The NFL season has come to a close as Week 18 action wrapped up on Sunday. Fourteen teams are headed to the playoffs, but the other 18 have high hopes their next pick could change the direction of the franchise.
Two Michigan Wolverines are projected to be top picks on just about everyone’s big boards. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo were the best pass-rush in college football in 2021 and now they will very likely be rewarded this April. Let’s see where the experts have them placed and what they are saying about these two freaks:
All these rankings came before the finale of Week 18 and teams/draft positions may have changed because of the results.
“Hutchinson plays a powerful game and is truly relentless in pursuit. He also has fast eyes and locates the ball really well. I like his inside move, and his ability to line up on either side and drop in coverage will be valuable to NFL teams. The senior can stack blockers at the point of attack and has active hands. He had 14.0 sacks (third in the country), 19 tackles for loss (tied for 23rd), 75 tackles, 66 pressures (second) and two forced fumbles this season for the Wolverines. If you want to see just how dominant Hutchinson can be, go watch his tape from Michigan’s late-November win over Ohio State, when he had three sacks, 14 pressures and 10 tackles.”
No. 11 overall prospect, DE David Ojabo
“Lining up opposite Aidan Hutchinson on Michigan’s defensive front, Ojabo has really come on this season, posting 11.0 sacks (tied for 11th in the country), 14 tackles for loss, 39 pressures and five forced fumbles (tied for second). He has a super quick first step and excellent torso flexibility, and his dip-and-rip move is very effective. He has speed and hunts for the ball, but he can get stuck on blocks occasionally. Ojabo is sudden and instinctive, and he has very little wasted movement coming off the edge, running a tight loop. He plays with discipline against the run, doing a good job keeping the outside lanes contained.”
“Hutchinson is a great example of a player who got better each and every season, and instead of coming out early he stayed in school, balled out as a senior, and made himself into arguably the best player — on either side of the ball — in the country during the ‘21 college football season. Yes, he struggled against Georgia on Saturday, and yes, it’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to his performance (see the No. 1 pick above!) but the reality is that great players have off days and he’s still the favorite to be the first pick in the ‘22 draft.”
No. 16 pick (BAL), DE David Ojabo
“Prior to the semifinal loss to Georgia, Ojabo was a lot of fun to watch this season, where he took advantage of every opportunity playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson. But don’t get it twisted — he’s a twitchy edge rusher who will only get better with experience. In Baltimore, he’ll join another athletic marvel, 2021 first-round edge rusher Odafe Oweh, who has had some jaw-dropping plays as a rookie.”
“One game should never define any prospect, so if Hutchinson was worthy of this spot before a fairly a quiet performance against Georgia, he should still be here right now. It’ll be a tough call between him and Kayvon Thibodeaux, and it won’t be surprising if the Jags go either way.”
No. 20 pick (LAC), DE David Ojabo
“Grabbing an explosive edge rusher to pair with Joey Bosa should be a high priority, and that’s exactly what they get here with Ojabo, one of the fastest-rising prospects in this class.”
**This was a three-round mock draft that included more Wolverines.
No. 34 pick (DET), S Daxton Hill
“Hutchinson wasn’t spectacular against Georgia, but he has the best combination of size, power, athleticism, and pass-rushing moves at the edge rusher spot in this class.”
No. 21 pick (PHI), DE David Ojabo
“Ojabo is a hyper-athletic, somewhat raw rusher who’ll instantly replace Derek Barnett in Philadelphia.”
“Heading into the 2022 season, the Jaguars need a reason to be optimistic and they will find this optimism through their No. 1 pick, Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson has proven that he is the guy to lead a team and is a supremely talented player. When the Jaguars make this pick, they can be comfortable in the fact that now they have a leader on the offense in Trevor Lawrence and a leader on defense in Hutchinson. “
No. 14 pick (PHI), S Daxton Hill
“The Eagles need speed and versatility on the defensive side of the ball and that’s exactly what defensive back Daxton Hill will provide. Hill is a versatile defender that can play safety and slide down into the nickel position and cover slots man to man. The Eagles seem to have good players in the trenches but now it’s time they work on the edges of their defensive backfield.”
No. 23 pick (NE), DE David Ojabo
“Every year there is a prospect that catapults himself out of nowhere into a first-round-worthy draft pick. This year it’s David Ojabo. The Patriots love taking versatile linebacker/edge rushers and take Ojabo with this pick. Ojabo has only played football a few years, but Bill Belichick will find him intriguing and believe that he can develop Ojabo’s athletic traits into an impactful football player.”
“Detroit is going to take the best prospect available in its mind, and that leads me to Hutchinson. Culturally, I think he is a great fit for how Dan Campbell is trying to build that team. Romeo Okwara and the Michigan product would form a respectable tandem.”
No. 29 pick (KC), DE David Ojabo
“Ojabo would be a welcomed youthful infusion as Kansas City looks for a suitable future (at the defensive end position).”
“Despite the underwhelming night against Georgia, no college football player played better football in 2021 than Hutchinson. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound pass-rusher earned an FBS-leading 94.5 PFF grade in 2021 and did so after suffering a season-ending leg fracture during the shortened 2020 season.
With his power, get-off and advanced rush ability, Hutchinson has been virtually unblockable this season.”
**David Ojabo not a first-rounder
Early indications are Michigan could have its dynamic duo of defenders in the first round of the upcoming draft. And Hill may not be too far behind because of his athleticism. Things are looking good for these Wolverines as the NFL season comes to a close. We’ll update you weekly here at Maize n Brew as opinions and draft positions may be flipped as we approach April’s draft.