Four Wolverines likely to be selected in NFL draft


This year’s Michigan football team will have at least three and maybe four players selected in the 2015 NFL draft.

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WR Devin Funchess, MLB Jake Ryan  and SDE Frank Clark will go in the early rounds, according to CBS and Draft Tek projections (see table below).

Devin Gardner, who is still listed as a QB prospect, may move up in the order if he’s selected as a wide receiver. Gardner caught 16 passes during  the first eight games of the 2012 season before moving to quarterback when Denard Robinson was injured.

Size key for Gardner, Funchess

When healthy Gardner has true receiver’s speed, great hands and can create mismatches with his 6-4 height.

Funchess, like Clark, arrived at Michigan as a tight end prospect. It didn’t take long for Funchess to show he had enough speed to get separation, and was highly effective on 50-50 balls.

At 6-5, 230 lbs, the wideout is almost automatic making the tough catch, but still struggles at times with the routine play. To be eligible for the 2015 draft, Funchess will have to forego his senior year.

Fundamentals a strength for Ryan

Ryan has lined up at both inside and outside backer positions for the Wolverines. This season, he’s played all 10 games exclusively at MLB (MIKE) and has 90 tackles and 13 TFLs to show for his efforts.

Ryan has 44.5 TFLs  during his career, good enough for 7th on Michigan’s all time list. The 6-3, 236 lb. native of Westlake, Ohio, was selected last month as a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award, which is emblematic of the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.

Clark became a household name last Saturday when he made the play of the game in Michigan’s 10-9 win over Northwestern. In the game’s waning seconds, a Northwestern touchdown cut the Michigan lead to one.

Gamble backfires

Instead of kicking the extra-point to force overtime,  the Wildcats decided to go for two.

As quarterback Trevor Siemian rolled right as if to pass, Clark blitzed basically untouched toward Siemian, who appeared startled. The QB  then slipped and fell and the Wildcats threat was over.

Clark, who now has 25 career starts for Michigan, has been projected to be around until the fifth round.

Taylor, Beyer longshots

Cornerback Raymon Taylor, who’s started six games this season and 29 during his Michigan career, is rated the 38th cornerback in the draft and 342nd overall. Those numbers translate to a hopeful phone call coming after a private tryout or a positive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Another longshot is WDE Brennen Beyer, whose route to the NFL is no different than Taylor’s.

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