Michigan State Spartans fans are probably happy to see the 5-7 2022 record in the rearview mirror. Nonetheless, the top Michigan State prospects are preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft — what do the scouting reports say about their nuances and potential at the next level?
Michigan State 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Ameer Speed, DB
Strengths: Large, athletic college cornerback who may ultimately move into safety. Engages receivers at the line of scrimmage and slows their release off the snap. Physical and mixes it up throughout the route. Very active and fires up the field to defend the run. Squares and wraps up tackling.
Weaknesses: Slow flipping his hips in transition and very quick out of his backpedal. Cannot burst to the ball out of his plant. Consistently finds himself a half-step behind receivers.
Overall: Speed passes the eyeball test and has next-level size as well as speed, but he’s very unpolished. His ball skills need a lot of work, yet his tenacity and willingness to defend the run, coupled with his athletic numbers, could make him a nice zone safety.
Ben VanSumeren, LB
Strengths: Athletic linebacker who watched his game take off last season. Keeps the action in front of him, quickly picks up assignments, and flows well laterally. Displays smooth, quick change-of-direction skills, covers a lot of area on the field, and chases around to make plays. Slides off blocks, shows speed moving laterally, and stays with coverage assignments. Physical, sells out, and squares into ball handlers.
Weaknesses: Has just one year of big-time production. Doesn’t play like a 230-pound linebacker and is easily blocked from the action or out-positioned from plays. Doesn’t play to his 40 time or show a great closing burst.
Overall: VanSumeren was a solid linebacker at Michigan State who really didn’t jump onto the scouting radar until late in the year. He knocked it out of the park on pro day, timing as fast as 4.38 seconds in the 40, completing 29 reps on the bench press, and touching 42.5 inches in the vertical jump. Athleticism alone will be worth signing him after the draft, but VanSumeren comes with a large upside.
Want more information on VanSumeren? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Ben VanSumeren, LB, Michigan State | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Bryce Baringer, P
Strengths: Productive two-year starter who was awarded All-American honors last season. Possesses a big leg and had 50 punts of 50+ yards in the past two seasons. Has long punts of 72, 74, and 78 yards over the past three seasons, respectively.
Quickly gets the ball off his foot. Consistently flips the field. Does an above-average job of directional punting. Large enough and strong enough to make the tackle. Never had a punt blocked in the past four years.
Weaknesses: Must improve the placement of his punts, as he was barely able to stick one-third of them inside the 20. Doesn’t get great hang time on the ball.
Overall: Baringer is a powerful punter with a big leg who can kick his team out of a jam. He must improve his hang time and learn to place the ball better, but he has starting potential on Sundays.
Chester Kimbrough, CB
Strengths: Florida transfer who keeps the action in front of him, plays heads-up football, and quickly diagnoses plays. Fires upfield to defend the run, displays an explosive closing burst, and wraps up tackling. Quick flipping his hips and works to get his head back around to track the pass in the air.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t use angles well and loses receivers. Gives up a lot of receptions. Must improve his playing balance. Coming off a disappointing campaign.
Overall: Kimbrough possesses the size and speed necessary to line up in dime packages, but he’s never developed a complete game and may make a quick exodus from camp this summer.
Daniel Barker, TE
Strengths: Illinois transfer whose always displayed himself as a terrific pass-catching tight end. Natural pass catcher who moves well around the field and plays faster than his 40 time. Adjusts to the errant throw, extends his hands, and makes the reception in stride.
Keeps the play in bounds and works to pick up positive yardage after the catch. Looks the ball into his hands. Knows where he is on the field, uses the sidelines well, and shows the ability to split the seam. Bends his knees and blocks with leverage. Has a nasty attitude and works to finish off opponents.
Weaknesses: Not a big-bodied tight end or true downfield threat. May not be able to handle complex offensive schemes.
Overall: Barker chose to return for a second senior season and transferred to Michigan State but didn’t improve his draft stock. He’s a solid pass-catching move TE who will also get consideration as an H-back and has enough skill to make the depth chart on Sundays.
