Michigan Football 2014 NFL Draft Tracker, Analysis and Results
Michigan will be represented in the 2014 NFL draft, but Wolverines picked could be few and far between.
Although former left tackle Taylor Lewan is projected as a first-round pick, Michigan has only a handful of players who are expected to be selected in the three-day draft, which begins Thursday night and runs through Saturday at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Here is a look at the former Wolverines who expect to hear their names called in the seven-round draft, with analysis, stats and projections.
WR Jeremy Gallon
Seventh round, No. 244 overall to New England Patriots.
An excellent route-runner, who runs hard, has good vision after the catch and was very productive in Michigan’s offense. Could fit in as a kick returner but lacks size and ability to separate from cornerbacks and isn’t dynamic in the open field.
The Patriots are established with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman as their top receivers, with Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson as backups. But Bill Belichick likes to use a lot of different receivers, and Tom Brady is not afraid to target a number of different wideouts in the passing game. If Gallon picks up the offense quickly, there’s no reason he can’t stick in New England.
Gallon was Michigan’s clear top receiver in 2013 and his departure leaves a big void in the Wolverines’ receiving corps. Sophomore Jehu Chesson is the clear top candidate to replace him. Chesson had 15 receptions for 221 yards and a touchdown, and should have the first chance to become the top target of senior quarterback Devin Gardner.
OT Michael Schofield
Third round, No. 95 overall to Denver Broncos.
A solid run blocker who is a finisher, he is a tough, hardworking player. Has good but not great feet and sometimes struggles against edge rushers, but he has good lower-body power. Could play at either tackle or guard, as he started 10 games as a sophomore at guard. He went well ahead of his projection, as Denver grabbed him near the end of the third round.
While top-10 pick Taylor Lewan was the clear standout on Michigan’s line, Schofield was no slouch at right tackle and replacing him won’t be easy. 6’6”, 320-pound sophomore Ben Braden has drawn praise from coaches and teammates for his potential and athleticism. He shifted between guard and tackle last fall but ultimately ended up at tackle. A former hockey forward, Braden has the agility and versatility to thrive at tackle. Michigan’s struggling run game needs him to serve as a rock on the line’s right side this fall.
One of the biggest areas of concern for Denver this spring is the offensive line. Starting left tackle Ryan Clady is coming off a Lisfranc foot injury, and starting right tackle Orlando Franklin recently moved to left guard to replace Zane Beadles. There is clear opportunity for Schofield in Denver, and he expects to contribute early this fall.
OT Taylor Lewan
Matt Miller Draft Projection
First round, No. 11 overall to Tennessee Titans
Big Ten Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2012 and 2013. First-team All-American, 2012 and 2013. 4.79 second 40-yard dash, 9’9” broad jump.
Excellent pass protector with good footwork who is capable of handling inside and outside moves from pass rushers. A very intense, tough player. A four-year starter at Michigan who could improve against the run, and he's also an excellent zone blocker. He is the Titans' left tackle of the future. 10-year veteran Michael Roos is in a contract year, and while Tennessee signed Michael Oher of "Blind Side" fame, Lewan is the clear choice to step in eventually. Perhaps this season.
Lewan was one of the most tenacious linemen in college football, a trait which occasionally got the better of him. However, he was also one of the best left tackles, and Michigan’s offensive line will miss him. Sophomore guard Erik Magnuson has been penciled in to take over for Lewan. Magnuson started seven games at right guard last fall and stands 6’6”, 295 pounds. He is regarded as the Wolverines’ most talented linemen, but will require a learning curve moving to left tackle. He missed spring practice while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Sophomore Ben Braden is penciled in at right tackle but could move over to left if Magnuson falters.