Which 16 Michigan football players are expected to be drafted?

Which Michigan football players will be drafted?


It's no secret that head coach Jim Harbaugh has turned around the Michigan football program in just two seasons. The results have been obvious on the field, as a team that missed three bowl games over seven years has gone 20-6 under Harbaugh.

But the results are also starting to show on an individual level, as the Wolverines are expected to send a throng of quality players to the NFL this offseason.

READWhich players are leaving Michigan this offseason?

How many Michigan players will be picked in the NFL draft? NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter predicts that as many as 16 Wolverines will hear their names called in April, more than any other school in the country.

To put that number in perspective, Michigan hasn't had more than three players selected in any draft since 2008. The Wolverines' last draft with double digit players selected was in 1972, when 10 players were picked, according to the school's official athletics website.

If 16 Michigan players are drafted this year, it will match the number of Michigan players selected in the last six drafts combined.

Here's a look at the players Reuter expects to be drafted.

Early rounds

Michigan has four players projected to go in the first two rounds, including a few players who might be first-round draft picks. One of these players could become Michigan's first first-round draft pick since Taylor Lewen was selected 11th overall in 2014.

DE Taco Charlton: Charlton was a phenomenal edge rusher for Michigan this season, making 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. He was a one-man pass rush in Michigan's Orange Bowl loss to Florida State and is now likely to be a first-round selection.

CB Jourdan Lewis: Whoever drafts Lewis is getting one of the best cover cornerbacks in the country. He allowed just 10 catches for 107 yards in nine games during the regular season and defended 39 passes in his college career.

S Jabrill Peppers: Considered a late first-rounder, Peppers is one of the most dynamic players in the draft. Though he played cornerback and linebacker throughout his Michigan career, he projects as a safety in the NFL. Peppers scored five touchdowns on offense, made 21.5 tackles for loss on defense and became a feared punt returner on special teams.

DE Chris Wormley: A team captain out of Toledo, Ohio, Wormley made 23.5 tackles for loss and over 80 tackles in his final two seasons. Wormley didn't have the pure pass-rush ability of Charlton, but he's disruptive in the backfield and was one of Michigan's smartest defenders.

Middle rounds

Some of these players could probably slip to the later rounds, but it's possible that one could be taken in the second round. Michigan has only had five players taken in the first four rounds the last two seasons, so eight in one draft would be a huge jump.

TE Jake Butt: Butt had a chance to be an early-round selection, but a serious knee injury in the Orange Bowl will likely knock him into the middle rounds. Butt was Michigan's other team captain, and the best receiving tight end in school history. He caught 138 passes for 1,646 yards and 11 touchdowns in his college career.

WR Amara Darboh: This might be one of the more surprising entries on Reuter's list, though Darboh is coming off a solid senior season. He caught 57 passes for 862 yards and seven touchdowns, becoming Wilton Speight's No. 1 target. Darboh had a few drops this season, but he has mostly reliable hands and can go up and get a jump ball.

OT Erik Maguson: Magnuson was named Michigan's top offensive lineman at the team banquet after being named to the All-Big Ten first team by conference coaches and the media. He started 36 games throughout his career and locked down the right tackle position as a junior and senior.

RB De'Veon Smith: Here's a guy who probably didn't get the recognition he deserves after four years in the Michigan running back rotation. Smith ran for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns at Michigan despite playing behind a mediocre offensive line. Smith is a punishing runner and can break tackles, as he showed when he took over the Indiana game to save Michigan's season. Harbaugh said Smith will be a "fine NFL (running) back."

Late rounds

Obviously, the majority of Michigan's 16 potential draftees fall into the late-round category. Some of these players have a chance to be a steal in the fifth through seventh rounds, but others might be borderline professional players.

OL Ben Braden: Braden's versatility will be a selling point in this draft, as he started four times at left guard and six times at left tackle as a senior. He was named to the All-Big Ten second team.

WR Jehu Chesson: Though he was Michigan's most valuable player in 2015, Chesson struggled at times as a senior. He caught 35 passes for 500 yards and two touchdowns. Chesson is an excellent athlete and his speed and elusiveness made him a dangerous home-run threat in 2015. If he can recapture that level of play, he's certainly an NFL-caliber receiver.

LB Ben Gedeon: Michigan's breakout player in 2016, Gedeon made 106 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a senior. His production earned him the award for Michigan's top linebacker and vaulted onto the NFL draft board. His knack for swarming to the ball and sound tackling are to thank for his appearance on the NFL radar.

DT Ryan Glasgow: His brother was the Lions' best pick in the third round last season, and Ryan Glasgow could be another steal in this year's draft. Glasgow was one of the best run stoppers in the Big Ten this season and added a bit of a pass rush to his game. He finished the season with four sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. NFL teams always need dual-threat defensive tackles, and Glasgow qualifies.

S Delano Hill: The Cass Tech graduate from Detroit started 20 games at safety for Michigan over his final two seasons and made three interceptions as a senior. Hill finished his career with 119 passes and five passes defended. Harbaugh said at the team banquet that Hill will be a very good NFL player in a league "starved for safeties. Mark my words."

OL Kyle Kalis: Kalis was named to the All-Big Ten second team this season after starting all 13 games at right guard. He made 42 starts at right guard throughout his Michigan career.

CB Channing Stribling: Harbaugh said he thinks Stribling will be an NFL cornerback for 10 years, and his senior season was reason for optimism. Stribling picked off four passes as a senior and led the team with 13 passes defended. He was Michigan's No. 1 cornerback during the nonconference schedule when Lewis was out with an injury, and held his own. Stribling could be a diamond in the rough.

S Dymonte Thomas: Thomas played four seasons in Michigan's secondary and did his best work as a senior, batting down nine passes and making 70 tackles. Harbaugh said Thomas has "a fine NFL career ahead of him" after being a solid starter in college.

Which players would you want on your NFL team?

If these 16 players were available, would you want your NFL team to draft them in the rounds specified above? Click the "thumbs up" next to the players you would want to draft, and click the "thumbs down" next to the players you wouldn't want to draft.

Next round of Wolverines

Here's a look at some of the players who will replace Michigan's draft picks in the 2017 recruiting class.

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