Dion Sims is an early entrant to the NFL draft, declaring after his redshirt junior season.
Sims has had an interesting career at MSU. He chose MSU over the likes of Ohio State, Tennessee and Michigan in the class of 2009. Despite tight end being a very crowded position, Sims recorded 11 catches for 133 and three touchdowns as a freshman. He played in all 13 games and was Big Ten All-Freshman team. After football ended, he briefly joined the basketball team. He was mostly on the practice squad, but did play late in one game. His MSU basketball career was short-lived, but his football career appeared bright.
But things took a bad turn when he was charged with involvement in the theft of laptops from Detroit Public Schools involving his father and others in 2010. He pleaded guilty, served one year of probation and his record was expunged. He explained the situation at the NFL Combine. Via MLive
"My father had purchased me a computer for Christmas when I lived with him in high school. Some of my classmates saw it, they asked where i got it from. My dad was a professor at U of M, so he had the power to purchase computers at a discounted rate. It turned out that my dad was never putting the money back into the account. He was using Michigan's funds to purchase computers, and it was humiliating to me. My dad got fired from his job, and it was all pretty much a disgrace. Things happen, and you just have to learn how to build off them."
Sims was suspended for the 2010 season, and he ended up getting a redshirt.
He returned for the 2011 season, recording 12 catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns still in a crowded depth depth. He played in all 14 games, but he played the second half of the season with a club because of a broken hand.
In 2012, as the most-reliable receiving option, Sims had 36 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns, earning second team All-Big Ten honors. He played in 12 games, starting 10, but he missed nearly three entire games while dealing with an ankle injury that never seemed to fully heal for the second half of the season. Still, he put up solid numbers on a limited offense.
His numbers over his career haven't been eye-popping, but for various reasons (depth, injuries). What has never been deniable with Sims are his physical gifts. The measurables are above, and he has great athleticism. I mentioned the brief college basketball stint, but he also finished fourth for 2009 Michigan Mr. Basketball in high school.
MSU frequently split him out wide this past season. A couple times in previous years, MSU threw fade routes to him in the red zone. How many teams do that for a tight end?
For a guy with the body of an offensive lineman, he's surprisingly quick, though his route-running isn't always fluid. He has great hands for a bigger tight end. He's been considered by some to be the best blocking tight end in the draft, but I think that's partly based on his size, The reason he wasn't able to separate himself when the depth chart was crowded was because he had blocking problems. It did improve in 2012, but dealing with an ankle injury didn't help.
It was a little surprising to see him declare for the draft, given he didn't really prove himself in college. But the physical tools have always been there, and the scouts love his upside. There are some character concerns, but the 2010 incident was more a result of him following his father's lead. Since then, there haven't been any notable problems on or off the field.
Sims is almost like an NBA draft pick, chosen based more on potential and physical ability than an actual track record. He certainly has the ability to become a great tight end in the league, but we haven't completely seen it yet.