UM prospects in '19 NFL Draft (ESPN+/$)

Submitted by ChiCityWolverine on November 14th, 2018 at 11:53 AM

Mel Kiper updated his Big Board and positional rankings in advance of the 2019 NFL Draft. Michigan is prominently represented with two defenders in his top ten overall and five other players garnering mention for their position. Wolverines included: 

Devin Bush: #6(!) overall, #2 ILB
Rashan Gary: #8 overall, #2 DE
Ben Bredeson: #3 G(!)
Karan Higdon: #5 RB
Chase Winovich: #5 OLB
David Long: #7 CB
Lavert Hill: #8 CB

Haven't seen Bredeson getting huge grades from PFF or even UFR, so that seems to be by far the biggest surprise. Tough decisions appear on the horizon for Long and Hill who have what looks like 2nd round grades at this stage in their evaluation. Michigan's CBs have been PFF fave raves for the past two years, but they'll have an opportunity to rise (or fall) with how they fare against Ohio State and (potentially) in playoff games against NFL quality WR at Bama or Clemson.



November 14th, 2018 at 12:05 PM ^

Boy if we can finish out this season strong and these projections by Kiper are even close to accurate you're going to see a huge upswing in our ability to land the most coveted of recruits.  That's how OSU has made hay here - high profile program playing for all the marbles more time than not that places a lot of players in the NFL.   

Man.  So much is riding on that OSU game this year for us.   I mean even if he do get screwed by the committee a 12-1 B1G Championship Michigan team (and yes I'm putting the Northwestern game in as a win already) would put us squarely back in the middle of the elite programs, provide a huge boost to recruiting and get the media off Harbaugh's ass.


November 14th, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

This is what I want so badly. Michigan vs. Washington State in the Rose Bowl, Bama/Georgia in the Sugar/Peach, Oklahoma/WVU in the Fiesta/Cotton, Clemson in the Orange. Throw in ND, UCF, and a second SEC team and you have some seriously fun matchups along with a system that gives everyone a shot.


November 14th, 2018 at 12:42 PM ^

Yes. This is a high-pressure year, and has been from the beginning. Prove we're elite on the field and we'll get recruits that can continue to keep us elite. Flunk out and we're more like MSU, trying to find hidden gems and occasionally beating better programs.

The good news is that Michigan has already been excellent on the field, so some things are already getting proven. A single setback still won't keep people from seeing the obvious improvement on the field and development of our athletes. 

But a setback is still a setback, and multiple setbacks would be crushing. Blah blah blah OSU is struggling this year, we've already proven a lot; we need to beat them. 

The OSU game is probably the most important game in the history of the program since 1997. 

Beat Ohio. 


November 14th, 2018 at 2:27 PM ^

Promotion from within? Head coach Mike Debord? Mallett and Boren stick around, but the rest of the team is... pretty much what we had in 2008, except instead of zone stretches for nothing you have power and counter runs for nothing. 

Basically, we're talking about being Tennessee instead of whatever it was we became. 

I think the program erosion had already plunged into critical mass territory, and one win (followed by a bad loss to Florida) wouldn't have changed it much. Still would have liked to win, mind you, but the problems were already festering.


November 14th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

Question, why does everyone keep saying this is the biggest game in years.  AKA, why is this game/season better than 2016.  

2016 we were in the exact same situation, had actually beaten better teams, and controlled our own destiny to the playoff.  We didn't exactly crush it with our 2016/2017 recruiting class as a result.

Just curious.  It seems that people forget we were in the exact same, if not better, situation going into the IU game in 2016.

B1G Winning

November 14th, 2018 at 1:52 PM ^

“...if not better, situation going into the IU game in 2016.”


Speight had just suffered an injury in the road loss to Iowa and we were relegated to starting O’Korn in the IU game. Speight never returned to form after said injury.  Even so, 2018 Patterson > 2016 healthy Speight.

Not to mention, losing to now #3 ND in week 1 >>> losing to unranked 5-4 Iowa in week 10.


November 14th, 2018 at 2:05 PM ^

I think it's a number of things.

1) 2016 was only Harbaugh's second season at M and he was kind of playing with house money.  It would have been great if he'd have won the Big Ten that year, but he didn't have all "his guys" in place and wasn't really expected to do so.  Now Harbaugh is in his fourth year and has about as complete a team as most programs ever have.  

2) M lost the Iowa game late in the 2016 season, and Speight was hurt--nobody really knew if he'd even be available for OSU right up to the day of the game.  He did wind up playing, but was clearly limited.  This year M has gotten through its pre-OSU gauntlet without a conference loss and has a very healthy team overall.  So the late-season expectations are much higher.

3) Probably the biggest difference, IMO, is the off-field turmoil in Columbus.  A Michigan victory in 2016 would have been nice, and probably given M a bit of a boost in perception and recruiting appeal, etc.  But OSU would have been back strong the next year.  A Michigan victory this time around, with the Zach Smith scandals and all these questions swirling about whether Meyer will be back next year, could really knock them down a peg.  Their fanbase cannot handle adversity and a high-stakes loss to Michigan in the midst of all this other stuff would really stir the pot.


