Michigan Wolverines Preview: Roster, Prospects, Schedule, and More

Prospects like J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum, and Rod Moore could represent the Michigan Wolverines in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft. Who else is there?

The Michigan Wolverines are once again one of the top competitors in college football. By extension, they also have one of the deepest 2024 NFL Draft groups on deck for the coming cycle. Here’s a look at all of the eligible talent to watch on Michigan’s roster.

Michigan Wolverines Roster and Depth Chart Changes

We’re not saying the Wolverines didn’t lose anyone. They did. Nine players were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Jim Harbaugh’s squad lost more beyond that. But whatever they lost, the Wolverines proactively worked to fill any voids on their roster. Now, they’re just as strong as before.

After losing Ryan Hayes and Olusegun Oluwatimi to the NFL Draft, Michigan added LaDarius Henderson and Drake Nugent. After losing DJ Turner, they acquired Josh Wallace from Massachusetts. A.J. Barner from Indiana to replace Luke Schoonmaker. Kenneth Grant and Cam Goode to carry the torch from first-rounder Mazi Smith. You get the idea.

Whatever the Wolverines lost, they largely gained back, and they also retained a good amount of high-end talent at crucial positions. J.J. McCarthy will once again be a key player at QB, and the RB duo of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards will be tough to stop.

Meanwhile, on defense, players like Kris Jenkins, Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor, Junior Colson, and Rod Moore are all trending up. Michigan has been in the CFB Playoff for two consecutive years. They’ll be aiming for a third playoff march in 2023.

Michigan Wolverines NFL Draft Prospects

J.J. McCarthy, QB

All eyes will be on J.J. McCarthy to see if he can take home the QB3 spot in the 2024 NFL Draft behind Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. He’s reportedly beefed up after playing at just 196 pounds in 2022, and he has all the necessary talent. He’s an effortlessly elite creator with the ball in his hands, who also generates easy whip-like velocity on his throws. His decision-making is still a work in progress, but he’s young. 2023 is his chance to stack growth.

Blake Corum, RB

Blake Corum is a unique runner, but there’s a clear path to success for him as an NFL back. At 5’8″, 210 pounds, he’s low to the ground and extremely rocked-up, and those two traits culminate in exceptional contact balance. It helps that he’s also a very efficient one-cut back who can quickly identify optimal lanes and align himself with his lateral agility. He’s not an elite creator, but he’s an absolutely dynamic runner in structure.

Donovan Edwards, RB

Together, Corum and Donovan Edwards form one of the nation’s best RB tandems, and this one has perhaps the most NFL potential. Corum is commonly viewed as the better prospect, but the two are closer than many realize. Edwards isn’t quite as dense as Corum at 6’1″, 204 pounds, but he still has that marketable contact balance in his toolkit. And Edwards doubles as a versatile, explosive receiving weapon as well.

Roman Wilson, WR

Speed is always an accelerant for NFL Draft prospects, and it’s likely something that’ll send evaluators flocking to Roman Wilson’s film. Wilson is a 6’0″, 185-pound lightning bolt with legitimate 4.3 pace. The question that remains is whether or not Wilson can become more than an ancillary weapon for Michigan after the departure of Ronnie Bell, but his brand of speed alone can provide an extra dimension for a passing attack.

Cornelius Johnson, WR

Cornelius Johnson doesn’t have an elite production profile, but he might be a player who goes on to be an even better NFL producer. Johnson has a tantalizing size/athleticism combination at 6’3″, 208 pounds, and his vertical speed gave defenses fits at times in 2022. Beyond that, however, he’s also quietly an exceptional route runner with hip sink, stem deception, and sharp deceleration capacity. He could be a value deal in 2024.

