Karan Higdon, Michigan’s leading rusher the last two seasons, was projected a late-round pick in the NFL Draft but surprisingly was not selected during the three-day draft that concluded Saturday.
Shortly after the draft ended Higdon announced he would an undrafted free agent deal with the Houston Texans.
Five of his Michigan teammates were drafted — Devin Bush and Rashan Gary in the first round, Chase Winovich and David Long in the third, and Zach Gentry was taken in the fifth round.
Most draft analysts projected the hard-running Higdon, a co-captain last season, as a third-day pick, but there were a number of running backs available. Higdon likely will be picked up as a free agent by a team.
“It’s such a crowded running back group, I have him a little lower on my list,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said recently during a conference call. “He gets a chance to run through some big holes when you study him. I want to see how much juice, how much top speed he has.
"He’s a no-frills runner. His feet will die a little bit on contact. He’s got some body catches out of the backfield. So you’ve got a smaller back, you’ve got to be special in other areas, and I didn’t really see that, so I’ll be anxious to see him in person and see what kind of juice he has.”
Higdon participated in the NFL Combine and said at the time he had spoken to every NFL team and said the interview process was smooth because he didn’t have “any baggage.”
“I think I’m a special talent,” he said at the combine. “I think I showcased that this past year. I continued to progress each and every year I’ve been at the University of Michigan and I just showed results. I got great vision, speed, power, determination, versatility. I’m ready to compete.”
Safety Tyree Kinnel, who was a co-captain last season, reached a deal with the Bengals Saturday.
Defensive tackles Bryan Mone and Lawrence Marshall and offensive lineman Juwaan Bushell-Beatty are expected to sign UDFA deals, as well..