November 14th, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

I'll add a #4:  In 2016, Michigan beating OSU would have been a big boost to the program because many people didn't think we had a chance coming into the season.  It would have been looked at like 'hey, Michigan won!'.  Today, ith OSU looking sad and UM looking tough as hell, it's widely expected that we win.  If not, the talk will be '/surprise - UM lost again'; 'all talk'; 'Harbaugh hasn't won anything'; blah blah blah...

Yeah, I'd say this season is more important...


November 14th, 2018 at 2:37 PM ^

This is bigger than 2016. 2016 was huge, but this (assuming victory over Indiana) is bigger.

It's not because the ceiling is higher--a playoff berth (possibly resulting in a loss) is the same for each. But the floor is lower now. In 2016 Harbaugh was new and fresh. The 2017 offensive disaster hadn't happened. Nobody was saying "Harbaugh can't win the big one" or sniffing at his record in road games. Coaches couldn't honestly argue that recruits under Harbaugh would underachieve.

Now all that negative stuff is on the table. It's quiet right now, but you can count on the fact that a loss in Columbus will bring all that stuff back up to the top again. In the national media, on this board, in the living rooms of recruits, everywhere.

If Michigan wants to be an elite team, it has to recruit like an elite team. People who say stars are everything and people who say they don't matter are both wrong. Stars aren't everything, but they DO matter. You need talented athletes to compete with the Clemsons and the Alabamas of the nation. 

OSU is rough right now but they do have those players and will continue to get them. And as long as they recruit like that, Michigan has to at least keep in the same ballpark, or we're looking at winning 1 out of every 4 years for the forseeable future (forget the fact that we've only won once since 2003, the future could be equally bleak). 

Michigan wins in Columbus and makes the playoff, we're an elite program. We close strong on the current class and restock the shelves for the coming years. Harbaugh has big wins under his belt, and the feeling in Ann Arbor is good.

Lose? Then James Franklin can legitimately go to a guy like Zach Harrison and tell him "at least I can beat Ohio State." Prospects in the South stop taking Harbaugh's phone calls. We have to revert to a "find the diamonds in the rough" strategy with few top prospects giving us a look. You know, Michigan State's strategy. Developing players and getting a couple of good athletes and hoping to beat the big boys on rare occasions. 9-3 as a typical year. Being a "little brother" to a clearly superior rival.

Lose a couple of times to finish the year and Michigan's ceiling is what Michigan State is now. 

This is the most important game of this century and it's not close. 


November 14th, 2018 at 2:46 PM ^

Very well put Stephen.  Absolutely agree 100% with all of it.

You know, if we beat Indiana I sure hope Brian writes something special for this game a-la 11 Swans.  When he's dialed in and motivated he's about as an accomplished writer as you'll find anywhere.  If you're a Michigan fan and you go back and read 11 Swans,dare you not to be filled with goosebumps and chills as you do.


November 14th, 2018 at 12:06 PM ^

Gentry is going to have a decision to make, too.

He's under the radar on these mocks and rankings but history shows TEs in particular don't need monster statistical seasons to get drafted early. 


November 14th, 2018 at 12:17 PM ^

Think you're over-estimating Gentry.  He has the potential to get there, but right now he's not an elite pass-catching tight end nor is he a plus-blocker.  With Butt (or Funchess if you want to pretend he was a tight end) they clearly had NFL receiving potential.  Gentry's not there yet.  Someone may grab him because of his size and potential, but I suspect it would be in late rounds.

Ali G Bomaye

November 14th, 2018 at 2:08 PM ^

That's true, but there are two mitigating factors.

First, Gentry is still relatively new to TE. Yes, he has an impressive frame and speed, but he's only been a TE for three years, and he's only gotten significant playing time for a year and a half. NFL teams might well tell him that if he returns for a year, effectively doubling his playing experience a the position, he'll go much higher.

Second, we're much more prepared to deal with Gentry leaving than basically any other starter. McKeon is also physically impressive and might not even be much of a downgrade, and Eubanks has shown good things this year as well. Plus, we have two promising freshmen redshirting and another incoming in 2019. I love me some Gentry and hope he stays, but we'd be OK without him as well.


November 14th, 2018 at 12:08 PM ^

He has Bredeson as his #3 guard but seems down on the guards as a whole group. Hopefully between that and him being the only person being this high on Bredeson means we can expect him back. If we can get him and even one of those corners back I'd be very happy.


November 14th, 2018 at 12:09 PM ^

Yikes, looks like we will have more attrition than expected. Did not expect to see Bredeson as a possible early entrant. I hope we can get one of Long or Hill back. I do expect Bush and Gary to leave after the end of the year. But if one were to come back I would guess Gary. Bush is just so impressive, loved watching him play the last two years at such a high level. 


November 14th, 2018 at 12:10 PM ^

My selfish take:

None of our non-senior players are remotely ready for the NFL and should plan to stay throughout their eligibility.


I love you all, thanks for bringing Michigan football back to its rightful place in the football hierarchy - godspeed and good luck should you choose to go pro.

Go Blue!


November 14th, 2018 at 12:22 PM ^

TBH, I'm curious where Gary would end up being taken next year if he has roughly the same production the rest of the year. 

If he came back and was an absolute monster, he could be the #1 pick overall. I have a feeling he might end up in the middle or end of the first round if he goes just because he hasn't quite lived up to the hype + injuries. I would hope to be wrong about this if he did enter the draft obviously.