Countdown to College Football Kickoff: Top NFL prospects at Michigan State
College football is scheduled to return Saturday, August 29. Each day until then, NFLDraftScout.com will be evaluating the rosters of the best teams in college football, including all 64 within the Power Five conferences.
Head Coach: Mel Tucker (first season, previously at Colorado)
2019 Record: 7-6 (under retired head coach Mark Dantonio
2020 NFL Draft Picks: Josiah Scott, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars – 4th Round, No. 137 overall
Kenny Willekes, DE, Minnesota Vikings – 7th Round, No. 225 overall
Though some have questioned the timing of his retirement given a lawsuit involving a former Michigan State employee and recruiting violations, Mark Dantonio left in the offseason as the winningest head coach in Spartans’ history, securing 114 victories in 13 seasons.
His tenure was highlighted by a 13-1 campaign in 2013 in which the team finished as Rose Bowl champions and the AP’s No. 3-rated team.
Six of the past 10 seasons Michigan State finished with double-digit victories. Unfortunately for the Spartans’ faithful, that only occurred one since 2016 with the team finishing a very mediocre (by their standards) 7-6 the past two consecutive seasons, though fitfully Dantonio did go out on a winning note with the Spartans beating Wake Forest 27-21 in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Dantonio’s decision to retire comes as the Spartans are facing a change at quarterback with Brian Lewerke moving on. Finding a suitable replacement will be one of the top priorities for incoming head coach Mel Tucker, a defensive-oriented coach like Dantonio, who comes to Michigan State after just one season leading the Colorado Buffaloes, albeit following nearly a decade in the NFL and SEC (Alabama, Georgia).
While the Spartans face major decisions among the skill positions, Tucker’s job is made easier with a solid supporting cast already in place, especially along the offensive line, where one of the nation’s most experienced units returns.
Featured 2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Jordan Reid, OT, 6-4, 300, 5.0, SR
Reid enters his senior campaign with 26 consecutive starts at right tackle already under his belt after signing with the Spartans as the top-rated prep guard in the talent-rich state back in 2017.
It didn’t take Reid long to get onto the field, seeing action in all 13 games as a true freshman and starting against Rutgers.
As a demonstration of his own consistency (as well as the turnover happening around him), Reid was the only Spartan to start all 13 games at the same position in 2018, being named the team’s Outstanding Underclass Lineman of the Year for offense at the conclusion of the season, a title he successfully defended in 2019.
By today’s behemoth standards, Reid is slightly undersized for some but he is a quality athlete with good balance, agility and proven durability.
Strengths: Reid has a broad-shouldered, tapered frame with long arms, light feet and good core flexibility. Reid’s athleticism is his calling card. He possesses very good initial quickness and agility for a 300 pounder, dancing off the line of scrimmage. His light feet allow him to mirror edge rushers effectively in pass protection, as well as sneak downfield in the running game.
Reid’s experience shows up in both areas, as he’s quick to recognize switch-offs and shows good balance in adjusting to moving targets.
He is more agile than animal at the point of attack, neutralizing opponents rather than physically pulverizing them. This strategy may not result in as many highlight-reel worthy blocks, but Reid’s ability to keep his feet can help neutralize more than one defender on a single snap at times…
Put in another way, while some will wish that he brought more nastiness, scouts will appreciate his ease of movement, understanding of angles and consistency. Further, while rarely a punisher, Reid is no lightweight. Opponents who try bull-rushing can find themselves running into a brick wall…
Weaknesses: Looks more like a modern-day tight end than an offensive tackle, especially for the right side – the only position he’s played at MSU. Will be too much finesse for some… Reliant upon his initial quickness and balance to pester opponents and is not a punisher who will consistently push the pile, despite plenty of effort. Despite his experience, Reid shows some technical lapses, including twisting his body to seal off defenders rather than forcibly moving them. Negates his own strength by playing too tall, losing the leverage battle.
Almost too quick off the snap for his own good, anticipating the hike of the ball and jumping before it actually moves on occasion. Too quick to pass off blocks on occasion, failing to finish the first and only getting a stiff shove on the second with neither opponent truly eliminated from the play.
NFL Player Comparison: Jamarco Jones, Seattle Seahawks – Despite starting 27 games at left tackle and earning First Team All-Big Ten honors for the Buckeyes in 2018, Jones’ ‘tweener-frame pushed him all the way into the fifth round, where Seattle nabbed him at 168 overall in 2018. He’s earned starts at left tackle and left guard for the Seahawks since, demonstrating the same agility, balance and consistency scouts will like about Reid.
Current NFL Draft Projection: Third-Fourth Round
The Top 10 NFL Prospects at Michigan State:
1. Jordan Reid, OT, 6-4, 300, 5.0, SR
2. Naquan Jones, DT, 6-3, 339, 5.20, rSr
3. Xavier Henderson, S, 6-0, 207, 4.55, JR
4. AJ Arcuri, OT, 6-6, 296, 5.15, rSR
5. Matt Allen, C, 6-2, 312, 5.20, SR
6. Elijah Collins, RB, 6-0, 220, 4.60, rSoph
7. Matt Dotson, TE, 6-5, 252, 4.75, SR
8. Antjuan Simmons, OLB, 6-0, 225, 4.65, SR
9. Shakur Brown, CB, 5-11, 180, 4.50, rJR
10. Matt Coghlin, K, 5-09, 200, 5.0, SR
*All 40-yard dash times are estimates