Michigan State football's NFL draft streak ends after 80 years

Chris Solari
Detroit Free Press
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Michigan State football’s most impressive streak is over.

The Spartans did not have a player selected in the NFL draft, ending an 80-year run that was third-longest in college football history.

Only Michigan and USC (83 years) had a longer streak, and both extended it during the three-day, seven-round draft. The last time Michigan State did not have at least one player selected in the NFL draft was 1940, and 1938 was the only other year since the draft began in 1936 that a Spartan was not selected.

Michigan State also had been one of four schools that had at least one player selected since the NFL-AFL merger formed the common draft in 1967. Michigan, USC and Florida all extended their streaks.

MSU’s best prospect for this year’s draft, cornerback Shakur Brown, went undrafted despite rising to the top of ESPN’s best available board late in the sixth round. Moments after the draft ended, he agreed to an undrafted free-agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown led the Spartans and finished among the Big Ten and national leaders with five interceptions in 2020. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder from Stockbridge, Georgia, made 25 tackles with four pass breakups. He earned second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation and made the coaches' All-Big Ten first team and the media's second team, opting to bypass his senior season to enter the draft a year early.

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Michigan State holds the spring football game on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

Defensive tackle Naquan Jones and linebacker Antjuan Simmons also did not get selected. All were recruited by Mark Dantonio, the Spartans’ all-time winningest coach who retired in February 2020.

MSU had two players picked in 2020: cornerback Josiah Scott (fourth round, Jacksonville) and defensive end Kenny Willekes (seventh round, Minnesota).

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

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