The following players (listed in alphabetical order) are Michigan’s best bets, in my opinion, to be drafted in 2023. Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan teams have produced 6.3 NFL draft picks per class during his tenure, so it’s a good bet that Michigan gets around this number of players to be selected.
TE Erick All
Senior Erick All was reportedly considering leaving the NFL after the 2021 season, but he decided to return. After a 2020 season in which he struggled with drops, he turned into a reliable target with 38 catches (second on the team) for 437 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a game-winning catch-and-run against Penn State. All is a solid blocker with good speed and run-after-catch ability, and he has a lithe 6’4″, 245 lb. frame. He probably won’t be first round material, but he could be a day two or three pick.
Hit the jump for more.
WR Ronnie Bell
Redshirt senior Ronnie Bell averaged a whopping 76 yards per catch in 2021. Unfortunately, that was on just 1 catch, because he tore his ACL on his lone punt return of the season in the opener. Prior to last season, Bell led Michigan in receiving in both 2019 and 2020. At just 6’0″ and 182 lbs., and without blazing speed, Bell is unlikely to be a high pick. However, he has a lot of production, is a willing blocker, and has a knack for breaking tackles. In the right situation, he could be a productive slot, but he’s probably looking at a day three selection.
RB Blake Corum
Corum, a junior in 2022, is powerfully built at 5’8″ and 200 lbs., and he will get an opportunity in 2022 to carry more of the load now that Hassan Haskins (Tennessee Titans) is now in the NFL. Corum had 952 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021, and he showed the kind of quickness and long speed that makes him an intriguing big-play option. The lack of size is a bit of a concern if he can’t bulk up over 200 pounds (or can’t maintain his quickness if he does bulk), but if he can create a similar percentage of big plays on more opportunities, then the NFL will be intrigued. Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III was the top back selected in 2021, and he measured in at 5’9″ and 211 lbs. at the NFL Combine.
OT Ryan Hayes
Fifth year senior Ryan Hayes (6’7″, 307 lbs.) has started eighteen games at Michigan and would have started a few more if not for getting injured in 2020. He was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches in 2021, and I think it’s fair to expect that he will repeat – or be named First Team – in 2022. Michigan has had a few non-prototypes drafted (Mike Onwenu, Jon Runyan Jr., etc.) in recent years, and Hayes looks the part more than them. While he has yet to be dominant, the former high school tight end should put up decent testing numbers and his play at the Big Ten level should warrant a selection.
WR Cornelius Johnson
Johnson has averaged an oddly consistent 15.2 to 15.9 yards per catch for the past three seasons. He has not been a high volume target, but the consistency is nice. He’s an above average player who hearkens back to Michigan’s heyday of 6’3″-ish, 215-pound-ish wideouts. Johnson is 6’3″, 211 lbs. and caught the fourth-longest pass in Michigan history when he grabbed an 87-yarder against Northern Illinois in 2021. An all-around solid player, Johnson is another prospect for a mid- to late-round pick who physically looks like an NFL receiver.
DE Mike Morris
Probably the least proven player on this list, Morris is expected to step in for #2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson (Detroit Lions). Morris (6’6″, 278 lbs.) has just 18 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks in his career, but he has been backing up some good players. Jim Harbaugh went on record this spring saying that he thinks Morris could pick up where Hutchinson left off, and while I do not expect 14 sacks from him in 2022 – Hutchinson’s school record – the Wolverines have produced good edge players in recent years. If Morris is indeed the starter at Hutchinson’s position, he should put up good enough numbers to get a look from the NFL.
C Olu Oluwatimi
A sixth year senior, Oluwatimi is a three-year starter at the University of Virginia who comes to Michigan after finishing second in the Rimington Trophy voting (an award given to the nation’s top center). The winner of that award was first round NFL draft pick Tyler Linderbaum, whom the Ravens picked out of Iowa. While there are certainly no guarantees that the #2 guy from last year will be the #1 guy now that Linderbaum is gone, it bodes well for Oluwatimi’s chances to get a lot of attention from scouts for the 2022 draft class. The 6’3″, 310 lb. Oluwatimi received a lot of compliments from coaches and fellow players in the spring, and he should be a solid piece in the middle for the Wolverines.
You need to login in order to vote
You must belogged in to post a comment.