Former Michigan football players Junior Hemingway and David Molk were late-round steals, says Mel Kiper Jr.
The Michigan football program didn't have a whole lot of quantity in the 2012 NFL draft.
That doesn't mean there was a lack of quality.
During a conference call with reporters Monday, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. tabbed ex-Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway and former Wolverine center David Molk as a pair of seventh-round steals.
"I was really surprised Hemingway went as late as he did, he went in the seventh round and he was gaining a lot of momentum," Kiper said. "I think Junior Hemingway is going to be a real good pick for the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I thought (Molk) would be a fifth-round pick, and (San Diego) got him later than that. When you're talking about the seventh round, the 226th player taken, a kid who was a dominant player at times. He was a neutralizer. ... I think he'll be a nice fit."
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Kiper said he projected Hemingway as a fourth-round talent, but said the 6-foot-1, 222-pound receiver eventually fell to Kansas City (seventh round, No. 238 overall) in part because of his low production numbers at Michigan.
Numbers, Kiper said, that weren't exactly Hemingway's fault.
"Denard Robinson's not an accurate passer," Kiper said. "It reflected in (Hemingway's) numbers, and they weren't as high as they should have been or could have been.
"You're talking about a guy that probably could have been a fourth-round pick, and I don't think anybody could have had a big argument with that. That, to me, was one of the better picks of the draft in terms of the late rounds. He'll have a great opportunity to help that football team."
Last season, Hemingway finished with just 34 receptions and four touchdowns, but did total 699 yards, averaging out to an impressive 20.6 yards per catch.
For his career, Hemingway was a consistent big-play receiver at Michigan -- finishing his four years with an average of 18.6 yards per reception.
As for Molk, Kiper said his size -- specifically his short arms -- was the biggest reason for his slip to the seventh round.
Kiper compared Molk to former undrafted free agent center Jeff Saturday, who eventually won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts and made four Pro Bowls in the process.
"The issue with him was the short arms and barely being 6-foot-1," Kiper said. "He's a very smart player with a great football IQ. Jeff Saturday came out of North Carolina and had a great (college career) with short arms, and he was limited. He ended up having a great career with the Colts and now he's in Green Bay.
"(Molk) was at least drafted, and I think he'll be a nice fit."
Kiper also mentioned former defensive tackle Mike Martin, taken in the third round by the Tennessee Titans, as a player he expects to make an immediate contribution next season.
Also on Monday, fellow ESPN analyst Todd McShay tabbed Martin as Tennessee's "Impact pick" of the draft.
This weekend marked the fourth straight year Michigan saw three or fewer players taken in the NFL draft. Michigan has had one first round pick (Brandon Graham in 2010) since 2008.
Also, the 2012 draft marked the first time since 1994 -- and just the fourth time since 1968 -- that Michigan had only one player (Derrick Alexander) taken through the first six rounds of the draft.
Kiper acknowledged Michigan's recent run of limited participation in the draft, and said it will now be current coach Brady Hoke's job to replenish the talent pool -- something he expects to happen.
"Overall, when you look at this team, it's like Notre Dame, you've got to build back the talent base," Kiper said. "That's what Brady Hoke's trying to do, to build it back up by recruiting.
"If you play well, normally you'll have guys go pretty high. ... It'll come together, no question about that."