Predicting Former Michigan Football Players' 2014 NFL Combine Performance

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Predicting Former Michigan Football Players' 2014 NFL Combine Performance
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Michigan's senior pair of draft-eligible tackles, Taylor Lewan (R) and Michael Schofield.

In 2013, Denard Robinson was the Michigan Man to watch during the NFL combine.

This week, the Wolverines have a trio of seniors taking part in the events in Indianapolis: left tackle Taylor Lewan, right tackle Michael Schofield and receiver Jeremy Gallon.

Widely considered as one of the elite linemen of the upcoming draft, Lewan, a former All-American, could easily be taken within the first five picks—if ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is correct, Lewan could be selected No. 2 overall by the St. Louis Rams on May 8 (via Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press).

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Unlike Lewan, Schofield isn’t a consensus top pick. Mock drafts vary, and Draft Tek has him reasonably ranked as the No. 15 right tackle—and that’s after a drastic stock increase. Apparently Team 134’s 7-6 season didn’t decrease his pro value.

Although slightly better as a junior, Schofield had his moments this past fall. He was a solid bookend, despite being part of a stagnant O-Line that, yet again, failed to clear room for a 1,000-yard rusher.

He’s destined for the late rounds come draft day.

At 5’8” and 187 pounds, Gallon checks in as one this year’s fleetest-of-feet receivers. Great in space and after contact, the record-setting speedster led the Wolverines with a program-best 1,373 receiving yards, 89 catches and nine touchdowns.

And don’t forget his single-game display of reckless abandon—369 yards and 14 catches—during Michigan’s crazy 63-47 victory over Indiana. That was a head-turner if there ever was one.

Ranked as the No. 5 slot receiver of 2014 by Draft Tek, Gallon will likely be a late-rounder or free agent. However, an admirable week at the combine could change that—maybe he and Schofield will get the same agent?

 

Lewan Flexes

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Taylor Lewan did the right thing by returning for his senior year. It's what he wanted to do.

Lewan came back for one reason, and that was to leave everything on the field.

And despite a so-so 2013, he did that…

…and then some.

“No one should ever question Taylor Lewan’s heart or character,” former Michigan running back Butch Woolfolk said.

That’s a strong statement, especially coming from a Bo-era legend who knows premier linemen when he sees them.

“Oh, he’s elite,” Woolfolk said.

Since Lewan has a shining endorsement from a true Michigan Man, it’s only right to expect a higher standard this weekend. If Lewan enters drills in peak physical condition, he’ll all but certainly wow spectators with his agility, strength, drive and knowledge.

The total package at the blind side, the 6’7”, 315-pound run- and pass-blocking prodigy oozes “gritty Big Ten lineman.” Lewan is nasty in the jam pile, a fierce competitor who executes with a high level of passion and energy.

He’ll fit into the NFL—right after he proves why he’s one of the best left tackles available. In terms of size and athletic ability, Lewan has shades of Eric Fisher, a former Central Michigan star left tackle who was the No. 1 overall pick of 2013 (Kansas City Chiefs). 

Slightly lighter on his feet, Fisher had respectable combine numbers for a man his size. Lewan should finish somewhere in that range but probably won't top Fisher's 4.44-second 20-yard shuttle run. 

MGoBlue.com has Lewan's max bench at 335 pounds. The press at the combine is 225 pounds. In 1999, Justin Ernest of Eastern Kentucky set a record with 51 reps (via Bleacher Report). Lewan probably won't touch that, but mid-to-high 20s are possible. 

The following table contains predictions for pertinent drills. 

Lewan It On Me
40-Yard 20-Yard Shuttle 3-Cone Bench (225 pounds)
5.0 seconds 4.7 7.8 26

NFL Draft Scout, personal projections

 

Family ‘Ties’ Propel

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With the exception of being able to throw the ball, Gallon has a similar skill set when compared to that of Shoelace, the Untied One who tore up Big Ten fields during his three-year reign of destruction that churned out more than 10,000 career all-purpose yards.

Gallon is fast, but not Denard fast. That being said, it’s unlikely that he’ll equal Robinson’s 4.34 this weekend. But a legitimate 4.4 isn’t out of the question.

Signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Robinson was among the most athletic combine participants a year ago. However, pure athleticism isn't always enough to get a contract. Robinson was an exception, not the rule. 

The following table projects Gallon’s numbers.

Galloping Gallon
40-Yard 20-Yard 20-Yard Shuttle 3-Cone
4.4 2.62 4.35 7.26

NFL Draft Scout, personal projections

 

Scoop on Schofield

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Schofield, a 6’4,” 303-pound right tackle, will have to work to get picked up by an NFL team. Although valuable the past couple of seasons to coach Brady Hoke’s offensive line, Schofield doesn’t appear to be a high-end or even middle-tier pro lineman.

He was good in college, not great. That being said, he’s always been a scrappy athlete, so expect him to put forth an honest effort in Indy.

Arm length is important for linemen, especially when it comes to borderliners such as Schofield, who has 33.5" arms, per CBS. Athletically similar to Schofield, but more polished and quicker, Alvin Bailey of Arkansas' reach is more than an inch longer. 

In a game of inches, that matters. 

Also, it's worth noting that CBS projects Bailey as a fifth-rounder, which is a pretty standard forecast among mock drafts. 

The following table projects important times and drill results for Schofield, whose max bench is 300 pounds, per MGoBlue. He squats 450 pounds, 50 more than Lewan, so lower-body strength is a definite plus.

However, shorter arms and average upper-body strength doesn't translate well to the next level. 

Combines over Schofields
40-Yard 20-Yard 20-Yard Shuttle Bench
5.3 3.1 4.99 21

NFL Draft Scout, personal projections

Lewan has always been the obvious No. 1 of Michigan’s draft-eligible class, but that doesn’t guarantee that he’ll have the best career.

The NFL is changing, and under-the-radar prospects such as Gallon and Schofield are finding homes and having productive professional runs.

Check back in five years to see who boomed and who burst.

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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