A.J. Barner, TE

Set to fill the void left by 2023 second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker, Indiana transfer A.J. Barner could have similar upside. The Indiana offense was never fully equipped to showcase Barner’s traits, but at 6’6″, 250 pounds, Barner is a smooth, high-octane athlete. His mobility translates well both in the RAC and separation phases, and with opportunity on hand in Ann Arbor, he could be in store for a career-best year at the right time.

LaDarius Henderson, OT

Michigan’s left tackle in 2022 — Ryan Hayes — was drafted by the Dolphins in Round 7. The team’s left tackle in 2023 — LaDarius Henderson — could go considerably higher if he reaches his ceiling. Henderson was at Arizona State from 2019 to 2022 and played left tackle only in 2019. There may be a learning curve as he switches back, but his explosiveness, power, and tenacity give Sherrone Moore an elite toolbox to work with.

Karsen Barnhart, OT

Karsen Barnhart ended up taking over for Trente Jones at right tackle down the stretch in 2022 and carried the role all the way through the rest of the campaign. In that short window, he played well enough to earn honorable mention recognition from Big Ten coaches. At 6’5″, 308, Barnhart is a lean, easy mover, and though he drifts a bit too much at times with his base, he has the necessary athleticism, length, and flexibility to thrive.

Zak Zinter, G

Michigan could once again have a Joe Moore Award-worthy offensive line in 2023, and the return of Zak Zinter at guard is a big development. At 6’6″, 315 pounds, Zinter has great size but is also an exceptional athlete and a high-IQ blocker. He has the mobility to get in space and the flexibility to seal off lanes and understands angles very well. Not only is he a first-team all-conference performer, but he could be a middle-round pick in April as well.

Trevor Keegan, G

Trevor Keegan is entering his third season as the Wolverines’ starting left guard, giving the team even more stability on the interior offensive line. At 6’6″, 305 pounds, Keegan is a bit lean for his size, and it shows. He doesn’t always hold up at contact as well as other blockers, and he can be a bit late to react to stunts. But Keegan has good baseline athleticism and length, and he’s a physical finisher when defenders sacrifice leverage.

Drake Nugent, C

Michigan’s center acquisition in 2022 — former Virginia standout Olusegun Oluwatimi — worked out very well, and Oluwatimi was ultimately drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.

Drake Nugent should help keep Michigan’s streak going. He’s not quite as powerful as Oluwatimi, but the 6’2″, 306-pound Nugent is a stout, stocky blocker with great short-area mobility and processing speed against stunts.

Kris Jenkins, DT

The Wolverines have had a defensive lineman represented in Round 1 for three consecutive NFL Draft cycles. Kris Jenkins could keep the trend going in 2024. Jenkins is still awaiting his statistical breakout, but the 6’3″, 285-pound defender has a gripping blend of high-level traits.

Kris Jenkins (94) celebrates as time winds down in the win against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.

He comes off the line with ruthless energy and can offset blockers with hyperactive twitch before using his heavy hands and overwhelming power drive to demolish plays.

Cam Goode, DT

No one will be able to replace Mazi Smith and his first-round talent at nose tackle, but Michigan may have a competent player in Cam Goode. Goode transferred from UCF in 2022 after compiling 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks across 2020 and 2021. At 6’2″, 323, Goode’s natural leverage and mass aid him tremendously, and in his UCF days, he flashed legitimate pass-rushing ability with his first-step explosiveness and hot motor.

Jaylen Harrell, EDGE

2022 was a good year for Jaylen Harrell, who put up 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. 2023 could be the year where he takes the next step. At 6’4″, 246 pounds, Harrell is well-sized, and he’s a menace in pursuit with his hungry playmaking mentality. He’s exceptional at tracking run plays laterally, but he also shows glimpses of excellence as a pass rusher, such as his violent chop-spin inside counter sack against Purdue.

Braiden McGregor, EDGE

Braiden McGregor has a lot of the tools you’d want in an edge rusher. At 6’6″, 261 pounds, he has the size and length to play head-up at 5-tech, but he also has the quickness and burst off the line to shade farther outside, as well as the flexibility to bend underneath the arc. McGregor is still fairly raw, both with his functional power exertion and his hand-fighting. But there are bright flashes of efficient and opportunistic hand usage.

