Scouting the Big Ten: Michigan

nfl's picture

Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The Wolverines had a total of 18 players either selected during the 2017 draft or signed immediately afterwards, and they are bound to feel the effects this season. While the roster contains several highly rated prospects, there are significantly fewer next-level players wearing the maize and blue.

Mason Cole will battle another Big Ten lineman, Billy Price of Ohio State, for the top center spot in next April’s draft. Cole is a terrific prospect with size, smarts, growth potential and overall upside. He’s a fundamentally sound blocker with the versatility to line up at several positions up front, which will enhance his appeal.

I don’t know how Cole will test at the combine or his pro-day workout, but I feel confident he will be in the conversation as a late first-round pick next year.

Maurice Hurst lacks top measurables but plays with great quickness and explosion. He offers potential as a conventional tackle, three-technique lineman and I dare say defensive end in certain 3-4 and one-gap schemes.

Hurst benefited the past two seasons from the terrific talent he lined up with, yet most of that group graduated to the NFL. It won’t come as easy this year, which provides an opportunity for Hurst.

Mike McCray is a linebacker I like. He offers decent size and above-average athleticism and makes plays up the field or outside the box in pursuit. On film he’s not a true three-down linebacker, though McCray holds his own in zone coverage on passing downs.

I like him in the middle rounds for a team looking for a 3-4 ILB.