Draft Profile: Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones

Vito Chirco

The University of Michigan will be well-represented this April during the course of the annual three-day NFL Draft -- kicks off April 23 in Las Vegas, Nev.

According to the latest mock drafts, as many as eight former Wolverines players could be drafted.

While no Michigan product is projected to be taken in the first round this year, six of U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh's former players appear to be surefire bets to at least be drafted (in no particular order): linebacker Josh Uche, wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, center Cesar Ruiz, guard Ben Bredeson, cornerback Lavert Hill and safety Josh Metellus.

The player that I'm most excited about of that bunch is Peoples-Jones -- the subject of today's draft profile.

He came out of Detroit Cass Tech High School as a five-star prospect, according to 247Sports.

He hauled in offers from a variety of college football powers -- including Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson -- before deciding to suit up for the Wolverines.

While he didn't always "light the world on fire" during his three seasons in Ann Arbor -- he never put together a 10-touchdown or 1,000-yard season and never had a 100-yard receiving game -- he still managed to show why he's good enough to play at the next level.

He possesses terrific foot speed and a tremendous knack for tracking down deep balls.

The two-time All-Big Ten selection also has the ability to make big-time catches in the most critical moments of games via his stellar hand-eye coordination.

He has all the makings of a big-play, game-breaking wideout at the next level.

As for his draft stock, though, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has him pegged to be a fourth-fifth rounder, per MLive.com Michigan beat writer Aaron McMann.

"Todd’s (fellow ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay) a little higher on him than I am," Kiper said via a conference call Wednesday with reporters such as McMann. "I saw some inconsistencies with him. I want to see him become more of a power forward and take advantage of that size advantage he has."  

Kiper added that he wants to see Peoples-Jones "play more effectively and consistently than he did (at Michigan).”

In 2019, Peoples-Jones, affectionately known as "DPJ," wasn't helped out by the presence of fellow Michigan wideouts Ronnie Bell -- who emerged onto the scene to the tune of 758 receiving yards -- and Nico Collins -- who recorded 729 yards and seven touchdowns.

It stunted Peoples-Jones' growth, and prevented him from putting together a true breakout campaign before leaving Ann Arbor.

It's left draft pundits with questions regarding the ability of his game to translate to the next level.      

His best chance to silence some of those critics and to improve his stock before the draft will be at next week's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis -- during which he'll get the chance to interview, work out and prove his worth in front of all 32 franchises.

It will only take one team to take a shining to Peoples-Jones for his stock to improve. And with his immense talent, expect that to be the case for the Detroit native at next week's annual combine.

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