The Wolverines showcased a school record breaking exodus of talent to the NFL last season with 11 players who wound up having their names called in the 2017 draft. That includes names like Jabrill Peppers, Taco Charlton, and Jourdan Lewis. However, that’s just the draft total, 7 players we’re also selected to join NFL training camps, notable names like De’Veon Smith, Channing Stribling, and Dymonte Thomas. With double digit upperclassmen and impact players being drafted this past spring, the question remains, who are the notable names that could still find their names called in the 2018 draft.
The first name that should come to every Michigan fan this season is Maurice Hurst, being the highest graded PFF defensive player in the nation through the first 8 weeks of the season. If Hurst keeps up this level of play not only will he be a potential All-American and Big Ten 1st team with that he will also ultimately find himself playing on Sundays as a first rounder.
*Disclaimer: For this I used about 5-6 websites that I have used in the past and that I do like; I just gathered info based on most of those sites and summarized them below.
Maurice “Mo” Hurst
(RS) Senior Defensive Tackle:
Charlie Campbell senior writer at Walterfootball.com:
No. 63-Cleveland Browns
Campbell on Hurst
“The 6-foot-2, 282-pounder is a quick defender at the point of attack who can cause a lot of disruption. If Hurst were a few inches taller with more length, he would likely be a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Hurst could play end or tackle in the NFL, but his best fit likely would be in a 4-3 defense that plays him at end on rush downs and moves him inside for passing situations.”
No. 28-Carolina Panthers
Walterfootball classifies Hurst as a late first round defensive end for the Carolina Panthers where the likes of Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson won’t be around forever and that they will need another defensive end across from Mario Addison.
No. 43 (overall ranking)
No. 17-New Orleans Saints
Chris Trapasso and his mock draft that came out earlier this month has Hurst going to the Saints. Hurst along side of Sheldon Rankins, that’s a combo that is sure to rattle the rest of the NFC South.
Draft Wire: Mock Draft by Luke Easterling
“America’s Team addressed some of their biggest defensive needs with some talented Wolverines in the 2017 draft, so why not keep a good thing going? This may seem high to some, but Hurst has been a wrecking ball for one of the nation’s best defensive lines this season, and could easily end up worthy of a top-10 selection.”
Bleacher Report; Mock Draft by Ryan McCrystal
No. 22 Denver Broncos
McCrystals’ mock draft was mostly a list of names with a few player evaluations, Hurst wasn’t one of the featured evaluations but did get another first round grade this time getting picked up by the Mile High city.
Outlook: Obviously Hurst is a very talented player and a beast is the middle of this 2017 Wolverine line and if he can keep up production like he has been this season the only shocking draft spot for him would be outside the first 2 rounds. The only thing that keeps him from a constantly rising draft stock is getting stifled against the remaining competition or a very unfortunate injury. Either way Hurst is sitting pretty.
My projection: First rounder
(RS) Senior Offensive Lineman
No. 61 overall
No. 66- San Francisco 49ers
Outlook: Now at this point in the college football season some players are still paving the way to their payday, for Cole his path is already paved. He projects to be a center at the professional level and with him taking a detour this season at the left tackle position. He’s been the best offensive lineman for the Wolverines for the better part of 2 years it only makes sense that he should be a draft pick.
My Projection: 3rd-4th round pick
Mike McCray Jr.
(RS) Senior Inside Linebacker
CBS Prospect rankings:
Outlook: as the only true returning starter McCray was elected as a captain for this season’s Michigan Wolverines and as a true run stopper and more of a liability in coverage on running back wheel routes and tunnel screens McCray and his stock have taken a bit of a hit this season. Even with his stock taking a hit, a strong combine showing of strength, quickness, and a surprising 40 time how cause him to be a much higher draft pick than anticipated. But as for his draft stock I can see him going a lot earlier or a lot later than his stock projects it’s just too early to tell and not sure if his game will be able to transfer to the professional level.
My Projection: Late 3rd-High 6th
Other names that could find their way on NFL rosters are the likes of:
Chase Winovich-(RS) Junior-DE
My Projection-2nd to 4th
I think a team that drafts him has to use him as a stand up OLB in a 3-4 system he is undersized as a down lineman but he has the motor to not give up on a play. I see him as a developmental player that a pass rush hungry team would take a chance on with a higher draft pick but could see him slipping. Also with one more season of eligibility we could very well see him suit up for the Wolverines again in 2018 as to build upon his stock much like Mo Hurst has done so far this season.
Patrick Kugler– (RS) Senior-C
As a first year starter Kugler hasn’t dazzled and is undersized at the professional level a camp invite might be lofty here.
Ty Isaac-(RS) Senior-RB
Isaac started off the 2017 season on fire and since the hot start has been quelled he would have to reclaim the starting spot over Kiran Higdon and put up serious numbers in the final stretch. However I can see a running back needy team scooping him up on day three with a solid combine on his resume, however ball security or lack-thereof could see him being undrafted.
Bryan Mone-(RS) Junior-DT
Mone is on this part in part because with all of the way too early drafts and rankings I didn’t see his name come up but at 6’3” 325 he is a big body for a defensive tackle and a solid run stopper I expect Mone to be selected in the 2018 draft assuming he declares early which is not a certainty.
Khalid Hill-(RS) Senior-FB
My Projection – UDFA
Straight up Fullbacks just don’t seem to get picked unless it’s super late in the draft or just a superior talent like Jalston Fowler or Michael Burton but I can see Hill following in the footsteps of the likes of Joe Kerridge and signing with a fullback using team and potentially sticks.
Henry Poggi-(RS) Senior-FB
My Projection – UDFA
See Above. Except maybe more Sione Houma.
Noah Furbush-(RS) Junior-LB
My Projection – 7th to UDFA
Personally I like Furbush but he isn’t a playmaker and is typically used a guy who takes up blocks for other linebackers and defensive lineman however he has good speed for a 6’4” linebacker and if he comes back next season I could see him fulfilling a role very similar to Ben Gideon and Joe Bolden as of the last few years.
So there you have it. While the 2018 draft will be nothing like the 2017 draft in terms of double digit players garnering as much attention, based on decisions some of these guys make, they could still end up on draft boards. Mo Hurst is clearly going to be the best prospect going into the draft, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 5-6 guys make NFL rosters.