The Wolverine

June/July 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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30 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2017 BY RYAN TICE M ichigan football has many accomplishments in its il- lustrious 137-year history, but the Wolverines had never produced more than 10 picks in a single NFL Draft during its first 136 years. In the two years that it hit double-digit draftees — 1972 and 1974 — the event lasted 17 rounds and fea- tured 442 picks. This year 's seven-round edition (with 253 picks) rolled around April 27-29, and the Wolverines did more than just extend their draft streak to 79 straight years with at least one selec- tion. U-M ended up setting a school record with 11 picks and led the nation in draftees. The total stood as the 12th-most from any one school all time and as- cends to third in the seven-round era, which began in 1994. Five of the 11 selections went in the first 95 picks — only 15 schools had at least five 2017 choices in the entire event — and the program just missed tying the all-time best mark of six top- 100 selections, set in 1972. Third-rounder Amara Darboh, taken 106th overall by the Seattle Seahawks, nearly allowed Jim Harbaugh's group to tie that record. The fourth third- round pick did, however, help the pro- gram equal 1972 for the most former players (six) chosen in the first three rounds. Several of the draft choices gave a nod to Harbaugh while explaining how the team that was a .500 program in the two years prior to the former NFL coach's arrival posted back-to- back 10-win campaigns and surpassed the draft totals put up by Alabama and other powerhouse programs that have enjoyed more sustained periods of re- cent success. Those players also noted that Harbaugh got them ready for the NFL by preparing like a pro team at the college level. "When you come from a big school, especially a school like Michigan with Coach Harbaugh, you get coached by some of the best coaches, and the com- petition is the best that you can ask for," first-round pick Taco Charlton told reporters on a conference call after he was chosen 28th overall by the Dal- las Cowboys. "The way we ran our program at Michigan was like a pro program," fourth-round pick Ben Gedeon, now a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings, observed. "A lot of us coming from Michigan are well prepared and I'm thankful we were able to play for so many coaches that had NFL experi- ence." "It will help ease the transition," fourth-round choice Ryan Glasgow of the Cincinnati Bengals concluded. "I know there will still be a learning curve, but I think it will be helped out by the fact that I played for Har- baugh." FIRST-ROUND DUO Entering 2017, there had been a slight drought since Michigan's last first-round choice. The Wolverines had not produced a top-32 pick since Taylor Lewan (11th) in 2014 until this year, when Jabrill Peppers came off the board at No. 25 to the Cleveland Browns. There was no shortage of differ- ing opinions on Peppers' draft stock, thanks to his multi-faceted focus in college, lack of a traditional NFL fit positionally and then a diluted sample given during the drug-testing portion of the NFL Combine, which counts as his first failed drug test in the league. His representation at Creative Artists Agency responded by saying that Pep- pers, who has a history of cramping and was planning on working out two ELITE 11 Michigan Sets A School Record And Leads The Nation With 11 NFL Draft Picks Defensive end Taco Charlton being drafted 28th by the Dallas Cowboys gave the Wolverines multiple first-round picks for the first time since 2005. PHOTO BY JEREMIAH JHASS/COURTESY DALLAS COWBOYS

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