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Posted on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:23 p.m.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper ranks Michigan football draft prospects

By Dave Birkett

Defensive end Brandon Graham is the only Michigan football player to crack ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft.

Graham, who led the nation with 26 tackles for loss last year, is projected to go No. 22 overall to the New England Patriots. With two months until the real draft and the NFL combine next week, the projections are fluid.

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Brandon Graham

“That’s the one guy I’ve been kind of consistent with all the way through,” Kiper said in a conference call Wednesday. “He’s got that great work ethic, he comes hard every play. He took advantage of some offensive tackles who were very suspect, obviously, and in the NFL that’s not the case.”

Kiper said Graham could play outside linebacker or defensive end in the NFL.

“I think his character and his every game bringing it and performing the way he did production wise, there’s a reason why now he’s a pick to go anywhere between say 20 and 32,” Kiper said.

Of Michigan’s other draft-eligible players, Kiper said:

• Cornerback Donovan Warren likely will land in the third or fourth round. “He’s a physical corner, no question about that,” Kiper said. “He likes going head to head on an island with the best receivers in the country, he’s never had an issue with that. Anticipation is good. Gambler, though. Gave up some big plays.”

• Running back Brandon Minor, coming off a torn rotator cuff, looks like a late-round pick. “You don’t need to worry about durability as much because you got three (running backs per team) now,” Kiper said. “I don’t think he goes before the fifth, sixth, seventh round, but he’s going to have a chance to make a football team in my opinion. Brandon Minor’s got ability.”

• Zoltan Mesko is the highest-rated punter in the draft, but that doesn’t mean he gets drafted. “I would say he probably goes undrafted,” Kiper said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he went late to a team desperate for a punter, or feels like they have a need. But I would say (this is) more of a year where no punter may end up getting drafted.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Steve Pepple

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 1:25 p.m.

A comment was removed because it contained a personal attack against another commenter.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

rightmind..hahah not fast enough or strong enough? i dont know what brandon graham you were watching but it wasnt this one. those are actually 2 of his major upsides going forward in the NFL. that and he brings it every play of every game.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 9 a.m.

Dude, you don't see much. One on one with a tackle, he is a bust. Not big enough or strong enough, barely fast enough. He may make it as an outside linebacker, though will need more speed. against the run, he will be run over in the nfl.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 4 p.m.

"He took advantage of some offensive tackles that were suspect" Did Mel Kiper watch the Senior Bowl??? Those are the best offensive tackles in the country in college ball and he destroyed them. I have a hard time believing that Graham went up against that many suspect offensive tackles because he was the only threat on our he was facing the other teams best tackle and getting double half the time. I would love for the Lions to get Brandon Graham.