Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Spartans anticipate NFL Draft

April 19, 2002

A few hopeful Spartans are anxiously waiting to hear their names announced this weekend at the 2002 NFL Draft in New York.

Junior tailback T.J. Duckett headlines the group, which also includes tight end Chris Baker, wide receiver Herb Haygood, linebacker Josh Thornhill and defensive tackle Josh Shaw.

It’s anybody’s guess what round these guys will go in and where they’ll end up playing, and these guys know that.

“I hear a lot of things, but I don’t believe too much,” Duckett said. “I don’t go by that ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ stuff.

“It’s out of my control, what ever happens, happens. I did everything I could to the best of my ability and it’s in everybody else’s hands now.”

Joel Buchsbaum of Pro Football Weekly and Peter King of CNNSI.com both predict Duckett will be the first running back taken at the 16th spot, going to the Cleveland Browns.

Duckett said those projections don’t mean anything, but he’s still excited at the possibility of going in the first round.

“I don’t listen to predictions, otherwise I’d be worried all night,” Duckett said.

“I’ll be anxious, I know I’ll be anxious every time the commissioner or whoever gets up and says a name. I’m almost to the point where I don’t want to watch it - but I have to watch it.”

Duckett said he doesn’t regret his decision to forgo his senior season.

“Once I made the decision, I took it and ran with it and haven’t looked back since,” he said.

NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt said Duckett may have made a mistake by not working out at the combine, but he’s a definite NFL player.

“I see Duckett as either being a (Jerome) Bettis or Gerald Riggs,” Brandt said. “He’s a quality guy and I see him being the second running back drafted.”

Brandt said Baker has been getting a lot of looks and should be the fifth tight end taken.

“The guy is a four-year starter, and anytime you have a guy playing at a good program at Michigan State, that tells you something,” he said.

Brandt said Thornhill should be a quality late round pick and Haygood could also be a steal in the midrounds.

“Haygood is a good kick returner, who could also be the fourth or fifth receiver,” he said.

Haygood said he’ll also be at home watching the draft with his mother, who’s flying in from Florida.

Haygood said he’s heard he could go anywhere from the third round to the fifth round. Instead of worrying about that, he’ll keep himself cool.

“I’m just trying to relax, just chilling out,” Haygood said. “That’s my plan.

“I have no preferences, it’s always been a dream of mine. I just want to make it in the league.”

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