Last year around this time I posted a spreadsheet with information on UM and the NFL draft. You'll see an updated version here.
In 2011 I looked at three-year intervals; this year I extended them to four years. In the most recent ('09 to '12) four-year interval, UM had ten picks. That's the lowest number since '84 to '87 (also ten). Only the '83 to '86 run (eight picks) was worse in the modern era.
Taking a closer look at the high (rounds one to three) end, there were three such picks from '09 to '12. This has never happened in the modern era. In most four-year intervals there were at least twice that many.
Next to the first draftee for each year you'll see four columns: * Total number of picks for that year. * Total number of picks for that year and the three prior years. * Total number of "high" picks for that year. * Total number of "high" picks for that year and the three prior years.
Is it fair to use NFL draft results as a proxy for talent level? I believe so, at least to some degree. This would mean that the '08 team (whose players were draft-eligible from '09 to '12) is the least talented one we've had. Interestingly (to put it mildly) low draft numbers in the mid-'80s (when viewing overall picks) and the early '90s (high picks) didn't result in poor W-L records.
Anyway, I hope Hoke's recruiting success helps reestablish UMich as an NFL factory. It hasn't been one since around the time the '04 class was exiting.
* Since the draft is currently seven rounds, I ignored all picks past that round in old drafts.
* I did not account for expansion (Bucs and Seahawks in the mid-'70s, Panthers and Jags sometime after that), so the numbers from (say) the early '70s, which are already impressive, should be considered in that light. (Being drafted in the first round with fewer teams is a rarer achievement.)
* For obvious reasons, I didn't count Ryan Mallett (a "high" pick) and Toney Clemons (7th-rounder) in the recent years. Mr. Plow, btw, was not drafted by the NFL.