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2021 NFL Draft: Looking back at Michigan’s last 10 first round picks

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Will any Wolverines add their name to the list on Thursday night?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 Indiana at Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines are one of the most storied programs in the country, home to many prominent college players who turned into great pros. Just four schools have had more players selected in the NFL draft, with 47 of them landing in the first round, which is tied for eighth-most in the nation.

On Thursday night, it looks like that list will grow. Kwity Paye seems destined for a selection in the middle of the first round, and it would not be completely shocking to see Jalen Mayfield hear his name called as well. Odd years have been good to the Wolverines recently; here is a quick look back at the last 10 first rounders to come out of Ann Arbor.

2020, Pick 24: Cesar Ruiz (NO)

Ruiz kept the tradition alive last year by being selected by the Saints. Ruiz played in 15 games last season and made nine starts up front at guard in Drew Brees’ final season in New Orleans.

2019, Pick 10: Devin Bush (PIT)

The 2018 All-American was a hot commodity leading up to the draft, with many analysts falling in love with the dominant linebacker. The Steelers liked him so much that they moved up 10 picks to take him at 10th overall. A strong rookie season was unfortunately followed by a torn ACL early in 2020, but he should be back this fall.

2019, Pick 12: Rashan Gary (GB)

Two picks later, Bush’s controversial teammate was selected as well. Expectations are always high for the No. 1 overall recruit, but Gary’s impact was never quite as significant as desired. Still, the Packers saw the talent he possessed and took him early in the draft. His professional impact has been modest so far, but his story is not yet over.

2017, Pick 25: Jabrill Peppers (CLE)

A couple years before Gary, it was Peppers who took the criticism of the fanbase for not meeting expectations. The No. 2 overall recruit was the start of the (over?) hyped Viper position and was a frequent contributor on special teams and offense as well. He slid in the draft mostly due to his in-betweenness rather than his production, and but he has turned into a decent NFL safety.

2017, Pick 28: Taco Charlton (DAL)

Charlton really came on strong in his last couple years in college, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors in 2016. He racked up 10 sacks that season, propelling him to a first-round selection by the Cowboys. The defensive end has bounced around a bit during his first few years in the NFL, though he was re-signed with the Chiefs last month after joining Kansas City in 2020.

2014, Pick 11: Taylor Lewan (TEN)

Lewan is a masher, twice winning Big Ten lineman of the year before being selected as the Titans’ left tackle of the future. He definitely has had some troubles off the field, but production-wise there are no complaints; Lewan has been selected to three Pro Bowls already and has the fourth-largest active tackle contract.

2010, Pick 13: Brandon Graham (PHI)

The five-star Detroit kid was recruited as a linebacker, but it really only made sense for him to play defensive end. He justified that decision easily, earning plenty of collegiate honors including Big Ten MVP in 2009. The Eagles moved up to pick him and he has enjoyed an 11-year career in Philadelphia ever since, which includes a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl appearance.

2008, Pick 1: Jake Long (MIA)

Long is the only Wolverine to be selected first-overall in the modern era. A prototypical NFL tackle, he lived up to the billing as a four-time Pro Bowler after earning consecutive consensus All-American honors. Long retired in 2017 after playing in just over 100 games with four different teams.

2007, Pick 18: Leon Hall (CIN)

Another consensus All-American, Hall was a key member of the 2006 Michigan defense. Hall played the majority of his 12 NFL seasons with the Bengals, spending most of the time as one of Cincinnati’s starting cornerbacks. All in all, he recorded 27 interceptions and 117 pass breakups over his career.

2005, Pick 3: Braylon Edwards (CLE)

A personal favorite, Edwards was a force in college, winning the Biletnikoff and Big Ten MVP awards in 2004. He was taken third-overall by the Browns but never quite lived up to the billing and was eventually traded to the Jets before signing a few one-year contracts. The highlight was his 2007 Pro Bowl season which included 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.

2005, Pick 29: Marlin Jackson (IND)

Jackson was a shutdown college corner, ending his time at Michigan as an All-American. He did not quite replicate this success in the NFL, but he was a starter on the 2006 Colts team that won the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, he dealt with a few injuries that ultimately ended his career in 2011.