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Why Isn’t Anyone Asking This Question About Michigan After The NFL Draft?

Michigan State v Michigan
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How do you have the most players selected in the NFL Draft and finish just third in your own division?

An even better question is: Why aren’t more people–media, specifically–asking that?

Michigan just put 11 players into the NFL in this past weekend’s draft. That’s the most this year (second was Alabama with 10), and it’s a school record for the Wolverines.

That’s a lot of professional football players. Let’s compare that with the rest of the Big Ten:

School          Players Drafted

Michigan             11
Ohio State           7
Iowa                    4
Wisconsin           2
Michigan State    2
Northwestern      2
Illinois                  1
Indiana                1
Minnesota           1
Nebraska            1
Penn State          1
Purdue                1
Maryland             0
Rutgers               0

So Michigan far and away had the most NFL players on its roster last season. The Wolverines had four more pro guys than Ohio State (not to mention a 10-point lead with about a quarter left) and still couldn’t beat them. They had almost three times as many NFLers as Iowa and couldn’t win in Iowa City under the lights.

Let’s look nationally now:

School          Players Drafted

Michigan             11
Alabama             10
Miami, Fla.          9
Utah                    8
Florida                 8
LSU                     8
Ohio State           7
Tennessee          6
Clemson             6
North Carolina    6

Michigan has company in the underachiever ranks. All that NFL talent didn’t help Miami, who couldn’t even crack a double-digit win total. The same is true for Utah, LSU, Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Wolverines also dwarfed the number of drafted players from Orange Bowl foe Florida State. The Seminoles had four players drafted, but they still beat U-M on the field in December.

So there’s obviously much more to the winning equation than simply having good players and more of them.

But Jim Harbaugh’s bunch is all alone at the top, even with NFL factory and perennial national championship favorite Alabama behind them. The Crimson Tide, by the way, has appeared in five of the last eight national championship games and won four of them.

Meanwhile, Michigan has yet to reach the Big Ten championship game and hasn’t won its conference since 2004.

Harbaugh and Co. nearly tied the NFL record set a year ago when Ohio State saw 12 Buckeyes selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. Put another way: Michigan is one of only two Power 5 schools that had more NFL draft picks than wins this past season.

The other is UCLA. The Bruins went 4-8 and had five players drafted.

Look, no one can honestly deny Harbaugh’s coaching prowess. The dude has turned around sinking ship after sinking ship, in college and the pros. But keep in mind his 11 players just drafted by the league were Brady Hoke recruits.

Translation: The orangutan that made the Indianapolis Colts’ mid-round draft selections this weekend could recruit good players to Michigan.

How does a team loaded with NFL talent (many of whom turned down the pros a year ago with the specific purpose of getting Michigan to the College Football Playoff in mind) and a messianic figure calling the shots fail to crack the top two in its own half of its conference? That’s something I could actually use some coverage on, as opposed to Harbaugh’s budding opera career.


Beanie can be heard on “The AM Game Plan,” weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m. on The Game 730 AM WVFN. You can also find his rantings and musings on Facebook and Twitter.

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