Big 10

NFL Draft good for Spartans, as five drafted, 10 more sign as free agents

May 3, 2016

Of the 253 total players drafted over the weekend in the annual NFL Draft, MSU had five players going to four different NFL teams.

The highest of the bunch was offensive lineman Jack Conklin, after going in the top 10 during Day 1 of the draft Thursday night.

In a surprising fall, quarterback Connor Cook went in the fourth round of the draft. Cook is headed to the Oakland Raiders after going No. 100 overall.

Cook will be going to Oakland after winning many accolades representing the Spartans. The 2015 Big Ten quarterback of the year will also be joined by former teammate Shilique Calhoun. Calhoun went in Day 2 of the draft to the Raiders in the third round, going No. 75.

One thing of note for Calhoun is the position the Raiders drafted him as. On his draft card, the position line has “LB”, or linebacker. In college, the three-time All-American primarily played defensive end, as evidenced by his 2013 Big Ten defensive lineman of the year award.

Along with Cook, two other Spartans were taken sometime during Day 3 of the draft. Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge and offensive lineman Donovan Clark were the two others. Burbridge is headed to the San Francisco 49ers, going in the sixth round No. 213 overall. Clark went in the final round, the seventh, being the No. 224 pick to the San Diego Chargers.

Burbridge was the 2015 Big Ten receiver of the year after leading the conference in reception and receiving yards. Clark, on the other hand, was named third-team All-Big Ten his senior season by the coaches.

Two notable Spartans who did not get drafted were captains offensive lineman Jack Allen and linebacker Darien Harris. Allen was an All-American center playing for MSU. Harris was named one of the strongest players in college football.

Right after the draft, however, Harris tweeted that he is headed to the Cincinnati Bengals to continue his football career.

While players do not get drafted, former MSU players still have a chance to play in the league. They will have the opportunity to sign contracts as an un-drafted free agent, like Harris announced. Or they can go to Canada to play in the Canadian Football League, or the CFL. There are many routes and chances players can take if they want to continue their football careers.

Here are the five Spartans who were taken in the 2016 NFL Draft:

  1. Jack Conklin, Round 1, No. 8, Tennessee Titans
  2. Shilique Calhoun, Round 3, No. 75, Oakland Raiders
  3. Connor Cook, Round 4, No. 100, Oakland Raiders
  4. Aaron Burbridge, Round 6, No. 213, San Francisco 49ers
  5. Donovan Clark, Round 7, No. 224, San Diego Chargers

Here are the undrafted Spartans who have found a team and will go through mini-camp hoping to gain a roster spot:

  1. Darien Harris, Cincinnati Bengals
  2. Lawrence Thomas, New York Jets
  3. Jack Allen, New Orleans Saints
  4. Joel Heath, Houston Texans
  5. Arjen Colquhoun, Dallas Cowboys
  6. DeAnthony Arnett, Seattle Seahawks
  7. Trevon Pendelton, Baltimore Ravens
  8. A.J. Troup, Kansas City Chiefs’
  9. R.J. Williamson, Green Bay Packers
  10. Taybor Pepper, Baltimore Ravens

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