EAST LANSING – In the last two years, Michigan State's first player selected in the NFL Draft was a cornerback who left early.
It's a trend that could continue in 2021.
Shakur Brown helped Antjuan Simmons anchor the Spartan defense last season with seven starts (five at corner, two at nickelback).
The three-year letterwinner played in 26 contests featuring 54 tackles, two sacks, seven interceptions, and nine pass break-ups.
"I've grown so much as a player and as a person during my time at Michigan State. The lessons I've learned, both on and off the field, have built a solid foundation for success and will stay with me for the rest of my life," Brown wrote on Dec. 14 after declaring for the draft. "They say it takes a village to raise a young man, and there are so many people whom I would like to thank special people who've played an instrumental part on my journey. Thank you to Coach Dantonio for offering me the opportunity to play for his fine institution. Thank you to Coach Tucker for the support you've shown me over the last year."
But how does his game translate to the next level? Today, Spartan Nation has brought in college football analyst Jim Mora Jr. to help evaluate Brown's draft stock.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back has a small sample size, but fans saw a versatile and productive corner when he did play.
"He (Brown) could play man, he could play zone, he could play man from bump and run … he's got excellent ball skills," Mora Jr. said. "He had five interceptions which is really a good number for the type of year that we had. And I think he's a feisty cover corner; he likes to mix it up."
The former NFL head coach believes Brown will be selected in the mid-to-late rounds, and if scouts "do their due diligence, find some practice tape, watch some one-on-one drills, watch his footwork; I think they are going to be really impressed."
However, there is one thing he needs to work on.
"Maybe the biggest concern, and he can dispel this concern by running well at a pro day, is his speed – his top-end speed," said Mora Jr. "But I think he's a mid-round guy; I think people value corners like him. And I think he's going to play in the league and be an eventual starter."
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