The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft will be taking place on Thursday evening, April 26. I don’t know about you, but this is one of the top few biggest sporting events of the year for me.
There aren’t many players leaving from a young Michigan team, so this is a much shorter list than it was in 2017. I posted their Pro Day results back in March (LINK). Here’s a look at the prospective NFLers from the Maize and Blue:
Maurice Hurst, Jr., DT (SENIOR PROFILE)
Measureables: 6’1″, 291 lbs., 77″ wingspan, 9 3/4″ hand size, 29 x 225 bench, 4.91 forty, 31″ vertical, 7.71 three-cone drill, 4.62 shuttle, 8’8.75″ broad jump
What I said in his senior profile: I used to doubt that the NFL would look at Hurst as a can’t-miss draft pick and take him in the top 10 or so, but that seems more likely now. NFL teams have had a chance to take a long, hard look at Hurst, and they have to like what they see. I can’t help having some doubts about him succeeding at the same level in the NFL as a 282 lb. nose tackle, but he’s done it against anyone and everyone in college. Maybe he plays 3-tech at the next level, and the size might prevent him from going in the top half of the first round, but there’s no way he drops out of the first round. I keep seeing him coming off the board in the 20-25 range in mock drafts, and that seems about right. The NFL game in 2018 seems more conducive to having a smaller, quicker guy who can rush the passer and split double-teams, so Hurst could carve out a long career.
Has anything changed? Yes. Hurst was sent home from the NFL Combine after he was found to have an irregular EKG. It turns out he had known about some heart issues at Michigan, but he was cleared to play, anyway. Now there is some question about how much of a risk NFL teams will take on him, since it’s tough to try to build a franchise if one of your top picks suddenly has to retire due to health issues.
Mason Cole, OC/OG (SENIOR PROFILE)
Measureables: 6’4″, 308 lbs., 78.5″ wingspan, 9 5/8″ hand size, 27.5″ vertical, 4.85 shuttle
What I said in his senior profile: The NFL is looking at Cole as an interior lineman, most likely a center. The aforementioned short arms will preclude him from playing tackle, and he’s probably not an ideal drive blocker to play the guard position. When NFL coaches had a chance to slot him in somewhere, they made him play center at the Senior Bowl, even though he hadn’t played the position in a game since 2016. Centers aren’t viewed as being extremely valuable in the NFL Draft, so I think we will probably see Cole drafted somewhere around the 4th round.
Has anything changed? If anything different, I think Cole would go lower than the 4th round. I think teams will like his versatility (he played OC, LT, and a bit of OG), but he was never a standout at any position. A team in need of a swing guy might take a shot at him in the 4th.
Mike McCray II, LB (SENIOR PROFILE)
What I said in his senior profile: McCray was a productive inside linebacker who looks like a 3-4 inside linebacker at the next level. He’s not an edge rusher, and I wonder if Michigan kept him at WILL linebacker instead of MIKE to cut down on how much contact he would take with a bad shoulder. He’s not your typical WILL, and his primary backup is the shorter, smaller former safety Devin Gil. McCray may have been a SAM linebacker in a 4-3, but some of those guys have disappeared or morphed into different body types now that the NFL is a passing league. McCray has the size and athleticism to play in the NFL. I think he has pretty good awareness and is more of a zone coverage guy than a man coverage player. He should be a third day pick in the NFL Draft as long as his shoulder holds up to teams’ scrutiny.
Has anything changed? No. I think McCray should still be a late round pick.
Khalid Hill, TE (SENIOR PROFILE)
Measureables: 6’2″, 263 lbs., 75.75″ wingspan, 9 3/8″ hand size, 21 x 225 bench
What I said in his senior profile: Hill was not invited to the NFL Combine, and fullbacks aren’t a huge part of the pro game right now. Teams will usually carry no more than one guy at his position, and as mentioned above, he’s not tall enough to be a team’s starting tight end. If he wants to make it in the NFL, I believe he will have to sign as an undrafted free agent and make the squad as a bit of an oddball guy who goes on the field mostly as a second or third tight end in heavy packages. He could end up being a poor man’s Brandon Manumaleuna.
Has anything changed? No. I still expect Hill to go undrafted, with a chance to slip into the 6th or 7th round.
Ty Isaac, RB (SENIOR PROFILE)
Measureables: 6’2″, 227 lbs., 4.72 forty
What I said in his senior profile: I don’t think Isaac will get drafted. It’s rare that 3rd string running backs get drafted, and it’s supposed to be a fairly deep class of running backs. But if I’m an NFL team, I’ve got my eye on Isaac as an undrafted free agent. Running backs are being used more and more in the passing game, and Isaac has the ability to contribute in that phase of the game.
Has anything changed? Nope.
Henry Poggi, FB (SENIOR PROFILE)
Measureables: 6’2″, 243 lbs., 75″ wingspan, 9 1/8″ hand size, 17 x 225 bench, 5.03 forty, 30″ vertical, 7.22 three-cone drill, 4.44 shuttle, 9’2.5″ broad jump
What I said in his senior profile: As I mentioned above, I wonder if the move to fullback was a death knell for his opportunity at an NFL career. NFL teams generally keep approximately one fullback on the roster, and they are also rarely of the 6’4″, 257 lb. variety. Poggi has very little experience blocking as an in-line tight end, and he probably doesn’t have the athleticism to be an NFL H-back. While there was a lot of competition for playing time on the defensive line at Michigan, that would have fit his body type better, and he would have received the full Greg Mattison Effect that has sent the likes of Ryan Glasgow, Willie Henry, and others (who were higher rated) on to NFL careers. I don’t see Poggi getting drafted, and I don’t really envision him having a long career as a free agent.
Has anything changed? Not at all. He is still very unlikely to be drafted.
UNLIKELY TO BE DRAFTED
Patrick Kugler, OC (SENIOR PROFILE)
Why? Kugler has already accepted an opportunity to be a graduate assistant at Michigan in the fall, and his performance was not up to par for the NFL, anyway.
John O’Korn, QB (SENIOR PROFILE)
Why? O’Korn never showed an ability to grasp the nuances of Michigan’s pro-style offense, and his numbers were terrible as a fifth year senior when he was pressed into a starting role for a while. Despite confidence that he’s the best prepared quarterback in the draft, not a single NFL team will agree with him.
Mike Wroblewski, LB
Why? Wroblewski was never a starter at Michigan, and that pretty much means he won’t be drafted. It will be an uphill climb for him to even get a sniff as an undrafted free agent, though his pro day numbers were impressive: 6’2″, 238 lbs., 76″ wingspan, 9 3/4″ hand size, 24 x 225 bench, 4.7 forty, 32″ vertical, 6.73 three-cone drill, 4.2 shuttle, 9′ 6.25″ broad jump
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