Michigan’s top two defenders lead the way.
The Michigan Wolverines sent eight players to the 2021 NFL Draft with more signed as undrafted free agents. Despite the problems on the field last season and with an uncertain future, there are still plenty of players to keep an eye on going into 2022.
Michigan’s potential 2022 NFL Draft haul is headlined by Aidan Hutchinson and the potential of Daxton Hill declaring early. It gets a bit murky after that.
Here are the players that could play themselves into consideration with strong showings this year.
Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE
Hutchinson is Michigan’s best pro prospect right now considering his talent and positional value. At 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, he is one of the more physically imposing pass rushers in the country and will be a valuable chess piece in the new defense. It will be interesting to see if he is tested in a rush linebacker role in addition to playing with his hand in the dirt. This is a potential first-round talent.
Daxton Hill, safety
Hill is another potential first-rounder for the Wolverines due to his pure playmaking ability on the back end. He can play a deep safety role while also stepping into the box or defending slot receivers. Michigan even had him rep at cornerback at times last year. The NFL continues to move toward positionless defenders in the back seven and Hill can make an impact in a variety of areas.
Ronnie Bell, wide receiver
Despite a room full of four-star and above receivers, Bell has emerged as Michigan’s most consistent and productive receiver since he arrived a few seasons ago. He is not the physical specimen that some of his peers at the position are, but seems like a player that could warrant a day three selection.
Ryan Hayes, offensive tackle
Hayes, a high school tight end, has developed into a solid starting left tackle for the Wolverines. Given the premium that the NFL puts on players of his ilk, a step forward could propel him into the conversation. The potential and athleticism are there but still needs some more good film to his name.
Brad Hawkins, safety
Hawkins has developed nicely over his four seasons in Ann Arbor and elected to return for a fifth. Given his importance as one of Michigan’s veteran defenders, it seems that he will wind up in consideration.
Hassan Haskins, running back
Haskins is the RB1, but we know Michigan’s propensity to rotate its backs frequently. He is going to have a chance to showcase his tough running style but lacks the home run hitting ability that NFL teams like in their backs. He is a good college rusher but has a lot to prove for front offices over the next year.
Josh Ross, linebacker
Ross returned to Michigan for a fifth season and projects to be one of its key defenders in holding down the middle of the defense. The athleticism and play speed is there, but he has been inconsistent in his college career.
Andrew Stueber, offensive lineman
Stueber stands at 6-foot-7, 340 pounds. That alone is going to draw the attention of talent evaluators. He also has experience at guard and tackle. He repped at tackle this spring after playing inside last year and a good season would seemingly put him in the mix to come off the board somewhere on draft weekend in 2022.
Short of Cade McNamara turning into Zach Wilson, this feels like the group to watch. Cornelius Johnson, Erick All and Chris Hinton could be examples of players that break out and declare, but everything is premature until the season kicks off.