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Tom Izzo: Michigan State may be without key contributer for remainder of season

Saturday was not a great day for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.

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First, the Spartans blew a 7-point halftime lead over Indiana as they fell 63-62 to the Hoosiers in Bloomington.

But things got even worse as Izzo notified reporters that MSU could be without forward Kyle Ahrens for the remainder of the season as he is dealing with back problems.

From Detroit Free Press:

“I made a coaching mistake trying to play Kyle Ahrens, he just couldn’t go,” Izzo said after the game. “He kind of told me a little late, but poor kid just couldn’t get off the bench. … Kyle is probably, potentially, maybe done. I don’t know.”

Ahrens, who averages 20.2 minutes per game on the season, played just 10 minutes on Saturday against the Hoosiers.

“The problem was I thought Kyle was OK to play until right after halftime,” Izzo said. “There’s an advantage with a tough kid and a disadvantage. A tough kid is always gonna say he can play. He finally says, ‘I can’t even get off the seat.’ You appreciate it, but you also say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ ”

BONUS CONTENT:

Drysdale: Full Detroit Lions 2019 ‘Perfect’ NFL Mock Draft Vol. 1

Round 1 (No. 8 overall) Rashan Gary (DL) – Michigan

Despite not having as much production as many projected him to have at the college level, Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary is the real deal and I have no doubt that he will be a top 10 pick. Gary would fit in beautifully with what Matt Patricia wants to do with the Lions’ defense and if he is available at No. 8, Bob Quinn should not hesitate to pull the trigger.

From The Draft Network:

Rashan Gary is a versatile defender with the needed abilities to be a disruptive force working from 3T. Gary has the ability to set the edge vs. the run and can be worked on the outside sparingly, although his pass rush skills are best utilized in scenarios that allow him to play with linear angles and with his hips aligned behind his pads to optimize his power and quickness.


Round 2 (No. 43 overall) Irv Smith Jr. (TE) – Alabama

2018 proved exactly how important it is for Matthew Stafford to have a tight end who can make plays. When Bob Quinn got rid of Eric Ebron, his game plan was to upgrade the position but as we know, that backfired on him. Some have said the Lions should draft a tight end in the first round, which in my opinion would be a mistake, but selecting Irv Smith out of Alabama in Round 2 would be a huge get. Smith is not only a great run blocker but he can get open and makes plays in the passing game.

From The Draft Network:

Not many tight ends in college football can hold a candle to what Irv Smith did this season for Alabama. 710 yards, seven touchdowns and an average of 16.3 yards per catch are all eye-popping numbers which led to Smith wisely bolting for the NFL following the National Championship Game. There his athleticism, smooth routes and strong blocking skills should translate quickly into a versatile starting tight end.

While Smith may lack elite explosiveness, he still has the speed to win vertically as a flexed receiver while being one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft. The risk of drafting him is minimal, especially if he tests as well as expected. Smith may never be a top 2-3 tight end in the NFL, but he’s fully capable of being among the best in the next tier.


Round 3 (No. 88 overall) Michael Jackson (CB) – Miami

Despite what some fans may think, the Lions’ secondary (outside of Darius Slay) is hot garbage. Unless Slay can cover both sides of the field on the same play (he can’t), the Lions absolutely must give him some help on the other side. The answer could be Michael Jackson out of the University of Miami. Jackson has good size and he is not afraid to mix it up when asked to play man coverage.

From The Draft Network:

Michael Jackson has attractive qualities as a potential starter in the NFL. Jackson’s size and physicality at the line will serve him well on the boundary. Yet Jackson’s lapses in discarding blocks, tendency to grab just a split second too long on breaks and his modest change of direction skills and burst in space pose as barriers that will make him a scheme-specific prospect. Jackson needs to play press-man coverage in order to properly illustrate his strengths.


Round 4 (No. 111 overall) Andy Isabella (WR) – UMass

I have been all over Andy Isabella since Senior Bowl week started and the rest of the nation has hopped on the bandwagon. One of Bob Quinn’s biggest jobs this offseason will be to replace Golden Tate and Isabella is the man for the job. Not only his he extremely fast but he runs efficient routes that allow him to get the separation he needs. There is no doubt in my mind that Isabella would be the perfect weapon for Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense. The only problem is that rather than waiting until the 5th Round, the Lions will likely have to take him in the fourth since the hype is high.

From The Draft Network:

Andy Isabella is a player who has a much more prominent pathway to NFL success after the rule changes in recent seasons. A diminutive, non-physical player, Isabella wins with quickness and thrives in space. His best role would be as a slot/depth option on a team that looks to space the field and isolate their athletes one on one. Passing systems like the ones in KC and SF come to mind as specific favorable fits.


Round 5 (No. 147 overall) Miles Sanders (RB) – Penn State

Kerryon Johnson looks like the real deal if Kerryon Johnson can stay healthy. Unfortunately, even going back to his days at Auburn, Johnson has not proven he can stay on the field for a full season. In today’s NFL, it is a nice advantage to have a pair of running backs to shoulder the load and Miles Sanders could be the guy to give Johnson a hand. Though he was overshadowed in his first two seasons at Penn State by a guy named Saquon Barkley, Johnson rushed for 1,274 yards (5.8 ypc) in 2018, proving he can get the job done.

Miles Sanders entered Penn State as the top-ranked RB in the 2016 recruiting class. The Pennsylvania native stayed in state despite offers from all the top schools in the country. Through his first two seasons at Penn State, he only saw 56 carries due to being stuck behind Saquon Barkley. In that small sample size, Sanders fumbled the ball 5 times and lost 3 of them. Fumbles continued to be an issue once he took over the starting RB role in 2018, he fumbled 5 times losing 4 of them. Sanders’ junior season was a long-awaited breakout. He tallied over 1,200 rushing yards along with 24 receptions.

From Devy Football Factory:

Sanders is a very thick built RB, his legs are thick and provide him with a nice power base. His legs almost rival that of his former teammate Saquon Barkley. Sanders is a powerful runner that also has great ability to juke and make defenders miss. He has the strength to power through arm tackles and take defenders head on. Sanders has the power to run through defenders and gain additional yards. Along with being powerful, he is a very shifty runner. On a number of occasions, Sanders has almost juked an entire defense on large chunk plays. He is very good laterally but can get out of control trying to juke too many defenders and lose yards. He’s proven adequate in the short passing game.
Sanders is lacking a true elite gear. He misses out on some long TD runs due to not having that elite gear to pull away from defenders. He’s more than fast enough to contribute at the NFL but the big explosive plays won’t be where Sanders makes his money.

To read the rest of the mock draft, please click on the link below.

Drysdale: Full Detroit Lions 2019 ‘Perfect’ NFL Mock Draft Vol. 1

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