The University of Michigan football team has produced some unbelievable NFL talent over the course of the past decade.
From Bo to Harbaugh, Michigan football talent has been found in most drafts. With 401 total draft selections, the Wolverines have sent the fifth most all-time to the NFL. For many of these players, it has been harder to find success than others at the next level, but for others, it has come easy. Amongst all of the talent spread amongst the NFL, there are five players who have displayed continuous success at the next level from the Wolverines, This list will only consist of current NFL players, not ones who have retired.
Top 5 Michigan Men in the NFL
Aidan Hutchinson – DE, Detroit Lions
“Hutch.” One of the most loved and decorated players to ever come out of Michigan, Hutch was a 2nd overall selection by his hometown Detroit Lions in the 2022 draft. After an impressive 2020 season with the Wolverines in which he totaled 36 tackles and 14 sacks, Hutch would finish 2nd in Heisman voting. Detroit seemed to be the perfect landing spot for Aidan, playing high school at Divine Child in Dearborn and continuing his playing at Michigan. Expectations were high for his rookie season, and Hutch made sure not to underwhelm. He totaled a combined 52 tackles, 9,5 sacks, and 3 interceptions, which is a rookie DE record. Hutch was also a huge part of the recent culture change in this Lions organization. 2023 Hutch is going to be scary.
Kwity Paye – DE, Indianapolis Colts
Paye was a college teammate of Hutch and was a huge reason for the development of Hutch. However, Paye was no scrub himself. Although the 2020 season was a weird time for many schools and teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paye did more than enough to make sure he was drafted early. For Michigan football, Paye totaled 11.5 sacks and 59 tackles in 4 seasons. The Indianapolis Colts decided that was what they needed on their defense and made Paye the 21st pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Since then, Paye has been a critical part of the Colts defense. In his first two seasons, Paye has recorded 10 sacks and 77 tackles. Paye will improve even more during the upcoming 2023 season.
Jabrill Peppers – CB/S, New England Patriots
Also one of the most decorated Wolverines ever, Jabrill was an all-around superstar at the college level. He was a versatile player who could dominate coverage on defense and run jet sweeps on offense. The number one player in the nation in 2014. Brady Hoke was able to pull off one of the largest recruits in Michigan football history, and it was well worth it. In his 3 seasons as a Wolverine, Peppers contributed 125 tackles, 18.5 TFL, and 4 sacks. Peppers only had one career interception, but was more of a zone coverage player.
On offense, Jabrill rushed for 5 touchdowns and caught 10 targets for 85 yards throughout his Michigan career. Peppers played 933 snaps during the 2016 campaign, logging 726 plays on defense, 53 plays on offense, and 154 snaps on special teams. After the 2016 season, Peppers was awarded the Lott trophy and finished fifth in the Heisman trophy voting. Jabrill was selected 25th overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2017 Draft, and has since played stints in New York with the Giants and New England. In 6 NFL seasons, Peppers has a combined 393 tackles and four interceptions.
Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR, Cleveland Browns
DPJ was a former 5-star recruit out of Cass Technical High in Detroit, MI. DPJ committed to Michigan in 2017 and had very high expectations. Unfortunately, Michigan’s QB room at that time was underwhelming. DPJ was never given much chance to fully reach his potential, However, he made the most of what he was given. In three seasons with the Wolverines, DPJ amassed 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns, all on a 12,9 average.
Although he had an underwhelming career at Michigan, DPJ entered the 2017 NFL Draft and was selected in the 6th round by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns seemed to have found a home for DPJ, who has been the teams best deep threat to date. For his draft position, he has most definitely exceeded expectations. In three seasons so far, DPJ has 1,740 yards on 109 receptions with eight touchdowns. New Browns QB Deshaun Watson will be the best QB DPJ has played with, so I expect a solid 2023 outing ahead.
Brandon Graham – DE, Philadelphia Eagles AND Rashan Gary – DE/LB, Green Bay Packers
Two of the most prominent pass rushers in Michigan history, these two were hard to keep off this list. Gary was the highest-ranked recruit in history, while Graham was less touted. However, both of these guys made an immense impact on Michigan’s defense in different decades. Both recruited into different regimes, Graham amassed 29.5 sacks and 138 total tackles. Graham was drafted by the Eagles in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and the rest is history. Gary, on the other hand had 57 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 3 seasons at Michigan before declaring for the 2019 draft. Green Bay selected him twelfth overall and he has since totaled 135 tackles and 22.5 sacks. Gray has established himself as the centerpiece of the Packers defense.
Daxton Hill – S, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Danna – DE, Kansas City Chiefs
Nico Collins – WR, Houston Texans
Josh Uche – LB, New England Patriots
Cesar Ruiz – C, New Orleans Saints
David Ojabo – LB, Baltimore Ravens
Jourdan Lewis – CB, Dallas Cowboys
Tweet: @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
Photo Credit: © Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports