We’re back again with another round of mock draft recaps. Not a lot has changed since last week, but a handful of sites have updated their projections. Included this week is Mel Kiper’s mock draft, which you can get via ESPN+. Surprise surprise, he has Rashan Gary and Devin Bush in the first round. Let’s get into it.
Mel Kiper’s 1.0 Mock draft, as stated, has both Gary and Bush in the first round. Other notable B1G players include: Nick Bosa at No. 1 to Cardinals, Haskins at No. 6 to Giants, T.J. Hockenson to Titans at No. 19, Dre’Mont Jones to Rams at No. 30, Parris Campbell to Packers at No. 32. Here’s what he has to say about the pair of Michigan studs:
9. Buffalo Bills
Rashan Gary, DE/DT, Michigan
Could the Bills get their Kyle Williams replacement here? At his peak, the 6-foot-6, 283-pound Gary is a menace who makes offensive linemen look foolish, but you’d like to see him do it with more regularity. Gary could play end or nose guard in a 3-4 defense or tackle in a 4-3. Buffalo could look at centers or guards here; improving the interior of the offensive line should be a priority.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Steelers tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks this season, but the weakness on defense was at inside linebacker, as they struggled to replace Ryan Shazier. The phrase I keep repeating about Bush is “perfect for today’s NFL.” He would be a great fit as a three-down linebacker who never has to leave the field. At 5-foot-11, Bush is undersized, but he should test well at the combine.
CBS has a pair of updated Mocks with both R.J. White and Ryan Wilson updating theirs within the last day or so. Unlike their counterpart, Will Brinson, who had both Gary and Bush in the top-5, White and Wilson aren’t as high. Wilson in particular is quite low on the Wolverines’ standouts.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. Gary hasn’t put up massive sack numbers at Michigan, but that’s because that’s not his job. He excels at setting the run on the edge but can still offer some pass-rush talent from the interior. He’d be a great addition to the Falcons defensive line, even if the team signs Grady Jarrett to a contract extension. With a guy as talented as Gary, you’d be wise to just take him and let the rotation shake out however it may.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. K.J. Wright is heading into free agency, leaving the Seahawks with a massive need at the position next to Bobby Wagner. Enter Bush, who can play on all three downs and is a great mover in open space who can chase down the ball-carrier.
Shockingly, Wilson has Gary falling all the way to 24 with Bush outside the first round
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago)
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. Khalil Mack was traded before the season, Bruce Irvin was cut last month, and the Raiders are one of the NFL’s worst pass-rushing units. They have to address the position early, and possibly often in the 2019 draft. Gary didn’t live up to expectations at Michigan but part of that can be blamed on him playing out of position. Is he an edge rusher? Is he better inside?
WalterFootball’s latest mock from this week is somewhat interesting. Gary has risen from #10 to #4. Bush has slipped even further down the third round, and Chase Winovich has actually jumped him into an early third projection.
#4) Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, DE/DT, Michigan
The Raiders need to draft the best defensive player available, and there’s an argument that could be made for Rashan Gary. Oakland needs to address both the edge rush and the interior of the defensive line, so this pick makes a ton of sense.
Rashan Gary is an athletic freak. He wasn’t extremely productive as a freshman, but he recorded five sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2017. His teammates believe he’ll be a top-10 pick.
#75) Green Bay Packers: Chase Winovich, DE/OLB, Michigan
The Packers could stand to add an edge rusher with Clay Matthews’ career winding down.
Chase Winovich has incredible speed off the edge and never quits. He dominated Notre Dame in the 2018 opener.
#88) Detroit Lions: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Lions have one of the worst linebacking corps in the NFL. They can’t cover anyone over the middle of the field. They need to add a player who can become the leader of their defensive unit at the position. If they do so, perhaps they’ll finally be able to compete with some of the top teams in their division.
The most interesting mock of this week comes from Steve Palazzolo over at ProFootballFocus. He puts an important disclaimer on his mocks that they aren’t projections. Instead, they’re what he believes should happen based on the data they have over there. Surprisingly, Rashan Gary does not enter the first round here. Only Bush makes the cut for Palazzolo.
31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – DEVIN BUSH, LB, MICHIGAN
Bush provides middle-of-the-field athleticism as he flies to the ball against the run and in coverage while doubling as one of the best blitzing linebackers in the draft class. He graded at 90.2 overall in 2017 and 85.0 last season.
Personally, I join Palazzolo in a very quiet minority of people who aren’t particularly high on Rashan. I’m higher on Bush than Steve is, but we see similarly when it comes to Gary. Personally, the numbers and impact play just wasn’t there to warrant a high first round pick. Does a player like him make you a better team? Absolutely. Is he impactful enough to build a defensive front around? I’m not convinced.
As always, take all these with a grain of salt. We still have All Star games, the combine, pro-days, etc etc for players to make their impact on teams. You’ll see a lot of misinformation in these drafts, particularly as scouts and executives feed writers information to test the waters with.
A player like David Long could theoretically jump way up if he measures bigger than expected, runs a good time, and demonstrates explosiveness. For guys with the on-field production but lack of perceived measurables, the next few months are imperative.