a success. Overwhelmingly, the votes are saying yes. Can't argue with that. While a deeper dive, which we'll get to in a few paragraphs, reveals some concerns, the simple fact is recruits in the 2021 and 2022 classes will see a lot of graphics like the one below, and U-M is well-represented. 

Frankly, for Michigan, a draft performance like this year is imperative to the continued recruiting prospects of the program because recruits want to know they can reach the NFL. It's one of the top-two criteria most recruits cite for picking a college. The other? At least among a class' best talent: the chance to compete for championships, conference titles, but really, a shot at the playoffs. 

In five years of the Jim Harbaugh era, Michigan has no championships to sell but it has plenty of draft picks - 31 since 2016. 

• Center Cesar Ruiz became the fifth first-rounder of the Harbaugh era while OLB Josh Uche became the first second-rounder. U-M has seen eight Harbaugh players go in Round 3, five each in Rounds 4 and 5, and seven in Round 6. That means that 17 of 31, or 54.8%, have been selected on the final day of the draft while just 14 or 43.2% have been chosen in the first three rounds, among the Top 100 picks. 

Michigan's average draft position among the 31 selections is 3.8 (in this case, the lower the better). 

Ohio State has had 45 draft picks since the 2016 NFL Draft, 15 going in Round 1 or 33.3% (U-M is at 16.1% by comparison) with 71.1% of the Buckeyes' selections going in the first three rounds (remember, Michigan is at 43.2%). 

OSU's average draft position among its 45 picks is 2.8. 

The difference between the rivals further illustrates the talent gap between the two programs, the Buckeyes producing a majority of Top 100 NFL picks while Michigan is producing a majority of picks 101-204 (I stopped at Round 6 since U-M has not had a Round 7 choice in five years). 

• Among 33 five-stars (per 247Sports.com) in the 2017 class, 11 entered this year’s NFL Draft. Five went in Round 1, four went in Round 2, one went in Round 4 and one went in Round 6, the latter being Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. 

It was a bad weekend for U-M's five-stars, as Peoples-Jones dropped all the way to the sixth round and quarterback Shea Patterson (Class of 2016) went undrafted. Certainly there are other five-star busts in every class, but such a poor showing is not a strong endorsement for the Wolverines' ability to develop five-stars on offense. 

Nor have they developed skill positions. Credit "Inside the Huddle" colleague Zach Shaw with this one: 

Michigan hasn't provided much incentive to elite skill position players to pick U-M in future classes. The Wolverines need receiver Nico Collins, tailback Chris Evans and tight end Nick Eubanks to buck that trend in the 2021 NFL Draft.

• The four quarterbacks Harbaugh has mentored at Michigan, meanwhile: sixth rounder (Jake Rudock), undrafted (Wilton Speight), undrafted (John O'Korn), undrafted (Shea Patterson). A total of 62 QBs have been taken in the last five drafts, just one from U-M and Round 6, at that. 

• On the flipside, two-grad transfers that weren't expected to get drafted when they left Iowa (Rudock) and Central Michigan (DE Mike Danna) were both developed at Michigan into picks. The Harbaugh era has also seen 14 players ranked outside of the 247Sports.com Top 250 selected in the draft, including seven outside of the Top 500, showing off the coaches' ability to develop talent. 

Those 14 including walk-ons Graham, Ryan and Jordan Glasgow, arguably one of the greatest family legacies in Michigan football history.