Posted: 8:49 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013
Mississippi State continues their run at putting players in the pros after a three-man draft season for the Maroon and White. Darius Slay, Johnthan Banks and Josh Boyd heard their names called in the 2013 NFL Draft in New York putting MSU at 12 players drafted under Dan Mullen and staff in his first four years on campus. The addition of Cam Lawrence and Chad Bumphis signing free agent deals meant that all five players NFL bound were apart of the ever-important 2009 signing class.
Slay saw his stock climb from the end of the season through the NFL combine in Indianapolis where he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash for the fastest time among defensive backs. While Banks was widely considered a first-round shoe-in mid-season, Slay was the one who was off of the board first as he went in the second round 36th overall to the Detroit Lions.
The selection comes after a strong senior year by Slay who was a Bulldog for two years after an All-American career at Itawamba Community College where he attended after being placed by MSU in 2009. He intercepted five passes in 2012 on his way to a second-team All-SEC honor.
Banks finished off his career with a Thorpe award and was a first-team All-American, but saw his stock drop into the second round after a slower 40-yard dash than most expected. The talented defensive back got on the board in the second round, 43rd overall, being picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He now will be under the tutelage of All-Pro corner Darrell Revis who was picked up by the team recently.
Banks, tied for the school's all-time lead in interceptions (16), was one of the most decorated players in MSU history during his four-year run.
The two shutdown corners became the first defensive backs selected in the same draft since 1987 (Kirby Jackson and Bruce Plumer).
Into day-three of the draft, State expected a call for defensive tackle Boyd and he indeed received it. Boyd was picked up by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round with the 167th pick.
The Philadelphia, Miss., native recorded 33 tackles during his senior season with 1.5 sacks. He joins former Bulldog teammate Derek Sherrod who was a first-round selection in 2010 as an offensive tackle.
While they weren't drafted, Bumphis and Lawrence might have gotten a better shake of luck by earning better pay and being able to choose, more or less, which franchise they can sign with. Bumphis will join the Miami Dolphins with Lawrence making his way to Dallas to try and make the cut for the Cowboys.
Two four-year players, Bumphis and Lawrence were two very important pieces to the rebuilding of the MSU football program as much as the three draftees.
UPDATE (10:54 p.m.): Bulldogs receiver Arceto Clark and defensive tackle Dwayne Cherrington are both reportedly on their way to free agent possibilities. Clark is heading to Seattle to join former teammate K.J. Wright and the Seahawks and Cherrington is trying to secure a contract with the New England Patriots.
The Patriots have the possibility of having three MSU defensive tackles on the roster. Former Dawg Tommy Kelly signed with the team recently after a long stint with the Oakland Raiders in which he was at one point the highest paid defensive tackle in NFL history. Kyle Love earned a spot on the roster as a free agent in 09' and eventually found himself in the starting rotation. This is an excellent opportunity for Cherrington to take the same route.