News and Notes and Quotes from Michigan State Football Pro Day!

Hondo S. Carpenter

MSU Football Pro Day Notes!

You want to know who helped themselves the most  at MSU's  pro day?  I talked with several scouts and almost all of them answered my question with the same two names.

1)     Brett Swenson:  Spartan fans remember Swenson as the amazingly accurate kicker who was brought in by John L. Smith, and started as a true freshman. He played his last three years kicking for Mark Dantonio. Swenson remains the all-time career leader in points scored for the Spartans with 377. Swenson joined the Indianapolis Colts in 2010 after graduating from MSU as an unrestricted free agent. He was the #1 kicker in the 2010 draft, but no kickers were picked. Swenson got badly injured, was placed on injured reserve and finally was released. To his credit he was worked very hard recovering and is now in the best shape of his life and finally healthy. Mark Dantonio tells players the MSU is home and when Swenson asked if he could show up at MSU pro day Dantonio was quick to oblige. Swenson kicked 20 field goals and made 19 of them right down the middle. His most impressive was a 60 yarder that according to one NFL representative, “That Mother F***** would have been good from 70.” His booming leg and accuracy according to one AFC scout, “Was a cannon.” One NFC team rep said, “We came to kick the tires on a RB, but we may have found a kicker prospect.” On top of being a great kicker, Swenson is an amazing young man off the field. He has the leg and the talent no doubt. Here is what he is battling. There are only 32 K jobs in the NFL. There may be 40 people in America who are true NFL quality K, so getting one of those elusive jobs is hard. One advantage he does have is that with a tight salary cap and guaranteed money that comes with certain amounts of veteran experience in the NFL, some teams are looking to move older kickers. He had a great day. I talked with Swenson about his performance and he said, “It is great to finally be healthy and he able to do what I can. It just feels great.” Swenson is a better K right now than when he left MSU. That is good news for him. He is going to join me on Spartan Nation Radio next week to talk about his journey back. Don’t miss it.

2)     Chris MAGNUS McDonald:  Magnus has the body.  Does he have the strength?  Were his technique struggles related to learning or strength? When he put up 31 reps at 225 he settled that. I am not implying it moved him in to the first four or even five rounds. What it did do was settle the strength questions and the amount of games he played makes it clear that he is durable. If nothing else he secured a shot, but now at least gets on the radar as a late round pick. One AFC team rep said it best, “He gets back on our board.” Another said, “We liked his 40 (4.92 according to what this scout clocked) and his bench (31 reps) and I think he has the ability to maybe even slide more inside.” A reference to Magnus possibly playing center.

The other participants did nothing to hurt themselves, but also did little to nothing to help themselves on the field.Â

Off the field I know that Dion Sims had a good day. Several teams got to talk to him, MSU officials and his family to get a grasp of the kind of person he is. Dion had some off field issues that were more related to trusting people.  They are people that a young man in Dion's position should be able to trust.  They let him down.  He is a great kid. I know of two teams that left yesterday feeling really good about Sims.Â

At the combine when Sims talked to teams about his off field issue he didn’t hide anything. He didn’t hold back and that earned him a lot of points in the trust department. One team’s director of college scouting told me about Sims at the combine, “We know the answer to everything we are going to ask when we meet with a kid. We want to know if they are going to man up or try to gloss over things. As soon as we started to ask Dion he went there and left nothing out. I was impressed.”

Sims is a beast when he wants to be. In the NFL he won’t be asked to block as often as he was in college and that favors him. When he is asked to get down and physical and block will he? His track record for motivation when it came to blocking while at MSU wasn’t great. When he wanted to he owned people. When he didn’t the MSU running game was terrible. Based on the MSU run game last year, I think you have your answer on how motivated he was every down to block.

Sims also dropped a lot of weight from his “LISTED” weight at MSU of 285. He weighed in at 262 yesterday. One scout said, “If he was that high at MSU, but can drop down nearly 30 pounds to impress us, why wasn’t he down there for his season? You put money in his pocket will he balloon or stay motivated?”

The biggest question mark you hear about Will Gholston is flexibility and consistency. He had great bowl games at MSU and did well against Michigan, but he was not a dominant every game player. One scout said, “I want to get in and find out why he could do it against Georgia, but not some other teams who had players that couldn’t make a club team at Georgia.” Another said, “He is athletic, but he don’t look so flexible.” One scout summed up what scares his team most about Will. “When you turn on film there was maybe two or three teams all year where he faced a guy on the offense who should have had a chance against him physically. In most of those games he did well. So why not every game? I am used to seeing guys who dominate lesser teams and you have to question them against competition. He is different so that makes us at least question his love for the game or maybe his love of preparing to play the game. I don’t know the answer. That is why I am here.”

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