The Spartans of Michigan State seem eternally damned to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team.  The program had just a single player selected in each of the past two drafts.  That should change in 2011.

On offense we are concentrating on a trio of senior prospects starting with receiver Mark Dell, which will likely comes as a surprise to many.

Dell comes off a junior campaign which was plagued with injury poor play.  He tended to round off routes and drop too many passes in ’09.  That was in stark contrast to the 2008 season when he looked like a big play receiver that took over games.  Dell is a fringe prospect at this time, which is reflected in our ranking.  If he reverts to ’08 form he could move into the middle rounds.  If he has a repeat performance of last season he won’t be drafted.

Several in the scouting community like tight end Charlie Gantt, though we are not of the same opinion.  Gantt is a high effort player yet a pass catcher that is not going to get downfield with consistency nor a blocker who displays any domination at the point of attack.  His attitude and approach could help him catch on as a third tight end.

Finally tackle DJ Young is an intriguing prospect.  The lineman displays a good amount of quickness in his game and moves well on his feet.  He’s a bender who gets leverage on opponents and looks solid in pass protection.  Marginally strong at the point, he over extends and lacks overall blocking balance yet Young looks to us

like he’s a solid developmental prospect.

Middle linebacker Greg Jones is highly rated by many and though we like the senior, we also have our concerns.  Jones shows a terrific nose for the ball, good instincts and plays aggressive yet disciplined football. He breaks down well and effectively uses his hands to protect himself.  He’s also effective in coverage, displaying good footwork and movement skills in every direction.  Jones’ marginal size is a concern and leads us to believe he’ll be selected later in the draft than most people think.  We also feel the college middle linebacker will get consideration at outside linebacker by NFL teams.

Jones linebacker teammate, Eric Gordon, is somewhat underrated in our opinion.  He also displays himself as a three down defender and really stands out in coverage with his ability to get depth on drops and easily move about the field.  He’s not a tackling machine like Jones yet still a legitimate prospect for the next level.

Michigan State Pro-Prospects
Round Full Name Pos Number Year
5th Greg Jones ILB 53 4Sr
6-7 Eric Gordon OLB 43 5Sr
6th Mark Dell WR 2 5Sr
FA Charlie Gantt TE 83 5Sr
FA DJ Young T 59 5Sr
FA B.J. Cunningham WR 3 4Jr
FA Chris L. Rucker CB 16 4Sr
FA Marcus Hyde S 11 5Sr
FA Kirk Cousins QB 8 4Jr
FA Joel Foreman G 67 4Jr

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