Originally Published: July 1, 2013

Overview: Draft fraught with possibilities

By Michael Rothstein | WolverineNation

Desmond HowardGetty ImagesAll three of Michigan's Heisman winners went early. Where did Desmond Howard go?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Have you ever considered what a team consisting of the best Michigan players from across all eras might look like? Who would you choose if you could pick only one quarterback, and only two running backs?

The three WolverineNation staff members, along with two special guests -- former Michigan tight end Bennie Joppru and former Michigan running back Chris Howard -- got together to each pick a starting 22 (11 offensive players and 11 defensive players), along with one kicker and one punter apiece.

All of the participants were instructed to pick for a 4-3 defense; had to select an offensive line with two tackles, two guards and a center; one quarterback; one running back; one tight end; two wide receivers; and a "flex" position that could be a second running back, second tight end or third wide receiver.

AP PhotoTom Harmon was the first of Michigan's three Heisman Trophy winners.

This allowed for some offensive flexibility -- hello, offensive weapon Denard Robinson -- while not letting a team stack up on six running backs or four offensive tackles.

This, obviously, would lead to different strategies. Does someone believe Michigan is strong enough at quarterback that they'll wait until the end and pick among the quarterbacks not selected by the other four participants? What type of offense would you like to run? How do you deal with the old ironman-type players of Michigan's past, such as Tom Harmon, Bennie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer? Where would you put them if you selected them?

To be fair, we did a snake-order draft. That means at the end of the first round, teams went in reverse order for the second. So the participant picking fifth also picked sixth to start the second round; the person who drafted first overall picked 10th to end the second round and 11th to start the third, and so on.

How would you draft? How did our general managers handle it? In a five-team draft with this structure, could a small run on players be a trigger for someone reaching for a pick, as in an actual fantasy football draft?

Our draft order went like this:

1. Former RB Chris Howard
2. Tom VanHaaren
3. Chantel Jennings
4. Michael Rothstein
5. Former TE Bennie Joppru

The complete draft results, as well as team-by-team (with round in parentheses) and position-by-position (with overall selection in parentheses), are on the right. For an analysis from each of our participants, read below.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

Howard: Brady's leadership stands out

By Chris Howard | Special to ESPN.com

Former Michigan running back Chris Howard played for the Wolverines from 1994 to 1997, and had a major role on the national championship team in his final season.

In fact, Howard led the Wolverines in rushing (868 yards), receptions (35) and touchdowns (eight) in 1997.

We were honored to have him participate in our all-time draft, and while he didn't choose himself, he did target some of his former teammates. Why not? They did go undefeated and take down Washington State in the Rose Bowl.

Here is the background behind some of his decisions, in his own words.

Tom Brady
Icon SMITom Brady wins over teammates with the 'intensity of a linebacker.'

What player did you want to be certain to get?

Tom Brady. Tom is a very cerebral player, but he also plays with the intensity of a linebacker. He sets the tone and not only inspires his offense but his defense as well. So not only do I get an offensive leader but I get a guy who can also go and motivate the defense if needed. He can dissect a defense quickly, understands that it's more important to keep the drive going and will take what the defense will give him. He loves to throw the short sure pass just as much as the long bomb for a touchdown. I picked up two great receivers in Amani Toomer and Derrick Alexander. I also drafted Tyrone Wheatley. Pick your poison.

Who was your best sleeper pick?

Shonte Peoples. Shonte was a ferocious and angry player. He was built like a linebacker but played safety. If you're going to go across the middle, you'd better know where Shonte Peoples is. I picked Shonte Peoples strictly for the intimidation factor.

What player were you most disappointed to miss out on?

Wish I would have been able to get Ty Law. I knew I wasn't going to get Charles Woodson, so Ty Law was my next choice. I wanted to get two shutdown corners so I could let Shonte Peoples to roam around freely in the secondary. I could blitz him all day long and drop a defensive lineman or a linebacker into the passing lanes. But I'm happy with Dave Brown.

