The Greatest Spartans to Ever Play in the NFL
Spartan Rick Gosselin, a pro football expert has put together his list of the all-time Michigan State NFL team.
From 1969 until 1972, he walked the streets of East Lansing just like any other student until his career took off. Now, he's an absolute legend within NFL circles.
The bottom line is when Gosselin writes a story; you pay attention. And when he writes a story about Michigan State, we pay even closer attention.
So how does his list stack up? Did Gosselin get it right? All the usual suspects are here. But parts of his team may be interchangeable.
Fred Arbanas was voted to the 1960s AFL all-decade team, so it's understandable to see him in the starting lineup. However, Billy Joe Dupree has to be mentioned. In 1972, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and spent a decade with the team. At one point, he held the Cowboys' record for most receiving touchdowns by a tight end with 41. Jason Witten would go on to break the record in 2012.
Gosselin's starting offensive line features Flozell Adams, Norm Masters, Joe DeLamielleure, Ed Budde, and Rich Saul. Although these guys aren't ready to take anyone's spot yet, we think Brian Allen and Jack Conklin are great honorable mentions here.
Allen is one of the best linemen to ever come out of Michigan State. He played in 13 games with the L.A. Rams as a rookie and helped propel them to a Super Bowl appearance. Conklin went from walk-on to All-American and now starts at right tackle for the Tennessee Titans.
Gosselin called the Spartans "Wide Receiver U" and had a long list of names to look over. He ultimately went with Muhsin Muhammad, the 2000 NFL receiving champion and Andre Rison, who finished his career with 10,205 receiving yards.
His other options featured Derrick Mason, Plaxico Burress, Gary Ballman, Gene Washington, Dorne Dibble, and Daryl Turner, who led the NFL in touchdown receptions during 1985.
All of them have the potential to be listed as starters on the all-time Spartan NFL team. There's so much talent amongst them. Although, Turner has the potential to replace one of the starters with an impressive 36 touchdowns in four seasons.
The last position group we're interested in are the linebackers. George Webster, Brad Van Pelt, and Carl Banks are all on the team and rightfully so.
Webster was voted to the 1960s AFL all-decade team. Banks is on the 1980s NFL all-decade team, and Van Pelt was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor.
Even so, we would be remiss to leave out Julian Peterson. He was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in the year 2000.
He finished with five Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro twice during his 11-year career. If anyone can replace one of those guys, it's him.
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