Is a Michigan football defender becoming a first round NFL draft lock?
Don’t look now, but more and more NFL mock drafts are starting to include a Wolverine in the first round.
It was initially thought that this would be a year where no Michigan football players would be selected on day one of the upcoming NFL draft, but that’s started to change after draft insider Daniel Jeremiah added maize and blue defensive tackle in his first round. Now others are following suit.
In his latest NFL mock draft, CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli also included Smith in the first round, putting him at No. 30 overall, selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last summer, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman published his annual “Freaks List,” and Michigan’s Mazi Smith was No. 1. He’s a tremendous athlete, but, like Kancey, he’s not the biggest interior lineman you’ll find. Also, unlike Kancey (14.5 sacks, 27.5 TFL the last two seasons), Smith’s production (0.5 sacks, 6 TFL in 30 games at Michigan) hasn’t lived up to his freakishness. Still, the Eagles value their defensive line, and they value traits. I can see the Eagles taking a shot on the potential here.
If this were to come to pass, Smith would be lined up next to fellow former Wolverine, edge rusher Brandon Graham.
Michigan has sent a player to the league via the first round of the draft each of the past four years, with Aidan Hutchinson going No. 2 overall last year, and with Kwity Paye, Cesar Ruiz, Devin Bush, and Rashan Gary all being first-round selections.
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