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NFL Schedule Released - Where Will MSU Rookies Start Their Careers?

A look at the first game for the 10 recent Spartans looking to launch an NFL career

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Michigan State at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL put out its 2023 schedule on Thursday night. Let’s take advantage of that to have some MSU-related content (yeah, I am feeling desperate for material). The Michigan State football team saw three players drafted in this year’s draft, another five players signed as UDFAs, and an additional two invited to rookie minicamps. Here is a list of those ten players and what will be their first NFL game if they end up making the 53-man roster.

Jayden Reed - Green Bay

Green Bay will be getting their season started with a divisional matchup at Chicago. Last year the Bears had a middle-of-the-road pass defense, giving up 218 pass YPG. I can’t say anything about Green Bay as they have a new QB this year. But Reed should be good for about 217 yards in this one.

Bryce Barringer - New England

With their first 6th-round pick, the Pats took Bryce Barringer to help them win the field position battle. NE’s week 1 opponent is Philadelphia, so it doesn’t feel like a reach to say NE could be punting it often. Barringer will have 4 punts in this one, with an average of 70 yards per punt. He’ll also have one fake punt that he will run for a TD.

Ameer Speed - New England

Belichick and company double-dipped in East Lansing in round 6 as they also picked up a Spartan CB. Last year, NE was just above the previously-mentioned Bears in terms of passing YPG allowed. They went heavy on CBs in the draft, including first rounder Christian Gonzalez. Ameer will have some work to make the final roster and get playing time. But he’ll do it and will get on the field in week 1 with 2 PBUs.

Jarrett Horst - Miami

The Dolphins will be visiting the Chargers to open the season. Last year, Miami was one of the worst rushing teams and an average team in sacks allowed. As an UDFA, Horst has an uphill battle to make the roster. Let’s say he beats the odds, he can get his career started helping to keep Tua Tagovailoa off the grass and sealing edges for whoever wins the starting RB role.

Jacob Slade - Arizona

A slight surprise of a player to not get drafted, Jacob Slade has a chance to carve out a role on a defense that gave up the 2nd most points per game last season. I think Slade could be one of the best UDFAs in the league next year, and he will get his career started at Washington with 4.5 tackles and 1 forced fumble.

Kendall Brooks - Arizona

The Cardinals also grabbed a 2nd Spartan, signing the safety Kendall Brooks. Brooks’ best chance to make the roster will be through special teams contributions. Against the Commanders in the opener, he will get 1 tackle on a punt coverage.

Xavier Henderson - Washington

East Lansing fan-favorite, Henderson joins a D.C. team that had one of the stingiest pass defenses in the NFL last year. Xavier is going to add to that, and in the opener hosting Arizona, he will earn a few stats: 3 PBUs, 1 INT, and 4 tackles.

Ben VanSumeren - Philadelphia

BVS may have not made the best decision signing with the Eagles, a team that is already deep at the LB position. But this guy is going to earn the last roster spot thanks to his freaky athleticism. In the opener at New England, a game that will be known as the “Matt Patricia Bowl”, Ben will play only a handful of snaps and will get a half tackle when he helps stop a Patriot rush for a short gain.

Ronald Williams - San Francisco

One of the two Spartans invited to a rookie minicamp, Ronald will try to squeeze on to the best defense in the NFL in 2022. Most of that statistic, however, is based on the dominance of their run defense. So maybe this CB can make it to the roster. If so, he can look forward to a week 1 game at Pittsburgh where he can get an interception against Kenny Pickett.

Matt Carrick - Green Bay

Lastly, Matt Carrick will go to Green Bay’s rookie minicamp in hopes of being a part of the unit that keeps new QB Jordan Love upright. If he ends up making the final 53, then that probably says somethings about the talent level of this Packers roster. And since I am a Lions fan, let’s go with it. Carrick earns the IOL 3 or IOL 4 role, sees some playing time in the 2nd half against the Bears in week 1 due to an injury to the starter, and helps Love stay in the pocket long enough to feed Jayden Reed repeatedly.

There we have it. All ten of these Spartans are making week 1 active rosters and all ten will see the field.

Let’s hear from you. Which recent E.L departures do you expect to be immediate contributors on their new teams?