Mel Kiper Jr. believes there's high value in former Michigan stars Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michael Onwenu following NFL Draft
Donovan Peoples-Jones and Michael Onwenu weren’t being talked about much in the days and weeks leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. The former Michigan standouts were expected to be late-round draft selections over the weekend, and that’s how it unfolded.
Now that there’s time to go back and review every team’s draft picks, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is a little bit higher on Peoples-Jones and Onwenu based on where they were selected and where they’re headed.
Peoples-Jones was taken by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round with the 187th pick. Heading into the draft, Kiper wasn’t high on the former UM wide receiver, saying he lacked “want to” on the field. But considering the athleticism the Browns are getting with their sixth-round selection, Kiper thinks it’s a solid move.
“Todd (McShay) likes Donovan Peoples-Jones a lot more than I did,” Kiper said during his First Draft podcast. “I didn’t have a high grade on Donovan Peoples-Jones, but sixth round for a kid with a 44 vertical and has got length? I thought he’s gotta fight for the ball more. He’s got to get quicker out of his cuts, out of his breaks. He’s just gotta shake that underachiever label. Ronnie Bell out-produced him, Collins, other guys just out-produced him and Shea Patterson wasn’t a bad quarterback. “Donovan Peoples-Jones should have been more productive, should have been more dominant. He wasn’t. He drops to the sixth round. Hopefully the light goes on for the kid with an awful lot of talent but never really, I thought, maximized that ability with Michigan. But to see him at pick 187, even if he doesn’t make it, it’s worth the pick in the sixth round to take a kid with all those skills that Donovan Peoples-Jones has.”
Kiper was also impressed with the New England Patriots getting Onwenu also in the sixth round at No. 182 was one of the steals of the draft.
Also in his podcast, Kiper said that he believes Onwenu has the potential to be a starter in New England, but at the very least will be a serviceable backup along the offensive line. He was a little surprised the former Michigan lineman was still available so late.
“Underrated pick for the Patriots would probably be Michael Onwenu, the guard from Michigan,” Kiper said. “Really, I thought played well. Ben Bredeson got more publicity. Onwenu was arguably as good if not better at times. He would be, for the sixth round and 182nd pick for an offensive line that also added Justin Herron … I don’t know if he’s going to be a starter, but he’ll be a really good backup. If he’s forced in there, he’ll be able to hold his own. This kid had some really good tape in the three games I watched him in. I thought he might go in the fourth round, at the worst fifth. He went sixth, pick 182.”
Peoples-Jones and Onwenu were two of 10 Wolverines who were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.