After leading the nation in players selected in this year’s NFL Draft, the Wolverines still have some NFL prospects on their current roster for the 2017 season. Michigan had 11 former players selected in this year’s draft, which broke a school record. Although Michigan isn’t necessarily loaded with NFL talent right now, they do have a small group of guys that could be playing on Sundays in 2018. Lets take a look at some potential Wolverines heading to the NFL next year.
Maurice Hurst (DT)
Maurice Hurst has been on NFL scouts’ radars since last season. After a recent ranking put forth by Pro Football Focus, Hurst is considered to be the top pass rushing defensive tackle in the country. Hurst decided to return for his last year of eligibility with the Wolverines, instead of entering himself in the 2017 draft. Now NFL scouts are drooling over Hurst, as he is all over early 2018 mock drafts. CBS sports also ranks him as the No. 4 defensive tackle prospect. Hurst is destined to have a great year now that he will finally be starting every week. Last season as a rotational defensive tackle, Hurst compiled 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. Assuming that he has the season that scouts expect, look for Hurst to be a first or second round pick in 2018.
Mike McCray (OLB)
McCray was extremely patient during his college career, waiting until his redshirt junior season to become a starter for the Wolverines. McCray stepped onto the scene in a big way for a stout Michigan defense last season. He finished second on the team with 76 total tackles. He also added 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Scouts will keep an eye on McCray this season, considering that CBS Sports lists him as the 7th ranked outside linebacker prospect. If McCray has a successful 2017 season, expect him to be selected in the third or fourth round of the 2018 draft.
Mason Cole (OL)
Mason Cole has been part of Michigan’s offensive line group for multiple seasons now. After being one of the only true freshman to ever start on Michigan’s offensive line, Cole has been the backbone ever since. Although Cole switched from left tackle to center just last season, he flourished at his new position. He has made 38 straight starts on Michigan’s line, which was enough to catch the eye of many NFL scouts. Coming into his senior year, CBS Sports ranks Cole as the top center prospect for the 2018 draft. Look for Cole to be selected somewhere between the second and fourth round of next year’s NFL Draft.
Khalid Hill is one unique player that NFL scouts may like as a late round pick. Head coach Jim Harbaugh loves to call the fullback’s number whenever Michigan is inside the three yard line. When he converted from tight end to fullback last season, Hill tallied 13 total touchdowns. That is an absurd amount of touchdowns for a fullback, which may be the reason his name will stick out come the sixth round of the draft.
Wilton Speight is another player that will be eligible for the NFL draft next season. Although it is uncertain whether the redshirt junior will depart for the NFL or not, Speight would most likely get drafted. In his first year starting last season, Speight threw for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also possesses a unique ability to escape sacks and complete passes down the field. That skill and his size alone have already created comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger. If Speight has a good year and decides to enter the draft, expect him to be somewhere around a fourth round pick.