Apr 23, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: A look at this and past year's classes from Michigan State

By Adam Biggers

The Michigan State Spartans have put forth a solid class entering Thursday's 2012 NFL Draft.

Most notable is quarterback Kirk Cousins, who owns nearly every quarterback-related at Michigan State. Of course, Jerel Worthy could be the first taken, but don't forget about talented receivers like Keith Nichol, Keshawn Martin and B.J. Cunningham, along with tight ends Garrett Celek and Brian Linthicum.

Running back Edwin Baker declared early, and safety Trenton Robinson could be a late-rounder, further adding to a solid group which could see at least four drafted by a pro team.

As the Spartans continue their climb up the NCAA football ranks, surely, there will be more players considered for the draft. Since 2008, Michigan State hasn't had more than three athletes taken in a single year.

Since this year's class seems to be the deepest, it's only logical to take a look back at some of the sturdiest classes in recent history while also highlighting some of the better players in memory.

The 2005 class was arguably one of Michigan State's best of the decade, at least in terms of sheer numbers. Four players were selected that year: running back Deandra Cobb was taken in the sixth round by the Atlanta Falcons, while kicker Dave Rayner was taken the same round by the Indianapolis Colts.

The Miami Dolphins selected defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson in the seventh round, and the Green Bay Packers took guard William Whittaker later in the seventh.

Other noteworthy draftees include Javon Ringer, who was taken by the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. Ringer still sees back-up duties behind Chris Johnson.

[Follow this link to see every NCAA school's draft history. Programs are listed in alphabetical order.]

Devin Thomas was a part of the New York Giants' Super Bowl XLVI team this season and has had a productive NFL career. He was one of the Spartans' most exciting receivers -- a great threat in open space with a set of incredible hands. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Other than Thomas, Drew Stanton has been Michigan State's earliest player taken in recent years. Thomas was the third pick of the second round in 2008, while Stanton, who now plays for the Indianapolis Colts, was the 11th player taken in the second round of the 2007 draft.

Stanton -- one of Michigan State's elite -- was drafted by the hometown Detroit Lions and made his way to the New York Jets. But he then asked to be moved to Indianapolis after Tim Tebow bumped him out the No. 2 role behind Mark Sanchez.

Check back for more Spartans-related NFL Draft notes and analysis throughout the week.

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