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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Where Michigan Wolverines are projected pre-NFL Combine

The Wolverines have quite a few guys who could be drafted this spring.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Fiesta Bowl Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Daniel Plocher Dan Plocher contributes to Maize n’ Brew in several areas including podcasts, game previews/recaps, and various YouTube videos.

The 2022 NFL Draft season was such a high for Michigan fans. Aidan Hutchinson was fighting for the top pick from the jump, and Daxton Hill and David Ojabo were likely first-rounders as well. The offseason was full of speculation about where they would get picked.

While the 2023 season was even better for the Michigan Wolverines, they do not have as many top-of-the-line, household brand names in this draft. A large reason for that is because their biggest name, Blake Corum, is returning for one more season.

Still, there are plenty Wolverines who expect to hear their names called in April, and several of them will be able to do wonders for their draft stock between now and then. Let’s round up what we could find on where the Wolverines could be headed come the 2023 NFL Draft.

DJ Turner

“An NFL team will be receiving one of the better cover corners in the 2023 draft class. Turner’s blend of athleticism, competitiveness, instincts, and coverage flexibility gives him a high floor and ceiling heading into the NFL. Turner looks his best in tight man-to-man coverage. This is where his quiet footwork and smooth transitions are an advantage. Teams that need a young cornerback that can step into the CB2 spot as a rookie will be happy with Turner.”

Ronnie Bell

“Bell projects as a No. 3 wide receiver and return specialist early in his career. His ability to get open and work from multiple alignments creates a fluid NFL offensive fit. He can become a movement piece for a passing game in 11-personnel (3WR) packages. There is developmental upside for Bell to become the second wide receiver behind an established No. 1 option. Bell’s return prowess will allow him to make an impact for a team while he finds his place within the offensive system.”

“Fluid build and length. Numerous alignments, including both tight and out wide, as an X, F, and Z receiver. Good blocker that will help spring runs with perimeter stalk blocks. He can easily change pace in his route tempo. Sudden hips to sink in and out of breaks, making speed-outs or hinge concepts look easy. Shows the ability to separate vertically when placed in one-on-one situations to the boundary. He wins off the line of scrimmage and stacks corners while tracking the ball over his shoulder. He knows how to help the quarterback and ad-lib out of structure. Doesn’t provide much after the catch. Seems to have to wait on the ball a lot or bog down in the open field.”

Mazi Smith

“Smith has a two-down appeal right now as an NFL prospect. His value as a run defender is high. If defenses continue to run the two-high safety sets next season, he will be valued well. He does not offer high-end passing-down value. There is some ability to impact quarterbacks with interior pressure but he will need to play quicker and more refined technically.”

“Smith might not be in many first-round mocks right now, but he’s a supreme athlete for his size and should fly up boards following the scouting combine. Smith made Bruce Feldman’s freak list prior to the season and looks to be the next freak athlete Michigan puts into the NFL from its defensive line.”

Olu Oluwatimi

“Oluwatimi’s experience should be viewed well and valued by NFL evaluators. He has seen plenty of defensive fronts and concepts. I project Oluwatimi to a more zone-oriented offense where he can work with momentum and laterally in the run game. His pass protection skills are enticing and his strength. I believe he can come in as a plug-and-play starter at the center position. His game can be elevated with improved lower body flexibility and bend.”

“Overall, Oluwatimi is a highly decorated, experienced and smart player with good processing skills, spatial awareness and an understanding of leverage. He will need to overcome below-average physical traits and a lack of proven versatility to become a starter but has the makeup and smarts to develop into a role player over his first contract.”

Ryan Hayes

“Hayes has the size, and play demeanor NFL decision-makers will value. He is functional to solid in both run and pass blocking. Yet, he is not a master of either. I project him to be kicked inside to guard due to his arm length. Hayes is better battling in tight quarters where he can eliminate the issue of arm length/reach. I do not envision him as a long-term starting option for an offense at tackle but as a viable backup in a pinch. There is a path for him as a guard at the next level.”

“A big, tough offensive lineman with a powerful upper body and two years of experience in one of the most highly-regarded programs in the country for offensive linemen, but he is a somewhat limited athlete who needs to clean up his pass sets and hand placement. Will most likely be asked to play on the right side at the pro level or potentially as a swing reserve; may be a little bit too tall to play on the inside.”

Mike Morris

“Morris is a very different mold from the two Michigan edge rushers to come before him, and he doesn’t have quite as much pass-rushing upside outside the tackle. But the appeal with Morris comes from his unique size and athletic profile, as well as the projected alignment versatility that comes with that.”

“Morris primarily rushed from two-point stances in 2022. He appears to have adequate to above-average arm length for the position. Morris offers an excellent combination of height and weight with strength throughout his frame. The senior hammers pulling guards and often uses his power to reset the line of scrimmage at the point of attack. He has no trouble anchoring one-on-one against the run and sets hard edges. Morris uses his hands to deconstruct blocks and make splash plays in the backfield. He has surprising closing speed and offers some upside as a backside run defender. Morris flows down the line to the football against the run. He takes good pursuit angles to the ball. The Florida native is excellent at timing the snap, which he pairs with an explosive first step. He accelerates into his rush, allowing him to convert speed to power at the point of contact.”

Luke Schoonmaker

“A solid inline tight end with the size, toughness, functional strength, and work rate teams look for in a “Y”, but who doesn’t have many explosive elements to his game and will probably continue to be limited to more of a safety valve role at the next level. Primary value will likely come as a blocker, where he has the physical tools, temperament, and technique to successfully execute a variety of different assignments.”

“Long with brawny stature that carries his pads evenly throughout his body. Best role is a Y tight end or as the point man in a bunch set. Natural athlete that looks smooth in his movement patterns. Active lower body with fluidity that radiates from his hips to his feet. Straight line burst is evident when used as a seam buster. Stretches the field with stride length and acceleration that gets on top of defenders quick, pushing the boundary on rail routes. Excellent hand-eye coordination is utilized to catch the front side of the ball. Snags one-handed passes on overthrows without hesitation. Has suddenness in his routes that can catch linebackers off guard. Cerebral player that understands when to sit in zone coverage.”

Jake Moody

Brad Robbins