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Predicting where Michigan State football prospects land in 2023 NFL Draft

The Spartans should have a few players selected.

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© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 NFL Draft is on Thursday and there are a few Michigan State football prospects who will be waiting to hear their names called.

It’s that time of year again when we speculate where our favorite Michigan State football players will be selected in the NFL draft.

A couple of years ago, the long streak of having at least one player selected in every NFL draft during the modern era was broken as Shakur Brown slipped and was picked up as an undrafted free agent.

Last year, however, the Spartans had four players drafted. Kenneth Walker III was the first one off the board in the second round to the Seahawks, Jalen Nailor went next in the sixth round to the Vikings, Connor Heyward followed him in the sixth round to the Steelers, and AJ Arcuri went in round seven to the Rams.

Mel Tucker has only coached two legit regular seasons and has had four players selected and is likely to add at least 3-4 to that total this year.

Where do I see Michigan State’s 2023 NFL Draft prospects going this weekend?

Jayden Reed, WR — Round 2

It’s been reported that a number of teams have met with Jayden Reed during the draft process such as the Lions, Jaguars, Texans, Bills, and 49ers. All of those teams could swipe Reed on Day 2 of the NFL draft which is where I see him going.

The early speculation after the season concluded was that Reed was likely headed to the middle rounds on Day 3, but after a huge Reese’s Senior Bowl and great Combine, his stock has skyrocketed.

I could see the talented receiver going to the Lions (No. 55), Jaguars (No. 56), Bills (No. 59), or the Chiefs (No. 63) in the second round. He could always slip to round three, but these are my guesses.

Bryce Baringer, P — Round 6

According to The Draft Network, the teams that really need a punter in the NFL draft or in undrafted free agency are the Rams and the Patriots.

While it’s rare to see a punter drafted, I think Baringer is the best at the position in the draft class, and I’m not alone. He’s going to get scooped up in the fifth or sixth round by one of the two teams above, but another franchise might swoop in and steal their punter of the future.

Baringer dominated at the Combine and was arguably the best punter in college football this year.

Jacob Slade, DT — Round 7

Before the season, we were talking about Jacob Slade being one of the best defensive tackles in the Big Ten and a legit All-American candidate, but he just never seemed to be healthy. He played in just eight games as a senior and recorded 20 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks. His numbers were cut in half from his breakout junior year.

One team will take a chance on him in the sixth or seventh round based on potential and his overall build as a defensive tackle. He’s tough to stay in front of and his strength sets him apart.

If he can stay healthy at the next level, he’ll be a steal.

Ben VanSumeren — Round 7

I was skeptical about Ben VanSumeren getting drafted, but the senior linebacker and Michigan transfer had a decent 2022 season followed by an all-time great Pro Day.

Some experts are saying he’s surely getting drafted on measurables alone and if that’s the case, I could see him going on Day 3 to a team like the Bears, Chargers, Raiders, or Vikings. He would be a solid fit in all of those spots and he could find his way off the practice squad and onto the active roster in 2023.

Who would’ve thought?

Undrafted free agents

Daniel Barker is a guy that comes to mind as a priority free agent after the draft and he recently had a virtual meeting with the Broncos. He has the tools to be a solid NFL tight end, but just never flashed consistency during his one year in East Lansing. Xavier Henderson is another player that I’d like to see catch on with a team and I think he could turn into a solid pro.

Other guys who should catch on somewhere after the draft are Jarek Broussard, Ameer Speed, Kendell Brooks, and Jarrett Horst.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.

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