There are multiple Wolverines that could be excellent additions to the New Orleans Saints when draft time comes in April. These prospects largely cemented their NFL futures throughout Michigan’s undefeated season, but they will need one more stellar performance to take home a National Championship.
Make sure to check out Jonny Camer’s piece on Washington prospects on Canal Street Chronicles as well.
Roman Wilson WR
Roman Wilson was absolute dynamite against Alabama in the Rose Bowl. He was JJ McCarthy’s top target - hauling in four receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The senior from Honolulu has been integral to the Wolverine offense. He currently has twelve touchdowns, 735 yards, and 45 receptions. His rare combination of strong hands and post-catch ability has been on display all season. He’s able to make fantastic adjustments to errant throws, which was fully apparent against Alabama.
Although the wide receiver trio of Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Rashid Shaheed is certainly a talented one, adding a talent like Wilson would not be a bad move in the third or fourth round. There have been trade rumors circulating about Michael Thomas, who also has some warranted injury concerns for his future with the Saints. Perhaps Wilson could be a sneaky mid-draft pick-up for New Orleans. I would love to see it.
OUTRAGEOUS redemption catch for Roman Wilson— Barstool Gambling (@stoolgambling) January 2, 2024
JJ McCarthy - QB
Who Dat Nation has been salivating over the thought of drafting a quarterback for almost the entire season. Although other names like Michael Penix, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye are the more desirable names at the moment, JJ McCarthy is a proven winner who deservedly could go in the first round.
McCarthy has amassed 2,851 yards this season along with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. At one point, McCarthy was a Heisman candidate, but slowly dropped off. He responded massively against his toughest opponent to date - the Alabama Crimson Tide.
McCarthy was locked in against one of the best defenses in the county last weekend. He threw for 221 yards, three touchdowns, and a 91.9 QBR. Washington allows an average of 267 opponent passing yards per game. Another huge performance from McCarthy could solidify his spot as an early or mid-first rounder. It’s very unlikely the Saints go for a quarterback, but don’t be discouraged by a prospect like McCarthy.
This is one of the best individual plays I've ever seen in a College Football Playoff game.— Austin (@AustinHeff) January 1, 2024
JJ McCarthy not only made the insane one-handed grab, but he then was able to quickly shift his focus to a gorgeous down field pass while under pressure
Kris Jenkins - DL
Jenkins is probably the most talented player on this Michigan defense and he’s a big reason for their defensive success this year.
Jenkins is considered one of the best run-stopping linemen in this year’s draft. He has 35 total tackles on the season and 2.5 sacks. Some scouts have argued that he has regressed from 2022 where he recorded 54 total tackles and two sacks, but his presence has been key to the Wolverine line for two straight years. His huge 6 ‘3, 305-pound frame would be an excellent second or third-round pick for a team that wants to beef up their run game.
Although he only had two tackles against Alabama, he was a huge factor in stopping the Tide run game for the entire second half. He’ll have to repeat his run-stopping performance against Washington on Monday to contain running back Dillon Johnson. The Saints heavily invested in the defensive line last year, and they very well may do it again.
Junior Colson ILB
Making ten tackles against Alabama is one thing, but making ten tackles with a cast on your hand is next level. Colson did just that.
The junior has made 40 solo tackles this season with ten of them coming from his dominant performance against Alabama. He’s been a rock-solid element to the Michigan defense and has started in 34 games dating back to his freshman year in 2021. He’s quick and agile for a linebacker and is best utilized as a run-stopper. He routinely finds his way in the backfield and has made life hell for many quarterbacks and running backs during his time at Michigan.
The linebacker unit was solid for New Orleans this year with the amazing talent and leadership of Demario Davis leading the squad. With a few contracts in the air and a 34-year-old Davis, perhaps adding depth at linebacker could be a smart move. If he is available in the fifth round or an opportunity arrives to move up into the fourth, perhaps Colson is worth the pick. It will be interesting to see how he fares against Michael Penix and the Washington Huskies.
Mike Sainristil CB
One of the standouts on a fantastic Michigan secondary is Mike Sainristil. The senior had another impressive game against Alabama and will need to play at his best to slow down Rome Odunze and Michael Penix on Monday.
Sainristil is leading the team in interceptions with five on the season. He also leads all defensive backs in solo tackles (20) and pass deflections (6). His quick feet, closing speed, and stellar hands combine to make an NFL-ready corner who can create big plays for his defense. Two of Sainristil’s interceptions were pick-sixes this season.
Adding depth at the cornerback position would be a solid mid-round move for New Orleans. This might prove to be especially useful given the uncertainty of Marshon Lattimore’s future with the team. Make sure to pay close attention to Sainristil on Monday and don’t be surprised if his draft stock continues to rise.
Side note: I love Michigan RB Blake Corum and how he plays the position. However, I don’t think the Saints will draft a running back early since the team will probably have the running back trio of Kamara, Williams, and Miller again next season. But if a trade goes down, maybe Corum could be a great fit.