There will be 11 former Bulldogs in the NFL draft, only 5 or 6 will likely be chosen to play for pro teams. I'm no draft expert but after watching the combine, MSU's pro day, and doing some research, here's my best guess as to where each player could end up at the conclusion of the draft:
Benardrick McKinney, ILB: 2nd round, 59th overall to the Denver Broncos:
Benardrick McKinney is the highest-rated prospect that MSU has in the draft. He was a first team All-SEC linebacker and led the team in tackles in 2013 and 2014. The Broncos have had a weakness at the linebacker position for a while and with a new coach coming in for 2015, Denver is implementing a 3-4 scheme and could really use the help at the position. McKinney is considered one of the top 3 linebackers in the draft and could step in and make an immediate impact in his rookie season.
Josh Robinson, RB: 3rd round, 97th overall to the New England Patriots:
Josh "Bowling Ball" Robinson was a monster all year for MSU. I think we all remember this incredible run against Kentucky:
He made tons of other explosive plays and will make an excellent NFL running back because of his strength and total refusal to be brought down. He can also block and catch passes effectively and he's even been compared to Marshawn Lynch. Robinson has flown under the radar for the most part but he met with the New England Patriots on February 19th and would be a great fit on the roster of the 2015 Super Bowl champions. Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are both headed for free agency and Robinson could add nice depth at the running back position for the Pats playing behind LaGarrette Blount. I see Robinson as a big sleeper in the draft and whatever team ends up taking him will be getting a gem.
Preston Smith, DE: 1st round, 31st overall pick to the New Orleans Saints:
Preston Smith had a surprisingly solid season with 48 total tackles, 9 sacks, and 15 tackles for loss. He was impressive in the combine and at MSU's pro day and has supplanted himself as one of the top 5 choices at defensive end in the draft. The New Orleans Saints need pass rushers and they have two picks in the first round, 13th and 31st. Smith could provide a quality option for New Orleans and bolster the depth of their weak defensive line. It seems that Smith is the MSU player most likely to be taken in the 1st round, despite Benardrick McKinney perhaps being a more dynamic player. If the Saints get to their second pick in the 1st round and still need a DE, Smith could very well be playing in New Orleans this season.
Predictions for Bulldogs likely to be taken in later rounds:
Justin Cox, CB: 5th round, 138th overall pick to the Tennessee Titans/140th overall pick to the Oakland Raiders
Kaleb Eulls, DT: 5th-6th round, 149th overall pick to the Miami Dolphins/186th overall pick to the New York Giants
Ben Beckwith, OG: 6th round, 180th overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars/203rd overall pick to the Denver Broncos/Undrafted
The NFL draft begins Thursday, April 30th. We will have live updates here as MSU players are chosen.