A handful of Maize n Brew staff members got together this week to answer a few prompts heading into the home stretch of the NFL Draft. Here are their responses as it pertains to a handful of Michigan storylines.
Which Michigan player do you think has the best chance of outperforming his draft stock?
Trevor: Ben Mason. There aren’t many Michigan players I would draft this cycle where they are projected. Mason is going to be a great value in the later rounds and is arguably the best fullback in the draft. It isn’t his fault Michigan didn’t utilize him properly, and NFL teams realize this.
Anthony: I truly believe Chris Evans is going to work his way into a running back stable and be a productive player in this league. People in NFL front offices feel this way too and he is the dirty little secret of a lot of scouting departments it sounds like. He runs tough and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s going to have an opportunity to shine somewhere.
Von: Nico Collins. He isn’t projected to go high, but with his combination of size and speed, he could very well be a future stud in the NFL.
Dan: Nico Collins. The fact that he is a third-round grade by most outlets really surprised me. Before he opted out I remember several places slotting him in as a late-first to mid-second round pick. The only thing that changed is that he didn’t play for a year. He’s got really impressive size and tracking skills on home run balls and can adjust in the air to make the spectacular catches. I like how his game translates to the next level and I think he is going to make an NFL team really happy in the long term.
Which Michigan player might have the hardest time in making an impact in the NFL?
Trevor: Nick Eubanks. I really don’t know how he can contribute in the NFL. Deficiencies in nearly every area of his game.
Anthony: Carlo Kemp was a solid starter for Michigan, but he might have a tough road ahead in trying to find an NFL fit. He is probably too light to play defensive tackle, but too big to play defensive end. He has his work cut out for him, but his relation to the Paganos should give him a chance to find a training camp home and go from there.
Von: Carlo Kemp. He’s always been an in-betweener at Michigan, and he will likely still be that in the NFL. He’s always had solid production but was never a true game-changing player. I wish him the absolute best, but do think it’ll be a challenge for him.
Dan: Jalen Mayfield. His numbers at his pro day were staggeringly bad and he dropped rather considerably from a late-first rounder to a second or third-round pick because of it. He’s coming off an injury, and I don’t know if he is athletic enough to hold his ground on the outside of the line for much longer. I think he is a guard at the next level and it is a position he is going to have to learn after playing right tackle the past few seasons in Ann Arbor. If a team and their fans are expecting him to be a tackle, and he struggles and is moved to the interior, I think he may get a bit of flak early on in his career.
How many Wolverines are we talking about as first-round picks come next year?
Trevor: Oh man, this is a great question and one that’s very much up in the air. Right now I’d say none. But this is a fluid situation that could change in a hurry if players produce in 2021 and Michigan actually had a good season.
Anthony: Daxton Hill has a shot to be a Minkah Fitzpatrick/Derwin James type of player in Michigan’s defense and will be someone to watch for. Aidan Hutchinson would be the other one for me, especially if he shows an ability to rush from an outside linebacker spot as well as with his hand in the dirt.
Von: I could see a few guys be considered — Daxton Hill, Ryan Hayes, Aidan Hutchinson — but that will depend on their production, of course. I think if I had to choose one guy, it’d be Hutchinson.
Dan: Daxton Hill. That’s it. Aidan Hutchinson may have a chance depending on his health after returning from the fractured leg this season, but he is going to be learning a new defensive scheme. I’m not sure that he is going to do enough to move the needle from a borderline first-rounder to a sure-fire one. Outside of that, I’m not sure there is anyone that could make that jump. Someone would have to have a heck of a breakout season to earn a first-round pick. For now, it is those two names, and I’m more confident in Hill as a prospect.