I'm here to take a look at how the Wolverines fared in sending its players into the NFL this season. Before we got close to the draft, Jake Long was really the only guy from Michigan being touted anywhere near the front of the draft.
Mario Manningham, the enigmatic and potentially troubled receiver, was tabbed as being a first round guy based on talent but someone who could slip.
Chad Henne was rising up the boards, even sneaking into some conversations about who should be the first quarterback selected.
And then there's Mike Hart. Anyone hating the Maize and Blue certainly can't stand this guy; a diminutive back with an injury history and questions about his speed. Even with those questions lingering, his production and reputation were expected to make sure he didn't drop below round four.
Well here's how it all panned out:
Jake Long became the second Michigan player ever go to No. 1 overall (Tom Harmon was the other). Jake will make a boatload of money, anchor a pathetic Dolphins line and, hopefully, do the University proud. And who's blind side will he be protecting?
Well, it could be the 57th pick overall and his teammate at Michigan, quarterback Chad Henne. Henne battled injuries throughout his senior year and delivered less than favorable performances. Still, he has a strong arm and a good head for the game. The Dolphins see his potential and it would be great if he and Long could team up to revive the Dolphins offense and take them far.
Going a bit higher than most thought, Shawn Crable was the next Michigan man off the board, going 78th overall to the Patriots. I could see this turning out to be a great pick as Crable was a pass rushing nightmare at Michigan, but is a bit undersized to play end and not quick enough to be a full time linebacker. He could be a pass-rush specialist for the defending AFC Champs and possibly become a Joey Porter type of player.
Just eighteen picks later, the human enigma came off the board to the Champs. Mario Manningham could end up being a steal if all goes well. He slipped because of toughness and size issues, not to mention character concerns after he admitted to smoking pot at Michigan. Still, he's a fast and talented wide receiver and should be a solid contributor to the Giants offense.
After lasting way longer than anyone had anticipated, mighty-mite Mike Hart came off the board with the 202nd pick to the Colts. What I don't understand is how a guy with a proven track record gets selected in the sixth round but guys who turn in excellent combine times can be first or second round prospects? Alas, Hart's size and lack of top-end speed cost him quite a few spots in the draft, but I think he landed in the right place and he will show his skills.
Not a bad overall class, as five guys is usually a good class for everyone but USC and Miami (Fl.), but there's one guy here who didn't make the cut and I'm shocked that he didn't: safety Jamar Adams. I thought he was a lock for a mid-to-late round pick, but he'll be left to those looking to sign rookie free agents.
This class could end up being Jake Long and everyone else or something truly special if Henne can take the quarterback job in Miami and make it his own, if Manningham can put his issues aside and produce for the G-Men, if Crable becomes the sack specialist the Pats have in mind and if Mike Hart can show the football world that you should always take a proven track record over measurables.
See you in five years with the verdict.