Detroit Hustles at the 2024 NFL Draft: MSU Spartans Shine as Undrafted Free Agents

Detroit does the hustle at the 2024 NFL draft

Over 100 people joined together to do the hustle in front of the NFL draft theater between rounds 4-7 at the 2024 NFL draft in Detroit on Saturday April 27, 2024.

Jacoby Windmon’s two seasons with Michigan State football both got cut short.

The next time he plays may be in the NFL.

The linebacker signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an as undrafted free agent Saturday evening, the first Spartan from the 2023 squad to agree to a deal following the conclusion of the seven-round, 257-pick NFL draft that was held in Detroit.

Here’s a look at MSU’s undrafted players who’ve reportedly agreed to terms as free agents:

DRAFTED SPARTAN: C Nick Samac selected by Baltimore in 7th round

Aaron Brule to New Orleans Saints

Linebacker Aaron Brule is heading home, landing a minicamp invitation Sunday from the New Orleans Saints.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Brule had 8½ of his 64 tackles for a loss last season, including a team-leading five sacks. The New Orleans native played in all 12 games for the Spartans and started the final nine, adding two pass breakups, a QB hurry and forced a fumble.

Brule transferred to East Lansing from Mississippi State in 2022 and started two of his 12 games that season. He finished with 30 tackles, with four sacks among his 6½ stops for a loss, and a fumble recovery. With the Bulldogs, Brule started 19 of his 40 career games and had 141 tackles and 7½ sacks. At both programs, Brule also was a contributor on special teams.

J.D. Duplain to New York Giants

Offensive lineman J.D. Duplain received an invitation to the New York Giants’ minicamp, according to KPRC-TV in Houston.

Duplain, a Mark Dantonio recruit who was part of the Spartans’ 2019 class, returned to MSU for a fifth season after graduating in May 2023. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound native of Strongsville, Ohio, started all 12 games last season at left guard and earned his third All-Big Ten honorable mention in each of his final three seasons.

With 47 career starts between 2019-23, Duplain trailed only Joel Foreman’s school record 49 (2008-11), and his 42 straight starts to end his career is second in school history to Shane Hannah’s 44 (1991-94). Duplain logged 3,007 snaps in 54 career games.

Harold Joiner III to Indianapolis Colts

Swiss Army knife Harold Joiner III received an invitation to Indianapolis Colts minicamp as a linebacker, per MSU.

Joiner arrived at MSU in 2021 as a running back transfer from Auburn but moved to safety and linebacker before returning to the offensive backfield in 2023. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Birmingham, Alabama, emerged as a valuable contributor elsewhere, getting 544 reps on special teams in three years to just 169 snaps on offense. Joiner finished his career as a Spartan with 21 carries for 50 yards rushing and 10 catches for 58 yards receiving at running back and 10 tackles on punt and kickoff coverage.

It was Joiner’s impressive pro day at MSU in March that turned scouts’ heads, grading as an 8.27 on a 10 scale in the Relative Athletic Score (RAS) testing. His explosion in both the vertical and broad jumps were considered elite, and his composite speed grade was rated as great.

Tre Mosley to Cincinnati Bengals

Wide receiver Tre Mosley agreed to a deal Saturday night with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to MSU. Terms were not released.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Pontiac and West Bloomfield High product had 1,464 yards with 10 touchdowns on 126 catches over five seasons with the Spartans. Mosley started seven of his eight games in 2023 before suffering a season-ending left hand injury, finishing with 28 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

His best season came in 2021 as the No. 3 option alongside current NFL receivers Jayden Reed and Jailon Nailor, when Mosley caught 35 passes for a career-best 530 yards with three touchdowns. He equaled those 35 grabs in 2022 for 359 yards, including a personal high four touchdowns.

Two other former Spartans who transferred out of the program also reportedly landed NFL free-agent deals with the Cincinnati Bengals: defensive back Michael Dowell, who left for Miami (Ohio) following the 2021 season, and quarterback Rocky Lombardi, who transferred to Northern Illinois after the 2020 season.

Jacoby Windmon to Pittsburgh Steelers

Windmon played just three games in 2023 before suffering a season-ending pectoral muscle injury. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound New Orleans native had 15 tackles, with a sack among his two tackles for a loss.

Upon arriving from UNLV via transfer before the 2022 season, Windmon broke out by becoming the first MSU defensive player to earn three Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. He started the first eight games between defensive end and linebacker before being suspended for the final four games of 2022 for his role in an altercation in the Michigan Stadium tunnel following the Wolverines’ 29-7 win in Ann Arbor.

At the time of the suspension, Windmon led the nation with six forced fumbles and a team-high 5½ sacks among his 49 tackles. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery and was a second-team midseason All-American edge defender, according to Pro Football Focus, but did not receive postseason Big Ten honors.

Windmon played three seasons at UNLV, twice earning All-Mountain West honors, before transferring to MSU. He opted to return to the Spartans instead of declaring for the 2023 NFL draft.

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected]. Follow him @chrissolari.

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2024-04-28 16:53:21
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