Members of the Maize n Brew staff got together this week to answer a few prompts on their recent happenings with the NFL Draft and basketball’s roster changes this offseason. Here is what our four-man panel had to say on this week’s collection of topics.
Which Michigan draft pick do you think fits best with his new NFL team and why?
Von Lozon: Jalen Mayfield in Atlanta is a solid fit. He should have an immediate opportunity to fit into the Falcons’ starting unit and can play either inside or out.
Dan Plocher: Kwity Paye. I love his fit with the Colts. They are in desperate need of pass-rushing help (which is why they drafted EDGE rushers with their first two picks) and they already have a very strong defense altogether. Paye will be freed up with focus going to Darius Leonard at the linebacker spot and DeForest Buckner in the middle. If there is one former Michigan player that is going to produce more than the rest this year, it will be Kwity Paye.
Anthony Broome: I love Chris Evans’ fit with the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Mixon has durability issues and they do not have a true second running back. I think he has a chance to compete for meaningful snaps there for an ascending team and could work his way into the rotation.
Matt Eifert: I want nothing more than to say Ben Mason to the Ravens is the best fit. He epitomizes the Baltimore culture and narrative. However, the Ravens already have an established fullback and I doubt they would keep two on the roster so I’m going to have to say Kwity Paye to the Colts. Paye joins a Colts organization that is well run, well-coached and is already a playoff team yearning for more. He could be the missing piece that Indianapolis needs.
How do you feel about Franz Wagner’s Michigan career and the legacy he leaves behind?
Von Lozon: It took him a while to get going last year, but he turned into a real solid player this season. Defensively, he was a lockdown player. Offensively, he was inconsistent, but when he hit, he hit. His legacy isn’t what his brother is, but he’ll still be remembered.
Dan Plocher: Franz was a great basketball player for Michigan. I don’t think he is going to have the same long-term impact as his brother Moe because Moe was so much more of a character. Even by the end of his last season in Ann Arbor, everyone referenced him on the broadcasts as the younger brother of Moe Wagner. He is going to be a higher pick and more than likely a better basketball player. But because he was not the most notable player on a team that went to the Final Four, I think he will forever live in Moe’s shadow at Michigan.
Anthony Broome: Nobody will say that he came to Michigan and outshined what his brother did, but Wagner was a critical piece for the Wolverines the last two years. Most of the work he did does not show up in box scores but will be the reason he is selected in or near the NBA Draft lottery this season. His ability to distribute the basketball and get after it on the defensive end mixed with his length and athleticism made him the player he was at Michigan.
Matt Eifert: It has been an honor and a privilege to watch Franz Wagner represent the maize and blue. I wasn’t convinced he would ever make it to Ann Arbor after John Beilein’s sudden departure right before Franz was set to come to campus. Watching him evolve from a scrawny, passive wing into the best defender in the Big Ten and a menace in the lane was nothing short of spectacular.
If you could buy stock in one Michigan basketball player heading into the offseason, who is it and why?
Von Lozon: Give me some stock for Brandon Johns Jr. He really played well in the NCAA Tournament and stepped up in place of Isaiah Livers. If he continues that heading into his senior season, the sky is the limit for this team given what they have coming in.
Dan Plocher: It’s the easy answer, but it has to be Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson was already a dominant force this past year, but he can get even better. His post-game was good this past year, but it was more brute force and size domination than anything else. If Juwan Howard can really work him with interior moves like Austin Davis had at the end of his Michigan career, Dickinson can be National Player of the Year rather easily. If he can develop better finishing with his right hand and shoot consistently from the free-throw line extended, he’s going to be up in the conversation as one of the greatest Michigan basketball players of all time.
Anthony Broome: Buying stock implies that you are looking to cash in on an investment. That takes away some of the stars on the team because we know that they are going to perform well. Give me Frankie Collins here, as I still think he has the goods to win the starting point guard job despite the DeVante’ Jones transfer.
Matt Eifert: Hunter Dickinson stormed out of the gates as a freshman until teams began to watch the film on him and adjust by throwing double-teams at him in almost every possession. Dickinson still played well but not nearly as efficiently as he had earlier in the season. After an offseason in Camp Sanderson, I expect Hunter to come back more athletic, stronger, and maybe with a bit of a jump shot to stretch the defense. I am all aboard the Hunter Dickinson for Big Ten POY hype train for next year.