Sports Illustrated lists Lewan, Gardner among college football’s best players in Imaginary College Draft

Sports Illustrated writer Andy Staples thinks highly of Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. - USA TODAY Sports

A fake college football "draft" featuring college football athletes. Confusing, but fun.

[Editor's Note: Okay, for anyone who clicked on this article and still has NO IDEA what the heck they're reading, let me try to explain what this is. Sports Illustrated apparently did a fake draft for college football, in which college football teams draft players from other college football teams. It's like the NFL draft, only in college, and with currently existing college athletes. Yeah, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either.]

Imagine this: Devin Gardner, Quarterback, Texas Longhorns...

What?

Make the college football off-season monotony end, please.

Sports Illustrated writer Andy Staples did a one-round mock draft for all 125 FBS programs, starting with the worst team, Georgia State, and ending with the best team, Alabama.

Of course, Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel went No. 1 overall in the draft. However, Staples listed Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and quarterback Devin Gardner as two of the best players. Here is where both players landed:

19. Buffalo: OT Taylor Lewan, Sr., Michigan, 6-8, 308

Bulls coach Jeff Quinn is sorely tempted to take his own star linebacker, Khalil Mack, but with Lewan still on the board, Quinn can't resist taking one of the nation's best offensive linemen. Lewan will likely go quite a bit higher than this in the NFL draft, but because he has only a year of college eligibility remaining, he falls to the Bulls.

Analysis: Lewan is a great pickup for the Bulls, and he would definitely strengthen their running game. It depends on who the Bulls draft around Lewan to whether the passing game can be effective or not. He would run shop in the Mid-American Conference, though, for sure.

110. Texas: QB Devin Gardner, R-Jr., Michigan, 6-4, 210

Texas has struggled to find a capable quarterback since Colt McCoy graduated. After replacing Denard Robinson at Michigan late last season, Gardner appeared more than capable. He's also the kind of player who would move to receiver if it would help the team -- which he did at the start of the 2012 season. That's the type of person Mack Brown would want in charge on the field.

Analysis: This is actually a really cool pick. Gardner would be fun to watch on the Longhorns, especially on the big stage against Oklahoma. I also think Staples has him ranked appropriately, as Gardner is still unproven but has a ton of upside.

Michigan had pick No. 106 in the Imaginary College Draft, and it selected a safety/kick returner.

106. Michigan: S Lamarcus Joyner, Sr., Florida State, 5-8, 195

Don't be fooled by Joyner's size. He'll crush a receiver. He's also a dynamic kickoff returner.

Analysis: There is no way Michigan coach Brady Hoke would use his one draft pick on a safety and/or kick returner. If you’ve followed his recruiting classes, everything starts with the offensive and defensive lines at Michigan. He would have drafted the best available lineman, probably someone from the Midwest.

Overall, this was a pretty neat exercise, but there are clearly a few flaws in this drafting process. I hope Staples didn’t put a large amount of time into this, but I thank him for the nonsensical off-season fodder.

Brandon Folsom can be contacted at bfolsom@mlive.com. Follow him on Twitter for additional information about college football, basketball, and recruiting.

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