Off to the NFL: Hutchinson, Ojabo, Hill, Hinton, Ross, Gray, Haskins, Baldwin

Tag: early departures

8Jan 2022
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Off to the NFL: Hutchinson, Ojabo, Hill, Hinton, Ross, Gray, Haskins, Baldwin

Chris Hinton (image via Wolverines Wire)

Michigan football news was overwhelmed this week with guys announcing they were either transferring or leaving for the NFL – oh, and the Jim Harbaugh-to-the-NFL drama – so yours truly just had no chance of keeping up with all those developments.

Posts on each one of these guys will be coming down the road to summarize their careers, but I wanted to address each one here and now.

DE Aidan Hutchinson: Hutchinson played four years at Michigan and could have returned for a fifth. He was the Heisman runner-up and set the school record for sacks with 14. He has nothing else to prove and will likely be a top-5 pick in the draft, so this was the right decision for him.
Draft projection: 1st round

OLB David Ojabo: Ojabo had 11 sacks rushing the quarterback opposite Hutchinson one year after making 1 total tackle. As a redshirt sophomore, he could have come back for a couple more seasons, but he’s striking while the iron is hot. Hutchinson and Ojabo surely helped each other out, and there would be a risk in returning for 2022, considering there’s no proven pass rusher on the opposite side. He could very well have returned and put up mediocre sack numbers, hindering his draft stock. Even though Ojabo is not a good run defender, he does have outstanding athleticism and could be a year one pass rusher for an NFL team.
Draft projection: 1st round

Hit the jump for more.

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21Aug 2020
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Goodbye, Ambry Thomas

Ambry Thomas

Ambry Thomas announced that he will skip his senior season to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

Thomas attended Detroit (MI) King and was a star early in his career. I remember seeing his sophomore highlights and thinking he was the fastest football player in the state, regardless of class. He was ranked as a 4-star, the #12 cornerback, and #90 overall in the 247 Composite, and he was selected for the Army All-American Bowl. I gave him a final TTB Rating of 90 (LINK). Here’s my commitment post for him from 2016 (LINK).

Hit the jump for the rest of the post.

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19Aug 2020
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Goodbye, Jalen Mayfield

Jalen Mayfield

Offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield, who would have been a redshirt sophomore in 2020-2021, has declared for the NFL Draft.

Mayfield, from Grand Rapids (MI) Catholic Central, was recruited to Minnesota by then-Gophers offensive line coach Ed Warinner, but he flipped to Michigan when the Wolverines came through with an offer. He ended up playing in the Army All-American Bowl and finished the 2018 recruiting cycle as a 4-star, the #16 offensive tackle, and #268 overall. I initially gave him a TTB Rating of 84 (LINK) before bumping him up to an 87 at the end of the cycle (LINK).

Mayfield redshirted in 2018. He became a 13-game starter in 2019, earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten on the offensive line.

13 games played (13 starts)

Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2019)

Boy, this is going to be a short summary. Mayfield was a very athletic and exciting recruit who needed a year to work on his body. He had a rough start to the 2019 season against Middle Tennessee when he made some mental mistakes, but as the year went along, he improved significantly. His potential was exciting, and I was looking forward to watching him block relentlessly for at least another year or two. His combination of athleticism and aggression was a notch below Taylor Lewan.

. . . leaving “too early.” Who am I to say he’s leaving too early when we’re in the middle of a pandemic and the 2020 season was postponed/canceled? But we’ve never seen a guy leave Michigan for the NFL essentially after his redshirt freshman year. This is very odd and leaves me wondering how he would have looked with another year of strength, conditioning, and technique work. He would have been really good this year. Drat.

It’s not often that we have to project a redshirt freshman to the NFL, and I have no idea which players will be entering the 2021 draft. If he were eligible for the 2020 draft, he would not have been a first round pick. He simply wasn’t playing at that level. But he did show a ton of athleticism. Some people think he’s too short for tackle at 6’5″, but I think he has enough length to stick at tackle at the next level. If I had to guess right now, I would say he would be a second or third round pick in 2021, but that’s only a slightly educated guess because everything is so fluid.

4Jan 2020
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Donovan Peoples-Jones declares for the NFL Draft

Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black: Plop, plop, fizzle, fizzle… (image via 247 Sports)

Rising senior wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones declared for the NFL Draft on Friday afternoon.

Peoples-Jones is listed at 6’2″ and 208 lbs. on the 2019 roster. He reportedly ran a 40 time in the 4.4s coming out of high school. He was a 5-star, the #1 wide receiver, and #12 overall in the 2017 class, ranking as Michigan’s sixth-highest ranked recruit in the modern recruiting era (LINK).

Hit the jump for more on Peoples-Jones.

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3Jan 2020
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Cesar Ruiz is off to the NFL

Cesar Ruiz

Junior center Cesar Ruiz has declared for the NFL. He spent the past two seasons as Michigan’s starting center after playing a backup role mostly at guard as a freshman in 2017. He was ranked as the nation’s #1 center in that 2017 class and was the #47 player overall.

The Draft Network has Ruiz ranked as the #198 overall player, but I have also seen him projected as a 2nd- or 3rd-rounder. It’s too early to say which team(s) might be interested.

Personally, I thought Ruiz was a weakness in 2018, and then he had some slip-ups early this season. But then he started playing pretty darn well. If you’re not blowing protections and/or getting worked by nose tackles, you’re probably pretty good and it might be time to leave if you’re eligible.

Michigan now has 88 guys slated to be on scholarship in 2020, so three more guys still have to disappear between now and August (LINK).