In a bit of a late-NFL draft surprise, Michigan State offensive lineman Donavon Clark was taken in the seventh round with the 224th overall pick by the San Diego Chargers on Saturday.
At 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, Clark offers versatility at the next level.
In 47 career games, Clark started 33, including 18 at right guard, nine at right tackle and six at left tackle. He stared the final 27 straight games of his career.
“What you like about the Michigan State offensive line is they come in NFL-ready,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “This is a pro-style offense. This kid showed he can move defenders off the line of scrimmage, he’s adequate in pass protection and has some versatility. You come out of this offense … these kids are ready to step in.”
Clark earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches as a senior in 2015 and had a team-high 83.5 knockdowns in the regular season.
“Donavon Clark is a big athlete, who can run,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “He has played every position along the offensive line, with the exception of center. Donavon has been a regular in the playing rotation since his redshirt freshman year. He’s a tough, versatile player, who helped anchor our offensive line.”
Added offensive line coach Mark Staten, “Donavon Clark has the athletic ability and smarts to play all five positions up front. He’s a selfless, team-first player.”
While Clark getting selected was somewhat of a surprise, the fact center Jack Allen went undrafted was exactly that. At 6-foot-1 and just less than 300 pounds, Allen is undersized for the NFL but he was still an All-American as a senior and many expected would go somewhere after the fifth round.
“I thought he would be the second (Michigan State) offensive lineman behind (Jack) Conklin,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said.
After the NFL combine, Allen was projected as high as the third round after finishing a Michigan State career that included 47 starts in 48 games. He was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and was twice a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the top center in the nation.
Allen also proved his versatility, staring five games at left guard and even filling in at left tackle when Conklin was injured last season.
Other Michigan State players not selected included defensive linemen Lawrence Thomas and Joel Heath, who both took part in the NFL combine. Others who had an outside shot at getting selected but went undrafted included defensive backs RJ Williamson and Arjen Colquhoun, as well as fullback Trevon Pendleton and linebacker Darien Harris.
Five Spartans signed quickly with teams as free agents Saturday night -- Harris with the Bengals, Thomas with the Jets, Heath with the Texans, Allen with the Saints and Colquhoun with the Cowboys.