VanHaaren: Woodson 'falls' to No. 2

By Tom VanHaaren | WolverineNation

An all-time Michigan draft sounds as if it might be simple, with so many outstanding players coming through Ann Arbor. With five people participating in the draft, though, things got complicated as we got deeper and deeper into the rounds.

I had the No. 2 pick in the draft, so I was prepared to see Charles Woodson taken off the board first. I felt as though I was in a tough spot with that pick because I needed to grab an impact player immediately but didn't want to make the wrong choice.

It turns out I lucked into the pick I really wanted.

Charles Woodson
Jonathan Daniel/Stringer/Getty ImagesIn 1997 Charles Woodson became the first predominantly defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy.

What player did you want to be certain to get?

Charles Woodson. I created a big board with my top picks and decided I would draft the best player available at the time. If I could get Woodson, I felt my team already had a shot at being the best team among the rest.

Tom Brady was chosen with the first pick, and there I was, with Woodson staring at me. The Heisman Trophy winner could do it all and is cemented as one of Michigan's best players of all time. It seemed like a no-brainer to scoop him up with my first pick.

Who was your best sleeper pick?

I think I have two sleeper picks. I didn't choose a tight end until some of the later rounds, but when I did, I grabbed Jim Mandich. I was surprised he was still available and thought that was a steal. I also didn't take many linebackers until the later rounds, and with my last linebacker selection I picked Mike Mallory. Another player who probably shouldn't have been there when he was, I scooped him up. Mallory was a finalist for the Butkus Award and an excellent player.

What player were you most disappointed to miss out on?

There were a few offensive linemen I was hoping to get, but I waited too long. With the second pick I probably was out of it for Jake Long, but there were some other linemen that I was hoping to get eventually. Steve Hutchinson was selected in the second round, Dan Dierdorf was taken in the third round and Jon Jansen in the third. All those guys were on my big board. I still ended up with a very good line that includes former President Gerald Ford.

Jennings: Color-coding the big board

By Chantel Jennings | WolverineNation

I'll admit it. I made a big board for this draft and was meticulously following and highlighting certain names in green (if I got them), red (if they were off the board) and purple (if they were no longer someone I really needed). My plan, for the most part, worked out pretty well.

I was able to get No. 3 (Tom Harmon) and No. 4 (Braylon Edwards) from my big board. My theory was to just go in guns blazing until I ran out of names (which happened earlier than I had anticipated, unfortunately). However, I think I still finished strongly enough to be able to field a competitive team. Of course, there were a few disappointments and a few times I missed highlighting names and attempted to draft someone who had been taken rounds before.

Edwards
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesBraylon Edwards is near the top of the list at a loaded position in Michigan history.

What player did you want to be certain to get?

I really didn't think it was necessary for me to get any player in particular. My real goal was to just get two of the top five on my big board. I had the third and eighth picks, so I thought if I could steal two of those top five in the first two rounds, I would be off to a pretty solid start. Charles Woodson was No. 1 on my big board and Tom picked him with the second overall pick. Desmond Howard was my No. 2 overall and Mike picked him with the seventh, so I missed out on both of those guys by just one spot. And my No. 5 player on the big board was Anthony Carter, whom Tom picked up in the second round after I went with Edwards.

Who was your best sleeper pick?

I really don't know if I had a true sleeper pick. I drafted a player who I believe is the best kicker in Michigan history in the 11th round, which in some respects could be considered a sleeper pick. For any top player at any position (yes, even special teams) to still be available at that point is a steal. I told the guys when I chose him that I was "pulling a Brady Hoke" and giving special teams some love, but no one else really considered drafting a kicker or punter until much later in the draft.

What player were you most disappointed to miss out on?

