Michigan Football: Nico Collins, Ambry Thomas have steal potential

Nico Collins and Ambry Thomas each opted out of the 2020 Michigan football season but the former Wolverines were selected in the third round of the NFL draft. 

As the second day of the NFL draft moved on, you started to wonder when and if former Michigan football players Nico Collins and Ambry Thomas would be selected.

Jalen Mayfield was picked in the third round after many viewed him as a first or second-round selection. But he went off the board to Atlanta early in the third, then in the middle of the round, the Houstan Texans — needing a wideout — moved up for Collins at the 89th pick.

It was a great moment for the 6-foot-4 wide receiver who was Michigan’s first day-two selection at wide receiver since Devin Funchess went in the second round.

Then, to close out a pretty solid round for the Wolverines, the 49ers, who also added Maurice Hurst recently, selected Ambry Thomas in the third round, making it four Michigan football players going on the first two days.

Breaking down fits for Collins, Thomas

Collins is an impressive athlete. He might not have turned out great production at Michigan but in basically two seasons of really playing, he caught 13 touchdowns and had over 1,300 yards. He also wasn’t targeted as much as he should have been, especially down the field.

The big question with Houston is who will be the quarterback? Deshaun Watson seems like he will be on the way out eventually. Davis Mills was picked out of Stanford in the third round, however, you’d feel better about Collins landing spot if you knew he had a franchise quarterback.

Thomas also found a really good home in San Francisco. He opted out due to medical reasons and teams might regret not taking him sooner. He’s 6-foot and he runs sub 4.4. He’s also really good in man coverage and can help out on special teams right away.

The 49ers also filled a big need at corner and with the way the depth chart currently looks, it wouldn’t be shocking if Thomas competed for time right away.

Obviously, both players will be back playing football after not doing so in 2020, so that’s something new but it doesn’t mean these guys aren’t ready.

The reality is that with strong senior years, both could have been top-50 prospects in the 2021 NFL draft and that’s not a reach. But that’s also why the Niners and Texans got great value and two potential steals in the third round.