We have reached the offseason in college football and the non-playoff NFL teams are moving forward with their plans to build for 2021, as well. This is where the two levels of the sport begin to come together in the Venn diagram that is the NFL Draft evaluation process. As is typically the case, the Michigan Wolverines are projected to send more than a handful of players to the professional ranks.
With that in mind, we simulated all 7-rounds via The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator to see where the board currently has Michigan prospects set to go. It is worth noting that they are constantly updating their boards to reflect trends in the pre-draft process, their own scouting, and more leading up to April.
Atlanta Falcons (Round 1, Pick 4 overall): Kwity Paye, EDGE
Let me start by pointing out that I would be stunned if Paye went this high, especially if it wound up being Atlanta. With Arthur Smith on board at head coach and facing a rebuild, it would make sense for them to go quarterback here. With that said, there has been some early top ten buzz on Paye, who did take a step forward this year even in limited snaps due to injuries. He truly is a freak and has everything NFL teams look for in an edge rusher. It also is a bit of a down year for that position group, which has a premium placed upon it second only to quarterback and offensive tackle.
Buffalo Bills (Round 1, Pick 30 overall): Jalen Mayfield, offensive tackle
This is going to be another draft that should have have another run on offensive tackles somewhere near the top half of the first round. Depending on how Mayfield tests, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up in there himself. He has pretty consistently been popping up as a first or second round pick in these simulations.
Detroit Lions (Round 2, Pick 39 overall): Cameron McGrone, linebacker
McGrone is a better player than the 2020 defensive film would show and so far, we are seeing that play out in the simulations, as well. While he never quite completely filled the shoes left behind by Devin Bush, he showed the athleticism and sideline-to-sideline ability that helped him step into that role on defense. Given that the Lions were playing traffic cones at linebacker this past season, he certainly fits what they should be looking for.
Green Bay Packers (Round 2, Pick 63 overall): Nico Collins, wide receiver
This is another deep wide receiver draft, so we are going to see the impact that not playing football this season has on Collins’ draft stock. This feels a bit high for him, but he looked every bit the part of a first round-type of talent when the ball came his way at Michigan. He will have to answer some questions during the evaluation process, which get s a little bit tougher without an NFL Combine. Nobody would argue that this would not be a great spot for him, though.
Dallas Cowboys (Round 5, Pick 177 overall): Nick Eubanks, tight end
After the second round, Michigan goes through a bit of a drought before other names wind up coming off the board. The mid-to-late rounds seem like a worthy flier on him and a selection from the Cowboys would reunite him with Sean McKeon.
Houston Texans (Round 6, Pick 199 overall): Ambry Thomas, cornerback
If there is a player in this crop of Michigan prospects that can rise up the boards with a good pre-draft process, this feels like the one. Thomas is a dynamic athlete that never truly got the chance to take that next step at Michigan, but he possesses a combo of length and athleticism that I think could make him a contributor in the NFL. He would have been Michigan’s unquestioned No. 1 corner had he not opted out of the season.
Houston Texans (Round 6, Pick 208 overall): Chris Evans, running back
Evans is in a unique situation of being a running back prospect that played all four years he was on the roster at Michigan but does not have a crazy amount of wear and tear on him. He might be able to find a role as a third-down back and special teams contributor at the next level. In fact, I would count on it.