Michigan State Spartans' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

Written by:
February 24, 2022
Doug Pensinger // Getty Images

Michigan State Spartans' highest NFL draft picks since 1970

While most colleges and universities field a football team as part of its general athletics program, there are some for which football is more than merely a sport—it’s akin almost to a religion. Devotion to the team and its colors is as important to that school’s culture as a religious icon is to a believer. These programs actively scout and recruit notable high school players, and are in turn rigorously applied to by matriculating seniors eager to make a name for themselves at the collegiate level.

Among the most notable college football empires are Notre Dame, the universities of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, Penn State, Ohio State—the list goes on and on.

But for every touchstone football school, there is an outlier that has produced some of the most successful and cherished players in the game. Think Jackson State, which gave us “Sweetness” himself, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. Or Mississippi Valley State, which yielded 3-time Super Bowl champion and #1 Player in NFL History, as voted by the NFL Network, ‘49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Each year, the college draft serves as a source of renewal to professional football and a testament to the quality of college programs nationwide. With the 2022 NFL draft set to take place April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks from the Michigan State Spartans using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Mark Ingram (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1987
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Larry Bethea (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #28 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#18. Joe DeLamielleure (G)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #26 overall in 1973
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (6 Pro Bowls)

#17. Darqueze Dennard (DB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #24 overall in 2014
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Andre Rison (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Indianapolis Colts
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (5 Pro Bowls)

#15. Rob Fredrickson (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 1994
- Drafted by: Los Angeles Raiders
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. Mike Cobb (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 1977
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Lorenzo White (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #22 overall in 1988
- Drafted by: Houston Texans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (1 Pro Bowls)

#12. Billy Joe DuPree (TE)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #20 overall in 1973
- Drafted by: Dallas Cowboys
- Years as a starter in NFL: 8 (3 Pro Bowls)

#11. T.J. Duckett (RB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #18 overall in 2002
- Drafted by: Atlanta Falcons
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#10. Bobby Wilson (DT)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #17 overall in 1991
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#9. Julian Peterson (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #16 overall in 2000
- Drafted by: San Francisco 49ers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (5 Pro Bowls)

#8. Percy Snow (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #13 overall in 1990
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Trae Waynes (CB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #11 overall in 2015
- Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings
- Years as a starter in NFL: 3 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. Jack Conklin (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 2016
- Drafted by: Tennessee Titans
- Years as a starter in NFL: 5 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Plaxico Burress (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 2000
- Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#4. Anthony Bell (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1986
- Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Carl Banks (LB)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 1984
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (1 Pro Bowls)

#2. Charles Rogers (WR)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 2003
- Drafted by: Detroit Lions
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#1. Tony Mandarich (T)
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

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