2023 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan

2023 NFL Draft Preview: Michigan

April 26, 2023
D.J. Turner II is fast!

With the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft coming up on Thursday night, here’s a look at how things might play out for several former Wolverines:

CB D.J. Turner II: Turner wowed people at the Combine by running a 4.26 in the forty, which seems to have launched him from maybe a mid-round pick to the lower end of the 1st round. Personally, I do not view him as a 1st round talent and I do not think he’s physical enough at 5’11” and 178 lbs. to play up to those expectations. But it sure seems like a lot of people are convinced he’s going to go in the mid- to late 20s on Thursday night.
Prediction: 1st round

DT Mazi Smith: Smith was the #1 freak on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” last year, but that athleticism wasn’t enough to turn him into a surefire 1st round selection in 2023. In fact, some early optimism about being a high 1st round pick has fizzled to the point where many think he’s a 2nd rounder. At 6’3″ and 323 lbs., he has good size but isn’t an outlier in that area. I think he could slip into the last few picks of the 1st round, but more likely he’ll have to wait until Friday.
Prediction: 2nd round

Hit the jump for more.

TE Luke Schoonmaker: Schoonmaker measured in at 6’5″ and 251 lbs. with a 4.63 forty, a 10’7″ broad jump, and a 4.27 shuttle time. His blocking is solid and he has decent production, but he’s not a difference maker. He could be the type of guy who starts or plays a #2 tight end role for years in the league, but he’s not ever going to be a star because he doesn’t appear to be great at any one thing. There are a lot of solid tight ends in this draft, so I think he will get picked on Saturday.
Prediction: 4th round

DE Mike Morris: Morris is 6’5″ and 275 lbs., which is decent size, but his 4.95 forty was disappointing at the NFL Combine. During the early part of the 2022 season, some were speculating that his production would lead to being a 1st round pick. But you could tell by watching him that he lacked the explosion necessary. He just bullied offensive tackles into the quarterback, which is fine in college, but it doesn’t work against high level competition. Morris is almost certainly a day three pick now.
Prediction: 5th round

K Jake Moody: Moody is a kicker. I recuse myself from claiming any knowledge about kickers besides basic stats and accomplishments. He won the Groza Award for being the best kicker in FBS in 2021, and he’s made 52/60 field goal attempts over the past two seasons.
Prediction: 5th round

OT Ryan Hayes: Despite good height at 6’6″ and 298 lbs., Hayes has relatively short arms at 32 1/2″. Some NFL scouts think that might prevent him from playing tackle at the next level. Personally, I thought Hayes stagnated a little bit in his development; he has been a consistently good player over the past few seasons, but he didn’t take that next step in 2022 that I hoped for to become a dominant blocker. He may need to play guard at the next level.
Prediction: 5th round

WR Ronnie Bell: Bell measured in at 6’0″ and 191 lbs., and he ran a 4.54 forty with a 38.5″ vertical and a 4.15 shuttle. He is one of the more intriguing Michigan prospects in the draft, because he was always doubted – even going back to high school – and still kept producing and achieving. He was Michigan’s leading receiver in three out of his four healthy seasons, despite many thinking that someone, anyone, would outshine him from year to year. His speed is so-so, his strength is underwhelming, and yet he always finds a way to get it done. If I’m an NFL team, I’m interested in giving him a late shot as someone who can help on special teams and maybe be a fourth or fifth receiver.
Prediction: 6th round

C Olu Oluwatimi: Okay, I don’t understand the whole Oluwatimi thing. I’ve seen him anywhere from a mid-round pick to some scouts saying they have no idea why teams are even thinking of drafting him. This is a guy who was a Rimington finalist in 2021 and then won it in 2022. He’s the best college center – and interior lineman – in the entire country, but he can’t even be a 6th or 7th round draft pick? I was skeptical of him when he came from Virginia because of things I saw on film, but he was in a better program in 2022 and performed even better. At 6’2 1/2″ and 309 lbs., he has adequate size for the center position. He may struggle to be a swing guy (someone who can play center and guard), so he’s probably a center only, but one of the 32 teams in the NFL could use the Rimington Award winner, even if he’s not the top drafted center (which may be John Michael Schmitz from Minnesota).
Prediction: 6th round

I expect the following outgoing players to go undrafted:

CB Gemon Green
TE Joel Honigford
P Brad Robbins

I know Green and Robbins are preparing for the NFL and may get picked up as undrafted free agents if they’re not selected, but I’m not even sure if Honigford has any intentions of playing at the next level.

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