When the draft started, I didn't realize we were able to draft current players. So when Tom drafted Taylor Lewan in the eighth round, I seriously considered drafting Jake Ryan shortly after, but because he wasn't on my big board, I actually forgot about it. Then in the 19th round, Mike drafted Ryan and I kicked myself for not penciling the SAM linebacker on to my big board to remind myself to get him.

Rothstein: Waiting game for QB choice

By Michael Rothstein | WolverineNation

Heading into our five-person party, there were a few goals I had planned to hit. First, I wanted to be the last player to take a quarterback.

Quarterback and running back are the two most plentiful positions at Michigan. Considering we were limited to taking one quarterback in our draft, I figured at least one of the two I wanted would be on the board in the last round.

Turns out they both were.

Denard Robinson
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsDenard Robinson played running back in his final game and posted 100 yards on 23 carries.

What player did you want to be certain to get?

As strange as it might sound, Denard Robinson. I used the fact he lined up at running back in the final game of his career as my way in to draft him as a flex player in the fourth round instead of "wasting" my quarterback spot on him. Considering the receivers I was going to try and pick up, I wanted a more accurate long ball passer with a stronger arm. But having Robinson gave me a backup quarterback and the most dynamic player in Michigan history analogous to his new NFL position -- offensive weapon.

Who was your best sleeper pick?

Probably my last one, my quarterback. As I said, there were two quarterbacks high on my board. Once I saw a couple of the other quarterbacks go off the board, I knew I'd either land the most gifted passer, skill-wise, in Michigan history in Drew Henson or perhaps the most unfairly maligned, John Navarre.

Also, I figured if both of them were gone, Brian Griese likely would be available. In the last round, I had my option of all three, so I took the guy on the top of my board, Henson. His stats might not have been equal to his potential or ability, but I felt confident with him leading my team. Add to that he already had chemistry with one of my receivers, David Terrell, and I felt I was in good shape to have a great quarterback-receiver connection.

What player were you most disappointed to miss out on?

Once I received the fourth pick, I knew I wasn't getting Charles Woodson. I'd probably say I was most disappointed in missing out on two running backs, Anthony Thomas and Mike Hart. Thomas was probably unrealistic to last much past the third round, but Bennie Joppru ended up snagging Hart the pick before I planned on taking him in the fifth round. Initially the hope was to pair Robinson and Hart in the backfield and see what would happen. Instead, I will live with Butch Woolfolk late.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

Joppru: Tight ends stick together

By Bennie Joppru | Special to ESPN.com

Mike HartGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesRunning back Mike Hart made for a nice pickup for Bennie Joppru in the fifth round.

Bennie Joppru, another guest drafter, was an All-American tight end in 2002 and a two-year starter for the Wolverines. In his career, he caught 85 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns.

A second-round pick of the Houston Texans in the 2003 NFL draft, Joppru saw his name called in this draft as well. Much like the rest of his frustration you'll see below, he didn't get to pick himself, either.

What player did you want to be certain to get?

Tom Brady, Charles Woodson or Tom Harmon. Got none of them, of course. (Editor's note: Brady, Woodson and Harmon were the first three picks off the board and Joppru picked fifth. He went with another old-timer, Ron Kramer. Fittingly for the position Joppru played, he listed Kramer as a tight end.)

Who was your best sleeper pick?

I think David Bowens or Trevor Pryce, guys who never finished their careers at Michigan but ended up having pretty successful NFL careers. (Editor's note: Pryce started 155 games in his NFL career and played in four Pro Bowls. Bowens started 41 games in his NFL career and had 38.5 career sacks. Both started their careers at Michigan but transferred -- Pryce to Clemson and Bowens to Western Illinois.)

What player were you most disappointed to miss out on?

I could name about five of them. My scouting department failed me tremendously in preparation for this draft. Apparently they're still in party mode after my third-place finish in fantasy football last year. This will be addressed at our next meeting, rest assured. Heads will roll and it won't be mine. I have to blame someone for my poor performance and it's not gonna be me. Some things never change.