EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A day after running back Kenneth Walker III was drafted in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks, two more Spartans received a phone call from NFL teams.
At the 12th pick in the sixth round (No. 191 overall), the Minnesota Vikings selected Michigan State wide receiver Jalen Nailor. Then just 17 picks later (No. 208 overall) MSU tight end Connor Heyward was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Heyward’s career at Michigan State had many twists and turns. He came to East Lansing as a running back and left as a tight end. Heyward also entered the transfer portal after the 2019 season, but ultimately decided to return to the Spartans. That decision to come back and play for Mel Tucker paid off for Heyward, who will now team up with his older brother Cam, who was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Last season, Heyward started all 13 games at tight end in 2021. He led the MSU tight ends and ranked tied for third on the team with a career-high 35 receptions for 326 yards and two touchdowns.
As for Nailor, he becomes Michigan State’s first wide receiver selected in the NFL Draft since Aaron Burbridge in 2016.
A three-year letter winner, Nailor finished his Spartan career with 86 receptions for 1,454 yards and 12 TDs in 28 career games from 2018-21, including 21 starts. In his final game as a Spartan, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Nailor led MSU with six catches for 108 yards in the win over No. 12 Pitt.
With the selections of Walker III (No. 41 overall), Nailor and Heyward, Michigan State has had its most selected in the NFL Draft since five Spartans were selected in 2016. This all comes after MSU didn’t have a player picked in the 2021 draft.