Former Michigan defensive lineman Frank Clark was dismissed from the team last November after he was arrested on domestic violence charges, but it is unclear how that will affect his professional football future.
Mel Kiper, ESPN NFL draft analyst, said Wednesday during a conference call he expects Clark's draft status will be affected by the arrest, not to mention the fact the draft pool is deep at his position.
Kiper also said former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, who will pursue an NFL career as a receiver, is a "draftable player" who also faces depth at the position, and said he projects former U-M linebacker Jake Ryan as a third-round pick.
Kiper said he has not had any conversations with NFL types about Clark, who reportedly has been invited to the NFL Combine. Clark was arrested in Sandusky, Ohio, for striking his girlfriend during a Michigan bye weekend.
"I think Clark will be affected," Kiper said. "I don't know how they'll view off-the-field issues with various players, but in this particular case it's significant, it's serious and in terms of the drop, which you obviously could have considering where the NFL is right now in this whole (domestic violence) issue.
"I would say, especially with having as many players that are able to get after the quarterback and play in a similar type of way affects him (because there is) great depth in terms of pass rushers and defensive ends. So that will push him down. Every team will look at (the arrest) differently and have a different viewpoint, and the league obviously is strong on that. This is not the time in the league to have any issue like that off the field."
Gardner and Ryan played in the East-West Shrine game last Saturday, and both were captains.
Gardner is transitioning to receiver, a position he played most of the 2012 season before quarterback Denard Robinson was injured, accelerating Gardner's return to quarterback. He was Michigan's starting quarterback the last two seasons.
"Since he has played that position already in college and showed some potential, I think that helps him," Kiper said of Gardner playing receiver. "I would like to have seen him play there this year. I think you look at what he brings from a skill-set standpoint, we'll find out how he runs.
"The thing that hurts him is the fact there are so many wide receivers in this draft that are really good. It was a great year last year -- you had 15 rookies who really were impactful at wide receiver, and you're going to have a load more this year. It's a very, very strong, very deep position -- guys that have already been proven entities at that spot. That could push him down a little bit, (but he's) still a very draftable player."
Receiver Devin Funchess, who decided to leave Michigan after his junior season, is the Wolverines' only shot at a first-round draft selection. Ryan is expected to be the next UM player drafted, according to Kiper.
"Ryan, to me, is a third-round type of player," Kiper said. "You get those guys that are the attack guys, but you get the versatile kids like Ryan who in a standard situation can do very well. I think Ryan is a three-four (selection)."