Mel Tucker making Michigan State football ‘wide open’ to NFL scouts to evaluate players

EAST LANSING — Connor Heyward received an invitation to the Senior Bowl on Monday, and coach Mel Tucker said his senior tight end will get a good evaluation by NFL scouts about his future.

In part because Tucker extended invitations to pro scouts and personnel departments to visit the Michigan State Spartans anytime they want.

Michigan State Spartans running back Connor Heyward (11) gets away from the tackle of Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Cameron Martinez (10) during the second half Nov. 20 2021 at Ohio Stadium.

“We want it to be a very inviting place for the NFL so that they can evaluate us, so they can see us, so they get they can get good information and accurate information on the guys,” Tucker said during his weekly news conference. “And that helps our players, because the NFL and in the process of evaluation and stacking the board for the draft, they don’t like unknowns. They want to know everything.

“And so that’s why we’re wide open. It makes their job easier, so they can get better information. And it’s better for our players, because they get the exposure.”

MSU’s streak of having a player selected in the NFL draft ended in April after 80 consecutive years, though defensive tackle Naquan Jones has emerged as a starter for the Tennessee Titans after signing as an undrafted free agent. Seven Spartans were taken in the previous four drafts.

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Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel on a recent podcast said Tucker — who spent 10 years coaching in the NFL — has taken the approach Nick Saban has at Alabama with pro personnel directors and scouts. Thamel called Mark Dantonio, MSU’s all-time winningest coach “the single-worst coach in college football to NFL scouts” with how much he limited access to his program.

“He treated every one of them like they were bank robbers…


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