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What round will the ultra-talented Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones land in the draft?

As the number of underclassmen who declare early for the 2020 NFL draft continues to trickle in, one name to watch is Michigan junior wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones.

As recently as October, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay listed Peoples-Jones as a potential first-rounder, touting his ability to play outside or the slot, his natural hands and his ability to catch passes outside his frame.

“He is really smooth in transitioning upfield after the catch and will occasionally lower the shoulder as a tough open-field runner. He might not have a high-end second gear, but he is a physical route runner,” McShay wrote, also pointing out Peoples-Jones’ ability to track deep balls.

Peoples-Jones never really got untracked after that Oct. 9 report, finishing with 33 receptions for 404 yards and 6 touchdowns. For his career, he has 102 receptions for 1,293 yards, 14 TDs and averages 12.7 yards per reception.

Peoples-Jones had a particularly rough outing against Ohio State. His numbers from that game – 3 receptions, 69 yards and a 25-yard TD catch – seem great against a secondary that features at least four future NFL players. But they don’t paint the full picture, as Peoples-Jones also had multiple drops and was targeted 12 times.

And it was that Nov. 30 performance that led to what may be the line of the year by Yahoo Sports NFL draft analyst Eric Edholm: “He has first-round talent but fourth- or fifth-round tape. Tough evaluation.”

Michigan has two other underclassmen wide receivers who could enter the draft: Nico Collins and Tariq Black. Collins (6-4, 222) and Black (6-3, 215) are also big-bodied receivers. Some evaluators think Collins is the best prospect of the trio.

Last month, MLive.com’s Mike Mulholland said he’d “be surprised if all three of Michigan’s older receivers all return in 2020.”

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