Three more MSU football players picked on NFL Draft's final day

Hunter Bradley
Staff Writer

It was a busy final day for Bulldogs in the NFL Draft on Saturday as three more former MSU players were taken and another signed as an undrafted free agent.

Tight end Jordan Thomas, long snapper Hunter Bradley and punter Logan Cooke all heard their names called before the NFL Draft concluded. Also, defensive back J.T. Gray signed an undrafted free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Thomas was a sixth-round selection (211th overall pick) by the Houston Texans. He joins fellow former Bulldog, offensive lineman Martinas Rankin, with the Texans. Houston selected Rankin in the third round on Friday.
Meanwhile Bradley and Cooke were both seventh-round picks. The Green Bay Packers made Bradley the 239th overall selection. Cooke went 247th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Bradley and Cooke both being picked, Mississippi State became the only school in the nation to have multiple specialists (punters, kickers, or snappers) selected in this year’s draft.

“It’s a dream come true,” Bradley said. “Being a long snapper, it’s not something that happens often. I’m just thankful and blessed to be one of those selected to be drafted by an organization like the Packers.”
Thomas gives Houston a big, athletic option at tight end. He played both tight end and wide receiver at MSU.

Brian Gaine, the new general manager of the Texans, likes what Thomas provides in terms of depth.

"It's important, especially in our offense at tight end because we have different roles and different jobs as it relates to the composition of the group, in terms of the Y and the F and how we use those guys," Gaines said to The Associated Press. "Ideally we want them to be fully dimensional, but we like having versatile tight ends who can do different jobs."

For the Bulldogs last season, Thomas was the team’s third-leading pass catcher as he hauled in 22 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The 263 receiving yards ranked second on the squad. Thomas caught at least one pass in 12 of State’s 13 games.

Bradley’s best trait for MSU was his reliability. He became State’s primary snapper in the second week of the 2015 season and was perfect from then on.

Like Bradley, Cooke also excelled on special teams for the Bulldogs. Cooke was MSU’s primary punter for the last three seasons. He averaged 41.7 yards per punt for his career, which stands as the seventh-best mark in school history.

Gray started his Mississippi State career as a linebacker before moving to safety for his senior season. He ended his Bulldog career with 210 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, eight pass breakups and one interception.

Other former MSU players could ink undrafted free agent deals in coming days. Those include wide receiver Donald Gray, linebacker Dez Harris and cornerback Lashard Durr.