As Sam reported yesterday, six Wolverines will be heading to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Two of those guys, Rashan Gary and Devin Bush, are expected to go on the first day of the draft. It’s been a few weeks since we checked in on mocks, so let’s dive back in.
Todd McShay dropped another mock yesterday morning, and the two Michigan studs made it into the first once again.
3. New York Jets
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan*
Henry Anderson is a free agent, and Leonard Williams has one year left on his contract, so defensive end is a need for Gang Green. Gary has good size (6-foot-5, 283) and athleticism with an explosive closing burst.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan*
There’s a void in the Steelers’ linebacker corps without Ryan Shazier. Bush, an athletic every-down backer, has the instincts to play Shazier’s middle linebacker spot. With Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt also in the mix, this unit could be pretty dominant.
I’ve gone on record saying I don’t think Gary should go this high and actually like Bush better as a prospect. Pittsburgh is probably the perfect place for him too.
Dane Brugler’s third mock at The Athletic has Gary in the top five again but a slip for Bush... who he likes.
4. Oakland Raiders – Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan Although his college production didn’t match the hype, Gary has freaky (and raw) traits for a 280-pounder that will appeal to Jon Gruden. Only one team had fewer than 30 sacks in 2018 and that was the Raiders with a paltry 13.
44. Green Bay Packers – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan If he were a few inches taller/longer, we would be talking about Bush as a top-15 pick. Instead, the Packers get him at an incredibly discounted price... Bush is tough because the size concerns do show occasionally on tape. But all I know is I want him on my team. Just a really good football player. Tremendous value if he’s there in the mid-2nd.
CBS has a trio of mocks updated from this week. Will Brinson’s:
4. Oakland Raiders
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. The Raiders need to get defensive help with their first pick if they’re not sold on a quarterback and Gary can give them a physical presence on the defensive line, where they badly need to reload after trading Khalil Mack.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. The Eagles are going to have an interesting offseason, with a lot of players no longer under contract. If they land Leonard Fournette via trade they can focus on adding a defensive player.
3. New York Jets
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. 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? People close to him say he is, without a doubt, an edge rusher. The Jets leader in sacks a season ago? Harry Anderson and Jordan Jenkins, who each had seven.
4. Oakland Raiders
Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan. Yet another pass rusher comes off the board. The Raiders are in desperate need of sacks after trading away Khalil Mack and letting Bruce Irvin walk. This past season, they finished with a league-low 13 sacks. Eleven NFL players matched the Raiders’ sack total last season. Gary hasn’t produced like an elite pass rusher yet, but he has the skillset to succeed at the next level.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Devin Bush, OLB, Michigan. The Rams should try to improve their linebacker group a year after relying on Mark Barron and Cory Littleton. You could make an argument that the Rams are better suited taking a defensive lineman given the uncertain future of Ndamukong Suh, but Bush is too good of a player for the Rams to pass on him. Jeremiah has him ranked 17th on his first big board.
Finally, as is tradition, we close with WalterFootball’s:
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.
55. Houston Texans: Chase Winovich, DE/OLB, Michigan
Whitney Mercilus struggled last year, while Jadeveon Clowney could leave via free agency next spring. The Texans may want to add another edge rusher.
Chase Winovich has incredible speed off the edge and never quits. He dominated Notre Dame in the 2018 opener.
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Chiefs need to fix the middle of their defense, as they have one of the worst linebacking corps in the NFL.
So, what does this all mean? Again, mostly nothing. These drafts won’t really settle in until players work out at the combine and their respective senior days. There’s a ton of variables that’ll be in play between now and then.
Once those are complete, it’s still important to remember these guys don’t know anything. If they did, they’d work
for the Raiders in the league. They’re judging film, but they’re mostly being fed fodder from agents, executives and scouts who are looking to play a public game for leverage.
With that said, I do think it’s interesting the consensus seems to be Gary will go either No. 3 to the New York Jets or No. 4 to the Oakland Raiders. Again, I think that’s high, but I’m here and what do I know? Bush will likely be made or broken by the combine. If he runs something in the 4.5s, or even, the 4.4s, he should cement himself as a high pick.
I think his lack of experience in zone defense is going to be a minor red flag for teams. He’s clearly got the downhill ability and sideline-to-sideline speed, but how comfortable is he reacting in zone? The Bucs’ Kwon Alexander is a good comparison point. Alexander, before tearing his ACL was a real boom or bust linebacker. His skill set is very similar to Bush’s.
Winovich popping up so early in Walter’s mock was interesting. He’s another guy that could benefit from a big combine, especially if his athleticism tests better than expected, and his strength shows out.
Finally, though he doesn’t appear on any of these, David Long should see a stock bump if he measures better than expected or makes up for it with good explosion measurements.
We’ll update these again after combine at the end of the month.