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Latest NFL Draft Buzz On Michigan's Potential First-Round Picks

Draft day is finally here, meaning 32 prospects will hear their names called on Thursday night and realize their dream of being selected by an NFL team.

Michigan football has 11 draft hopefuls, including two — edge defender Kwity Paye and offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield — who have a realistic possibility of being picked in the first round (the second and third rounds will be held Friday and the final four rounds are Saturday).

Here is the latest mock-draft buzz surrounding Paye and Mayfield ahead of the first round.

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Former Michigan Wolverines football players Kwity Paye (No. 19) and Jalen Mayfield (No. 73) could be picked in the NFL Draft's first round.
Former Michigan Wolverines football players Kwity Paye (No. 19) and Jalen Mayfield (No. 73) could be picked in the NFL Draft's first round. (USA TODAY Sports Images)
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Kwity Paye

It's a near certainty that Paye will hear his name called by commissioner Roger Goodell Thursday night, with CBS Sports actually tabbing him as one of 27 'first-round locks.' He has the chance to go close to the top 10 but, at the very least, shouldn't have to sweat it out in the last couple picks of the night.

"Too many people see him as the best prospect of this group, although this group has its issues," Jason La Canfora wrote. "Could go as high as 11 to the Giants, but can't imagine he falls behind the mid-20s at the absolute latest."

In fact, No. 11 to the New York Giants is exactly where's Charles Davis has Paye going.

"If one of the top WRs falls this far (or Penn State LB Micah Parsons is available), this pick could change, but the Giants need a top-ranked pass rusher, too," Davis wrote.

ESPN analyst Todd McShay unveiled his final prospect rankings Tuesday, and listed Paye as the 18th-best prospect in the entire draft class, as well as the top edge defender.

"Paye has an extremely high ceiling," McShay wrote. "He has fast eyes and explosive closing speed in pursuit. He needs to make strides as a hands fighter, but Paye flashes the ability to slip blocks and make plays in the backfield. He has above-average range and presents good versatility; he kicks inside to rush the passer, and he's a 3-4 OLB candidate."

Then, in his final mock draft before the first round that came out Thursday morning, McShay pegged Paye as the 11th pick and heading to the New York Giants. That is a leap of 10 spots from where McShay previously listed him in his mock draft that was released early on in the month.

"The Giants' biggest hole right now is off the edge, and Paye is my top-ranked prospect there," McShay wrote. "They need to add more game-breakers to pair with Leonard Williams and keep their vastly improved defense strong."

Meanwhile, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has Paye landing with the Miami Dolphins, who have the 18th pick.

"The Dolphins add to one of the NFL's best defenses after addressing the offense with their first pick," he wrote. "Paye is going to benefit from having some positional stability off the edge in Miami."

Sporting News' Joe Rivera also has him going to the Dolphins at No. 18 in his latest mock draft released this week.

"Some look at Paye as more of an inside pass-rushing force but regardless, he's an athletic freak for his size and [Dolphins head coach] Brian Flores will love him adding to the multiplicity of their defensive front."

It should make for an exciting night for Paye and his family.

Jalen Mayfield

While the odds are that Mayfield will not be selected in the first round, it's not out of the realm of possibility. His phone has been ringing off the hook in the days leading up to the draft, with many teams having interest in picking him, a few even considering pulling the trigger Thursday. Multiple mock drafts over the last several months have had him landing in the first round.

However, the latest mock drafts as the draft draws closer don't view him as a first-rounder. The second, or even third round, is likely when he will hear his name called.

In his latest two-round mock, CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso has projected Mayfield to be nabbed by the New York Giants with the 42nd pick in the second round.

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network prognosticates that Mayfield will go off the board at No. 75 overall in the third round to the Dallas Cowboys.

The aforementioned McShay has Mayfield listed as the 112th-best prospect, the 18th-best offensive lineman and the ninth-best offensive tackle in the draft class. He did not appear in McShay's final mock of the first round.


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