Some Spartans to watch in the draft

Hey everyone.

As a proud Michigan State Spartan Alumnus, I'm always watching the Green and White in hopes that one of them will join the Steelers or the Lions one day. With that in mind, I thought I'd give a little break from all the playoff talk and break down the Spartans I think could become Steelers this year.

Kirk Cousins, QB 6’3” 205lbs Round 2-3

Captain Kirk. Without a doubt the best QB to ever grace the green and white. A three year starter, Cousins is also the only three year captain in school history. His intangibles are unmatched in this class – despite barely being recruited and given no shot, Kirk battled his way onto the depth chart and beat out numerous others to become the starter, an All-American, and take MSU to a Big Ten Title, one penalty away from another Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl, and a place in the history books. He’s a proven winner with five – read them, five years in a pro-style offense. He’s highly efficient, accurate, and composed. He’s not a first rounder because of his bulk (he’s got a little room to put on weight, but not much) and his tendency to throw off his back foot when scrambling. Given his outstanding work ethic, I’m sure it can be coached out of him. I’ve read a few places that teams are concerned about his arm strength – while he’s not Matt Stafford of even Ben, I’d say his arm strength is fine. He can push the ball down the field and make all the throws – his arm is probably similar to a Matt Ryan/Andy Dalton. He can scramble too – he’s got decent foot speed and I’ve seen pick up a thirty yard run without too much trouble. He’s smart and composed – there’s undoubtedly a little bit of homer here, but with Barkley returning I think he’s the third or fourth best QB in this class.

Kirk is an unlikely target for the Steelers – we probably don’t draft a QB in the second or third. If we do, however, I hope it’s Kirk. Batch is almost out, I have no faith in Dixon anymore, and Byron is always hurt. Considering that Ben is still taking a ton of sacks and always seems to have a nagging injury, I think an investment in a solid QB could be worth it – especially for a guy with real starter potential. Also, he’d probably be made a Captain despite riding the bench behind the big guy in about year three.

B.J. Cunningham, WR 6’2” 215lbs Round 3-5

Cunningham is a solid possession receiver – he’s the most productive receiver in MSU’s history (posting 211 receptions, 3020 yards, and 24 touchdowns) as well as having an amazing statistical year this year (72 catches, 1240 yards, and 12 tds), and it’s all because he’s a high effort guy. Great hands and leaping ability, which is something we could use in our receiver core. There are some concerns about him getting separation in the NFL, but he’s faster than he looks. As I mentioned, he’s does a good job of trapping the ball and has solid, though not spectacular route running – this is obviously something that can be improved. He’d be great at the flanker position for us when we’re in 3 receiver sets – I’d like to have a bigger body on the field, and his skill set reminds me of a larger Hines Ward. With him and Wallace out wide and Antonio Brown in the slot, we’d have a great mix of talents and skills for defenses to contend with, as well as another red zone target.

Trenton Robinson, FS 5’10” 195lbs Round 3-5

Robinson is a leader and a high character guy in addition to being a talented player. Honestly, the only reason he’s so low on draft boards, I think, is because he goes to MSU, which is only now starting to get some national attention thanks to some excellent seasons recently. A big part of MSU’s outstanding defense is Robinson. While a slightly smaller guy, Robinson does it all. There isn’t really one part of his game that stands out as dominant, he’s just good all around. A solid form tackler, especially for a safety as well as being talented in coverage and capable of coming up with interceptions and big plays – he posted 71 tackles in 2010 and 70 in 2011, with four interceptions each year. Highly consistent and always in the right place, he’d be a great replacement for Ryan Clark, especially coming from the middle rounds. If we go after a mid-round safety, it should be Robinson.

Joel Foreman, LG, 6’4” 315lbs, Rounds 5-7

I know Joel personally – that is to say, we’ve met a few times because I used to work as a RA with his girlfriend-turned-fiancee. Behind a crushing handshake is one of the leaders of the MSU program. A four-year starter at guard, Foreman is considered by most to be the best guard in the school’s history. A total class act and a captain, Foreman gave up his record-starts streak to allow Arthur Ray, Jr. to start a game after he overcame cancer in his femur when every doctor told him he wouldn’t be able to walk. Foreman is a great technician who is this low because he’s had a few injuries in the past (I don’t think he’s going to be a problem in the future) and the fact that he’s probably at his physical peak. He’s not really a mauler, but a solid blocker in both pass protection and run protection and a smart player as well – he won’t be piling up the penalties like Kemoeatu. He reminds me of Legursky a little bit except I think Foreman would develop a little farther than Legs could.

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