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Mel Kiper's New NFL Draft Predictions For Michigan Stars

Fans watch a Michigan Wolverines flag after a score against the Illinois Fighting Illini.

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 22: Fans watch a Michigan Wolverines flag after a score against the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 22, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

The Michigan Wolverines have been one of the premier football factories for decades. With the NFL Draft less than a month away, the team is projected to continue the trend of sending their top players to the top teams in the order.

After revealing his latest mock draft on Tuesday, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. revealed his thoughts on four Michigan stars who are expected to be drafted fairly high. In the mock draft in question, he has two Wolverines going in the first half of Round One.

Star pass rusher Rashan Gary is being projected to go No. 9 overall to the Buffalo Bills. Kiper explained that Gary's skillset makes him a very intriguing prospect despite comparatively low production.

Via Rivals:

“This year didn’t go his way with the injury and obviously some of the criticism that came his way because of that,” he said. “Rashan Gary is an enigma. You expect more than 10 sacks in a career with that type of talent. You expect 20-+ career sacks with that kind of talent and he didn’t get it. The thing is, will the scheme allow him to turn loose in the NFL? Will that allow him to be more productive as a pro than as a collegiate? That’s what you’re going to roll the dice on.”

Gary had 9.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss in three seasons with the Wolverines. But his 2018 campaign was cut short, and consisted of only 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss on top of 38 total tackles in nine games.

As for Michigan's other projected first-round prospect, Devin Bush, Kiper currently has him slated to go No. 11 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals. Kiper noted Bush's elite speed for a linebacker that can serve him very well in being a high draft pick.

“I think he’s one of the top players in this draft,” he said. “I think you could argue he’s one of the ten best players in this draft. I’m thinking he’s that good. At the end of the day, after running that tremendous 40 time that he ran at that Combine when he and both [LSU linebacker] Devin White ran almost identical 4.43, 4.42 and shows his range and his sideline-to-sideline speed.”

Two other Michigan players caught Kiper's eye: linebacker Chase Winovich and cornerback David Long.

Kiper stated that he believes Winovich could be a second-round pick, while Long is graded as a fourth-round pick who could be drafted as high as the second round.

[Rivals]