Jacob Slade, DT
Strengths: Athletic line prospect who flashed ability the past two seasons. Fires off the snap with a quick first step, plays with excellent pad level, and gets leverage on opponents. Keeps his feet moving, effectively uses his hands to protect himself, and is strong for his size. Holds his ground against blocks and is tough to knock off the point. Resilient and finds ways to make plays.
Weaknesses: Lacks bulk and gets out-positioned from plays or engulfed at the point. Must develop more moves and be quicker getting off blocks. Played in just eight games last season.
Overall: Slade comes with an upside and offers potential as a backup defensive tackle, though he may ultimately get looks at offensive guard.
Jarek Broussard, RB
Strengths: Colorado transfer who is quick-footed, easily cuts back against the grain, and shows a burst. Shifty, makes defenders miss, and works runs. Keeps his feet moving and falls forward when tackled. Quickly gets into pass routes, adjusts to the throw, and displays himself as a solid pass catcher.
Weaknesses: Has watched his production steadily decrease since the 2020 season. Played a marginal role at Michigan State last season. Small and easily brought down at the point. Lacks breakaway speed.
Overall: Broussard came into the season highly regarded by scouts, yet didn’t meet expectations. His ability to create yardage carrying the ball as well as catching it out of the backfield gives him a chance to make a roster as a third-down back.
Jarrett Horst, OL
Strengths: Arkansas State transfer who spent the majority of his college career at left tackle. Sets with a wide base, bends his knees, and sinks his butt. Quickly sets up in pass protection, displays good range off the edge, and keeps his feet moving. Stays square, effectively places his hands into opponents, and knocks pass rushers from their angles of attack. Keeps his head on a swivel and works well with linemates.
Weaknesses: Lacks strength at the point. Tends to hold onto opponents for dear life. Gets pushed around.
Overall: Horst is a fundamentally sound lineman with nice length and agility. He must significantly improve his playing strength to have any chance of even making a practice squad next summer.
Jayden Reed, WR
Strengths: Productive go-to receiver whose draft stock is rising. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, quickly gets in and out of breaks, and comes back to the ball. Displays quickness in his all-around game, shows impressive focus and concentration, and comes away with the difficult over-the-shoulder reception in battles.
Fluid, natural, and plays with balance as well as body control. Easily adjusts to the errant throw, displays strong hands, and snatches the ball out of the air. Follows blocks after the catch, picks up positive yardage, and helps out as a return specialist. Works well with the quarterback and consistently finds the open spot in the defense.
Weaknesses: Not a strong or stout receiver and struggles in battles. Unnecessarily lets the pass get inside him on occasion or secures the ball against his frame. Marginal downfield blocker.
Overall: Reed put together three productive seasons for Michigan State, then went to the Senior Bowl and had two exceptional days of practice. He’s a versatile wideout who can line up on the outside or in the slot, and his ability to separate through route running is impressive. Reed can also double as a return specialist, which will make him very appealing during the draft’s second day.
Want more information on Reed? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Matt Carrick, G
Strengths: Large, powerful small-area blocker. Stays square, blocks with good lean, and anchors at the point. Fires off the snap, turns defenders from the line, and gets movement run blocking. Keeps his head on a swivel and hits as many defenders as possible every snap. Keeps his feet moving, works his hands throughout the action, and displays outstanding blocking vision.
Weaknesses: Heavy-footed and lacks agility. Minimally effective blocking in motion and on the second level.
Overall: Carrick is a wide-bodied blocker who shows great power in his game, but he has limited athleticism, agility, and upside.
Xavier Henderson, S
Strengths: Tough, instinctive safety who effectively quarterbacks the secondary, gets his teammates in proper position, and plays heads-up football. Quickly diagnoses plays, immediately picks up coverage assignments, and works hard. Fires upfield and sells out to defend the run. Works with cornerbacks to bracket receivers.
Weaknesses: Slow, lacks a burst, and can’t keep up with opponents. Stiff pedaling in reverse.
Overall: Henderson was a productive safety for Michigan State, but he comes with limited athleticism and upside. His instincts and toughness could help him find a roster spot as a fourth safety and special-teams player.
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