Despite accepting an invitation to play at this year’s Senior Bowl, former Michigan Wolverine star Chase Winovich won’t play in the game due to an ankle injury.
The Detroit Free Press received confirmation yesterday that Winovich would not be playing in next week’s game from Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy. The Senior Bowl will be played on Saturday, January 26th in Mobile, Alabama. The game will be televised on the NFL Network and is scheduled to start at 2:30 PM ET.
With Winovich sitting out, running back Karan Higdon will be the only Wolverine participating in the Senior Bowl. Higdon will be suiting up for the North team. Offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty and safety Tyree Kinnel will be playing in the East-West Shrine Game, which will be played this Saturday at 3 PM ET in St. Petersburg, Florida (also televised on the NFL Network).
Chase Winovich’s draft stock
Winovich had a great season in 2018, one that saw him take home Michigan’s Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player Award. As a fifth-year senior, Winovich racked up 69 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, and five sacks. He’s the third straight defensive player to win the honor, following Maurice Hurst in 2017 and Jabrill Peppers in 2016.
While Chase Winovich won’t be able to use the Senior Bowl as a showcase before the draft, he is likely to draw interest from NFL teams. In the latest version of Mel Kiper Jr.‘s Big board for the 2019 NFL draft (subscription required), Winovich is ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker prospect available in the upcoming draft.
Considering that Winovich played defensive end at Michigan, it will be interesting to see where he lines up on Sundays. At 6’3″ and 255lbs, there are some analysts, like Kiper, that project Winovich to play outside linebacker. However, it isn’t crazy to think that he could line up as an edge rushed in a four-man front either.
Kiper also joined fellow draft expert and college-football analyst Todd McShay to answer 30 questions about the 2019 NFL draft (also requires subscription). Asked if teams will be able to find impact defensive lineman on Day 2 of this year’s draft, McShay’s response was a resounding yes with Winovich being one of the reasons why.
“Teams are going to find starters on Day 2,” McShay wrote. “I love the tape on Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich, for one. He’s athletic, quick and tough as hell.”
Neither McShay nor Kiper have Winovich projected to go in the first round, but a Day 2 selection would make him either a second or third round pick, an improvement over the third or fourth-round projection he was told after the 2017 season. There is no doubt that Winovich improved his draft stock in 2018, so as long as he doesn’t have a letdown at the combine he could very well be the third Wolverine taken in the draft.