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NFL Draft Prospects: Michigan

With 4 of the greatest Wolverines on the offensive side of the ball leaving Michigan to ply their trade in the NFL, and a couple decent defensive prospects, this should be a fairly good draft for Michigan. The Draft can be seen on the sports network of your choosing starting tomorrow at

Jake Long, OT
Long has already signed with the Miami Dolphins and will be the #1 overall pick in the draft. This makes him the 2nd Wolverine taken #1 overall (Tom Harmon in '41), and the highest Michigan player picked since Braylon Edwards in 2004. He will anchor the Dolphins' line from one of the tackle positions. Some experts have said his limited athleticism may make him a better fit at right tackle. His 1 sack allowed and 1 penalty committed in 2007 would be inclined to disagree with that.

Chad Henne, QB
Henne leaves Ann Arbor as one of the most productive QBs in Michigan history. He has been listed as a potential pick anywhere from the mid-to-late first round to the mid-second round. Most analysts peg him as the second or third QB in the draft, behind the massively overrated Matt Ryan. Henne's injuries during the senior campaign may be troubling to some teams, but both were of a freak nature, and he was able to stay injury-free in the previous three years. Latest scuttlebutt is that the Ravens like him at pick #20, though there are also rumors of teams drafting earlier than that who would like to trade to take him with a first-round pick. Either way, it is seeming likely that Henne will end up being taken in the first.

Mike Hart, RB
Hart, for being the alltime leading rusher at a school with plenty of famous running backs (Harmon, Morris, Biakabutuka), is not looked at as a particularly enticing NFL prospect. This is mostly due to his small size and lack of breakaway speed, in addition to some injury trouble during his sophomore and senior years. However, with very good strength, vision, and moves, he will likely end up a contributor on an NFL team, if never a feature back. Who knows? the last guy whose college production wasn't expected to carry into the NFL because of size and speed - Emmitt Smith - ended up as a Hall of Famer. Still, Hart would be a risky pick early, and will probably end up with a late second to early fourth round selection. The team that picks him will not count on Hart to be their feature back, so he would be a less risky pick for them.

Mario Manningham, WR
Manningham had one of the greatest two-year-stretches for a Michigan wideout, despite injury problems his sophomore year and Ryan Mallett his junior year. Manningham opted to try for his money now, before he has to spend another year with a first-time college QB tossing him the rock. In terms of strict talent, Manningham is the best receiver in the draft, though his size is a little on the smallish end. However, the intangibles may hold him back, as he was suspended from Michigan for a game, was seen fighting with quarterbacks on the sidelines, at times looked like he wasn't giving a full effort, and has admitted that he lied to NFL GMs in his interviews, stating that he never tested positive for banned substances (marijuana). Still, Manningham hasn't had as troubled a college career as someone like Chris Henry or Randy Moss. He still grades out very well, and will probably be taken in the second round, with a potential slip into the first if a team is willing to take a chance on a fine physical specimen.

Adrian Arrington, WR
The second half of the alliteratively-named Michigan WR duo didn't leave college because he thought he'd be a great NFL pick, but rather for a few other reasons: 1) His friend Mario was leaving as well, 2) He didn't want to risk habing a bad QB throw him the ball in a potentially WR-unfriendly offense, and 3) He was a fourth-year junior, and presumably had already gained his degree. Arrington's draft stock has plummeted since his declaration, mostly due to poor combines (which he accounts for with injury). Still, Arrington will be an insanely good value pick for a team in the later rounds (6th-7th, most likely, if he doesn't slip to free agency). I stil believe that had he stuck around for one more year, he could have become a Braylon-like receiver for Michigan (if not quite as physically gifted). His size, hands, and ups are absolutely unquestioned, it's just a speed matter that has teams worried.

Adam Kraus, OC
Kraus wasn't even invited to the combine after being all-Big Ten. He is an indication of how far Michigan's Strength program and offensive line coaching had fallen (though a physical specimen like Jake Long was still able to succeed). He will probably be given a shot in fee agency, and try to make a team's camp roster.

Shawn Crable, LB/DE
Crable is a fine physical specimen without a true position. He doesn't have the bottom-end build to play defensive end in a 4-3, and he lacks the ability to play in space consistently, which will preclude him from playing SLB in the NFL. However, in the 3-4, he could be an outside linebacker, a la Lamarr Woodley (who was at a further disadvantage of having played almost exclusively DE in his final years at Michigan). This means teams like the Dolphins, Steelers (who drafted Woodley) and Patriots would be candidates to select Shawn. He will probably be a mid round pick.

Jamar Adams, SS
One of the most underrated players in the time I have been watching Michigan. He was rarely a liability in coverage, and can come up to fill the run very very well. With excellent size in the defensive backfield, his speed may be questionable, though he could bulkl up a bit and become a WLB in the NFL. Jamar is a safe pick with a decently high floor and a limited ceiling as a safety. He will be a mid-to-late round pick.

Chris Graham, LB
Graham was a speedy guy who could lay a hit in college, but he was often lost in coverage. This factor and his less-than-optimal speed could collaborate to drop him very low in the draft. He will be a late-round pick or free agent signing. He is the sort of player who could be a special teams phenom while learning to play linebacker more consistently. I hope he catches on with somebody though, as he could sure as hell use the money.

Brandent Englemon, FS
A guy who played the FS role admirably while at Michigan, but probably doesn't have what it takes to get to the next level. He may be a free agent signing with someone. It would certainly be nice to see him succeed.

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“NFL Draft Prospects: Michigan”