Josaiah Stewart, EDGE

The projected emergences of Harrell and McGregor could render Josaiah Stewart as more of a change-of-pace pass rusher, but Stewart still has the record to fuel some NFL Draft consideration. Through 2021 and 2022, he played at Coastal Carolina and logged 16.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss. He’s woefully undersized in contact situations at 6’1″, 237 pounds, but his burst and torso flexibility helps him stay disruptive.

Junior Colson, LB

Junior Colson hasn’t yet joined the early-round ranks in the 2024 NFL Draft LB class, but he does have the necessary upside to demand attention as the season approaches. Colson is still relatively raw in coverage and sometimes relies on his physicality to a fault. But foundationally, he’s a compact and athletic second-level defender who brings great twitch and closing burst, and his tackling numbers help corroborate his finishing ability.

Michael Barrett, LB

The veteran complement to a young, up-and-coming player in Colson, Michael Barrett has some redeeming qualities as a prospect. He’s a bit undersized, and he’s still relatively inconsistent with his pursuit angles. But Barrett’s speed and range are two notable pluses on his profile, and he also has good coverage ability. He could go on to be a solid special teamer and rotational defender in the NFL.

Josh Wallace, CB

In Josh Wallace, Michigan scored a late-offseason win in the transfer portal. With a big year, Wallace could solidify his chances of being drafted. He already has a strong record to go off of. At 6’0″, 190 pounds, he’s an elastic long-striding athlete with exceptional mirroring skills who can also suffocate WRs against the boundary with physicality and make plays on the ball (two picks and 19 deflections over the past two seasons).

Mike Sainristil, CB

In 2021, Mike Sainristil was a 300-yard receiver for Michigan and a truly valuable rotational weapon. In 2022, he made the switch to slot cornerback, and he looked right at home. Sainristil’s size will always be a slight hindrance, but his speed, explosiveness, and chippy competitive mentality help him compensate. His WR background translates well in the playmaking department, and he’s also a banshee as a run support and blitz DB.

Rod Moore, S

He doesn’t have the same amount of hype as other 2024 NFL Draft safeties, but Rod Moore has true Round 1 potential. He’s a little light at 6’0″, 185 pounds, but he’s an extremely explosive and rangy athlete. Even more impressive than his athleticism and playmaking ability (four interceptions in 2022) is his football IQ, intelligence, and universal role flexibility on the back end. He can play two-high, single-high, and loom close to the box.

Makari Paige, S

Alongside Moore, the Wolverines have Makari Paige in the secondary. Paige is a less orthodox prospect. He’s taller than average for a DB at 6’3″, 200 pounds, and that height does contribute to a lack of fluidity in space at times. But Paige does have the versatility to play cornerback if necessary, and as a safety, he’s a long-striding athlete who covers ground well, and he can effectively enforce downhill with his frame.

Michigan Wolverines Schedule

  • Week 1
    BYE
  • Week 2
    Sept. 2: vs. East Carolina Pirates
  • Week 3
    Sept. 9: vs. UNLV Rebels
  • Week 4
    Sept. 16: vs. Bowling Green Falcons
  • Week 5
    Sept. 23: vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  • Week 6
    Sept. 30: at Nebraska Cornhuskers
  • Week 7
    Oct. 7: at Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Week 8
    Oct. 14: vs. Indiana Hoosiers
  • Week 9
    Oct. 21: at Michigan State Spartans
  • Week 10
    BYE
  • Week 11
    Nov. 4: vs. Purdue Boilermakers
  • Week 12
    Nov. 11: at Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Week 13
    Nov. 18: at Maryland Terrapins
  • Week 14
    Nov. 25: vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Week 15
    BYE

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