ESPN analyst Mel Kiper ranks Michigan football draft prospects
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.
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:
â€¢ 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.”
â€¢ 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.”
â€¢ 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 AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.