It took a little longer than expected, but Mississippi State finally made a showing in the 2010 NFL Draft. Two Bulldog seniors were taken in the 6th and 7th rounds of the draft. After the draft was over, 3 more seniors were signed as free agents. Here is how it all went down.
Early last week, most of the mock drafts had Anthony Dixon going no later than the 3rd or 4th round. It also looked like he was going to get picked up by the San Diego Chargers. Instead, Dixon was taken in the 6th round (173rd overall) by the San Francisco 49ers. There, he will be used most likely as a relief back for Frank Gore, but also has a chance to replace an unimpressive Glen Coffee as the #2 back.
Here is what 49ers head coach Mike Singletary had to say about Dixon:
The 6-foot-0, 233-pound bruising running back, who led the SEC in rushing last season, provides a power option that Singletary coveted heading into the draft.
"I’m very excited to get him where we got him," Singletary said. "He’s a big back. He’s a guy that’s got great feet, great quickness. [Offensive coordinator] Jimmy [Raye] cannot wait to get his hands on him. When you’re trying to close out a game, that’s the kind of guy you want in the fourth quarter."
Not long after Dixon was taken, fellow senior Jamar Chaney was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles as the 20th pick in the 7th round (220th overall). This was later than expected for Chaney as well. He was one of the top performing linebackers in the combine.
Chaney is the first linebacker drafted from Mississippi State since Mario Haggan (2003, Buffalo). He finished the season with a team-high of 90 tackles as a fifth-year senior. He was granted a medical redshirt in 2008 after suffering a broken leg in the season opener againse Louisiana Tech.
According to the Eagles official site, Philadelphia actually traded a 6th round pick next year for the opportunity to draft Chaney. The official Eagles website talks about Jamar as part of their draft class breakdown.
They like him a lot. He hopefully can play all three linebacker spots, but the Eagles will probably look at him in the middle initially. That is a direct challenge to Joe Mays as the Eagles want to make sure they solidify the position behind Stewart Bradley.
Cheney is an active, aggressive, physical player. The team had him graded far higher than a seventh-round draft pick. Now he has a chance to prove how good he is at a position that has been too unsettled the last few seasons.
As soon as the draft was over, NFL teams started grabbing for players that were available as free agents. Three former Bulldogs were taken as free agents today: Brandon McRae, Kyle Love, and Christian Ducre.
STLToday.com's Rams Report blog announced that the Rams has signed wide receiver Brandon McRae as a free agent. McRae had taken a pre-draft visit to the Rams.
McRae caught 51 passes for 518 yards in 2008 as a junior, but suffered a late-season broken leg. He caught only 14 passes for 116 yards in 2009. McRae has excellent size at 6-4, 205. In a visit that was previously unreported, McRae paid a pre-draft visit to Rams Park.
Buried in a Boston Globe article about the addition of Gerard Warren was the news that defensive tackle Kyle Love was signed as a free agent by the New England Patriots. Love played in 44 games for the Bulldogs and recorded 34 solo tackles and 3 solo sacks.
Finally, news came late Sunday afternoon that running back Christian Ducre had signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. Ducre is a Louisiana native and started his college career at Tulane. He was allowed to transfer without sitting out a year after Tulane discontinued his major. Over his career at Mississippi State, he was a dual threat back with the ability to also move out to the receiver slot. He finished his career with 972 rushing yards and 346 receiving yards.