The Michigan Wolverines have nothing to do at this point other than wait for their bowl assignment that will arrive on Sunday afternoon after a 9-3 season. There’s one more game to go, but this is the time where we start to see guys take stock in their chances of going pro with some tough decisions to make.
The Wolverines are no exception to this. It remains to be seen at this point if any of them sit out the bowl game or not, but they still have a handful of potential top-50 prospects, as well as underclassmen with decisions to make.
Here’s where each of them seem like they may project this April.
* = denotes underclassman
EDGE Joshua Uche (Late 1st-2nd round)
Uche has already declared for the 2020 NFL Draft and says that he will play in the bowl game. He has led the Wolverines in sacks the last two seasons with 14.5 total and demonstrated the ability to rush from a three-point stance and as a linebacker at Michigan. NFL teams are as thirsty as ever for pass rushers and my gut says that his versatility, along with the pre-draft process, could be very kind to him. I don’t expect him to be on the board as long as Chase Winovich was.
OG Ben Bredeson (2nd-3rd round)
Bredeson is as reliable as it gets on the interior and is a three-time All-Big Ten performer at left guard. He may not have the athletic tools that some of his peers in the offensive line class may have, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that he cannot have a long and prosperous career at the next level.
WRs Donovan-Peoples-Jones* and Nico Collins* (2nd-3rd round)
You can pretty much flip a coin on where these two may wind up. At certain points throughout the year, both have appeared as high as the first round in some mock drafts, but both guys have another year of eligibility remaining. It feels like at least one of them may go and it would not shock to see both of them go. Both bring something different, as Peoples-Jones brings athleticism, playmaking ability and can return punts, while Collins might be more of your jump ball/redzone target type of wideout at the next level.
C Cesar Ruiz* (3rd round)
Ruiz very quietly (as offensively linemen tend to do) had a very strong finish to the 2019 season and some believe that he has a shot to sneak into the top-50 of this draft as he closes the gap on Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz and Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey. PFF had him graded in late November as the nation’s top pass blocking center and at this point it becomes a question of if he returns for 2020 to Michigan or not. If he doesn’t, the Wolverines will be breaking in four new full-time starters on the offensive line.
CB Lavert Hill (3rd-4th round)
Hill decided to return for his senior season in Ann Arbor with unfinished business, but his draft stock by and large stayed about the same. The range for him to come off the board when April rolls around seems to be about the same time that his former teammates Jourdan Lewis (92nd overall) and David Long (79th overall) did.
LB/S Khaleke Hudson (4th-5th round)
Hudson’s numbers the last few seasons in Ann Arbor dipped, but the VIPER position by trade proves his versatility as someone who can do a little bit of everything on defense. NFL teams love guys that can fill multiple roles for them and Hudson has the look of someone who has a chance to carve out a nice role at the next level as a hybrid safety.
OT Jon Runyan Jr. (5th-6th round)
This is one player that has a chance to catch some eyeballs during the pre-draft process, especially with teams at the top of the draft scouting Ohio State’s Chase Young. All things considered, Runyan held his own in that battle against college football’s most disruptive defensive player and Young did not record a single statistic in the scorebook until late in the game. He has struggled at times against the best pass rushers he has seen, but there is potential here and he obviously has NFL blood running through his veins.
QB Shea Patterson (5th-6th round)
The new offense was tailor-made to showcase Shea Patterson, and it sure as heck did in the last month or so of the season. Still, he will enter the draft process as a player that is seen as having ball security issues as well as inconsistent accuracy. Patterson has NFL arm talent and the tools are certainly there to stick around for a few cups of coffee in the pros, at the very least.
WR Tarik Black* (5th-6th round)
There’s been a decent amount of pro hype around Black and while I do think he is an NFL talent, perhaps I’m missing what others are seeing here. He only had a single game over three receptions on the season and later in the year it seemed as if we were seeing more and more Mike Sainristil and Giles Jackson as opposed to more Black. If Peoples-Jones and Collins leave, he has a chance to be a much bigger part of the passing game, but there’s still Sainristil, Jackson, Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson, as well as incoming recruit AJ Henning. I do believe the pre-draft process would be fairly kind to him, as well, but perhaps not top-100 talent-wise.
TE Sean McKeon (6th/7th round-undrafted)
McKeon has already accepted invites to the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game showcases and those will be very important for his draft stock. He does a lot of things well, but does not necessarily have an area of his game that stands out among the others. Still, he should find himself on an NFL roster.