Tracking Michigan Football Players in the 2012 NFL Draft
The Michigan Wolverines and their fans have become accustomed to their former players being drafted early in the NFL draft and very often throughout it. This year may be an exception, but nonetheless, there are still plenty of talented Wolverines who could be taken later in the draft that may prove to be steals in the future.
Who knows, maybe another Wolverine taken late in the draft will become an all-time great just like Tom Brady?
As of now, defensive tackle Mike Martin is projected to be taken in the third round, and barring a bizarre occurrence, he will definitely be the first Michigan man taken this year.
The next Wolverine to be drafted should be center David Molk, somewhere in the fifth round. Molk is one of the top prospects at his position and could be a steal for a lucky team in the future.
Besides Martin and Molk, Wolverines like Junior Hemingway and Kevin Koger are generally projected to be taken in the seventh round, and even defensive end Ryan Van Bergen might sneak into the back end of the draft.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of excitement throughout the draft, and lucky for you, I'll be constantly updating this slideshow throughout the weekend to keep you informed. I know, I know, you're very welcome.
Mike Martin, DT, Drafted by the Tennessee Titans, 3rd Round (No. 82 Overall)
Mike Martin is not the kind of prospect that is going to snap necks with his amazing measurables. But, as a former wrestler, Martin is a hard worker that makes up for his lack of finesse with sheer power.
As a senior, he recorded 3.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position, which exhibits his limits as a pass-rusher. But Martin is a force to be reckoned with in the run game, as he made an astounding 10 tackles in the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech.
Here is how Pro Football Weekly summarizes Martin's game:
Thickly built, athletic, hustle player with outstanding weight-room strength and a standout wrestling background who endured coaching turnover and showed grit playing out of position as a younger player. Better football player than measurables suggest.
At 6'1", 307 lbs, Martin is a better fit as a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense in the NFL. He lacks the pass-rush ability to excel as a 3-technique, but if asked to clog up running lanes and allow for linebackers to flow freely, Martin can be quite effective.
In terms of intangible, Martin plays hard on every play and will be an excellent presence in the locker room.
His upside is somewhat limited compared to other defensive tackle prospects, but with the Tennessee Titans, he can provide great value, especially in shoring up their run defense. And against their AFC South rivals, that's no small feat.
David Molk, C, Drafted by the San Diego Chargers, 7th Round (No. 226 Overall)
Despite possessing all the intangibles of a solid football player and the above-average game intelligence, Molk lacks the physical tools to rank him among the top of his class.
Standing 6'1" and weighing just shy of 300 pounds, Molk relies on his footwork, effective hands and quickness to perform. Given his physical attributes and skill set, Molk is an ideal fit in a zone-blocking scheme in the NFL.
From the National Football Post:
A shorter, compact lineman who looks nearly maxed out physically, despite weighing 288-pounds. Looks a little tight hipped trying to sit into his stance, but has a quick first step, and snaps and steps very quickly. Creates leverage for himself consistently, extends his arms and can easily reach and seal on plays off his frame. Displays a compact, sturdy punch and can stun defenders at the point. Looks really natural when asked to quickly reach block on runs to the perimeter, as he's coordinated getting his feet around and can seal the edge routinely.
Now, lacks the power to win as an in-line guy. Keeps his base down, but doesn't have the lower body power to create a push inside. However, does do a nice job chipping at the line, re-directing and reaching secondary targets. Displays great awareness in the run game as well and routinely carries out assignments.
Molk's dedication and smarts could make him a starter in a year or two.
Perhaps no player more so than Molk personifies the suspect logic of the NFL Draft. Here is arguably the best center in college football slipping all the way to the last round of the draft because his physical tools aren't too impressive as measured on the practice field. Of course, his play on the field was good enough to take home the Rimington Trophy so, if that effectiveness translates to the NFL, the Chargers have struck gold in the seventh round. At worst, he should be a valuable backup.
Junior Hemingway, WR, Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, 7th Rd (238th Overall)
At 6'1'', 225 pounds, he's not going to come in and take the NFL by storm with size or speed, but he has reliable hands, he runs solid routes, and he can make things happen after the catch.
He accumulated 34 catches for 699 yards and four touchdowns during his senior year at Michigan, including two touchdowns and an MVP award at the 2012 Sugar Bowl.
What Junior Hemingway Brings to the Team
If anything, you're getting a solid locker room presence and a leader at the wide receiver position. He has the experience of playing at a huge program like Michigan, and he stuck with that program through all of their ups and downs.
Everything I've seen from Hemingway on the field suggests that he's a hard worker. He runs smooth routes, doesn't give up on plays, and has a great nose for the ball. He may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest player on the field, but he's going to do everything he can to come down with the catch.
He could become a pretty dangerous option in the slot and he does well running after the catch, but chances are Hemingway's biggest impact in the NFL will be as a great special teams players. He'll give you energy and hustle every time he gets on the field.
What Experts Are Saying
Here's a portion of the scouting report on Hemingway from nationalfootballpost.com:
Impression: Isn't a dynamic athlete, but possesses good strength and is tough to bring down after the catch. However, isn't anything more than a fringe roster guy at best at this stage and is limited in what he can offer an NFL offense. Isn't worth a draft pick in my mind.
Hemingway will bring a ton of upside to this pick. Like I said, he's a hustler and will be a good locker room guy. He's talented, but he's not elite in any way, shape or form.
Hemingway will fight for and earn his roster spot. As a receiver, I don't see him bringing much right away, unless it's in an injury relief situation. He could become a dangerous receiver that can make things happen in the slot and in the soft part of zones, but his rookie year will most likely be spent on special teams.
Everyone wants a dynamic, explosive wide receiver and that doesn't describe Junior Hemingway. Nevertheless, the Michigan product enjoyed a nice career with the Wolverines and flashed some big-game flair in the 2012 Sugar Bowl. He gives the offensively challenged Kansas City Chiefs additional depth in the wide receiver corps and could evolve into a solid, big-possession threat.