No Michigan State football players were drafted this week. The last time the Spartans had zero players selected in the NFL Draft was in 1940.
The Spartans held one of the longest runs in college football history, behind USC and Michigan, which boast 83-year active streaks with at least one player drafted.
Two Spartans defensive players were expected to be late-round selections but didn’t get the call. Instead, defensive back Shakur Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) and defensive tackle Naquan Jones (Tennessee Titans) signed as free agents after the draft.
Brown was the more notable prospect, totaling seven interceptions, nine pass break-ups, 54 tackles and two sacks in his Spartan career. He ranked eighth in MSU history with 186 interception return yards. Jones wasn’t a starter last season, but he finished his career with 78 tackles, including 12.5 for losses, and three sacks.
MSU’s NFL draft streak came to an end on the heels of the retirement of head coach Mark Dantonio after the 2019 season. Dantonio left with a 114-57 record through 13 decorated seasons. He is the winningest coach in Michigan State history.
"I have told our players on many occasions that 'Michigan State is bigger than any one person,’” Dantonio said in his farewell news conference. “Someday there will be someone else here talking to you from this podium.'”
That day came when Mel Tucker took over in February 2020, two months before two Spartans were taken in the 2020 draft, the final year of the streak. In his first year at the helm, over two dozen players entered the transfer portal and the Spartans went 2-5 in a season plagued by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tucker has a new class of his own recruits that includes about 15 transfers from the portal. He enters what figures to be his first full season of games to get the Spartans back to their winning ways – and to start a new streak of drafts with the names of Spartans being called.