On Thursday, Draft Wire (part of the USA Today Network) released its latest NFL mock draft ahead of the real thing on April 27th of this year. In Draft Wire’s latest mock draft, Michigan’s Mazi Smith is the first Wolverine off the board.
Where could Mazi Smith go?
Despite Michigan’s success on the field over the past two seasons, the Wolverines were lacking a true “star” player on defense this year. Michigan football boasted one of the nation’s best units — it held Michigan State to seven points, Penn State to 17, and Ohio State to 23 — and was led by senior defensive tackle Mazi Smith.
Despite being an All-Big Ten selection and an All-American in 2022, Mazi Smith was projected to go just inside of the top-50, at No. 49. The Pittsburgh Steelers — who also boast a few other former Wolverines such as Devin Bush and Chris Wormley — could be eying Michigan’s elite big man.
Michigan football low on draft boards
Smith was the first Wolverine projected off of the board; this isn’t a huge surprise in itself, but the fact that the Wolverines’ went 13-1 with zero first round picks and two second round picks is pretty impressive. Being a late-second round pick is nothing to hang your head about, yet other Big Ten programs (such as Ohio State and Penn State) had at least one player selected before a Wolverine in this mock draft.
The next-highest Michigan football player on Draft Wire’s mock draft was Michigan defensive back DJ Turner, who went No. 56 overall (second round) to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of Draft Wire’s top-64 players, only two Wolverines are listed — both of which came in the second round.
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