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A Michigan Player Just Had An Elite NFL Combine, And It Wasn't Who You'd Expect

I’ve never been a big combine guy. I understand its importance, why players participate, and why NFL scouts pay so much attention to it, but it’s not really appointment viewing for me. I paid more attention to it this year than I have any other year because Michigan sent a record number of players to the NFL Combine. A lot of attention was obviously going to be paid to J.J. McCarthy and Blake Corum, as well as any members of Michigan’s elite defense from a season ago, but one name that people haven’t talked about much is Michigan wide receiver, Cornelius Johnson. His draft stock went up like crazy today.

I’m surprised by this, but I can’t necessarily say I’m shocked. It seems like Cornelius Johnson‘s biggest problem at points was sometimes Cornelius Johnson. He struggled with drops throughout his career, but in big moments, he had a tendency to show up. By the time last season rolled around, Roman Wilson was The number-one wideout for the Wolverines. He was responsible for leading the team in yards and touchdowns. Johnson only scored one TD last season, but he was Michigan’s leading receiver in 2020 and 2021, and in 2022, he was responsible for a huge game against Ohio State where he scored two touchdowns to help knock off the Buckeyes. 

Physically, he has all the attributes. He’s got good size, good speed, and good agility. I think one thing that people are going to realize pretty soon is how deep this Michigan football team was. There are only so many minutes in a football game and a finite number of plays that can be made. Michigan had a solid receiver room last season, but even with the talent of J.J. McCarthy as a quarterback, they were a run-first offense. It wouldn’t surprise me if Johnson puts up better numbers in the NFL than he did in college. 

The combine is essentially who’s best at doing drills. Every year, we see guys have great combines who then flame out in the NFL, and we’ve seen guys (Tom Brady being the most famous) have a bad combine and end up being an NFL legend. This is not a guarantee of success, but considering how much talent Michigan brought to the combine, it’s a little surprising that Cornelius Johnson may have been the most impressive.