Michigan State cornerback Shakur Brown decided to leave the Spartans early for the NFL Draft after his junior season in December.
On Wednesday, he set out to show the NFL that he’s ready at Michigan State’s pro day, something that wasn’t always pre-ordained throughout his college career.
Brown was originally committed to West Virginia coming out of Stockbridge, Georgia, but didn’t qualify academically. He ended up at Michigan State and redshirted his true freshman season. He was injured as a redshirt sophomore and then the COVID-19 pandemic limited his redshirt junior season to seven games.
“It’s a blessing to be here with every thing I’ve been through, trials and tribulations, things of that nature,” Brown said.
The 5-foot-9 Brown ran a 4.65-second 40-yard dash and likely projects as a third-day draft pick — a similar paradigm as another former member of the Spartans, current Steelers cornerback Justin Layne.
Layne entered the draft after his junior year and was taken in the third round by the Steelers in 2019. While he’s had a hard time finding consistent playing time in the NFL since then, Brown feels like Layne and others helped show him the way to a professional football career.
“Them guys kind of paved the way for me,” Brown said. “Justin was like my big brother when he came on campus, so he helped me a lot with the path, too.”
Unlike Layne, who has a 6-foot-2 frame, Brown’s 5-foot-9 stature means it’s more likely than not that he’ll be asked to play in the slot at the next level, something that he’s perfectly comfortable with.
“I honestly don’t have a preference,” he said. “I don’t lose anything playing inside or outside.”
He’d also be comfortable with being reunited with Layne in Black and Gold. The Steelers certainly have needs at cornerback after the team released starter Steven Nelson for salary cap purposes and lost starting slot corner Mike Hilton to free agency with the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown confirmed that he’s spoken with the Steelers during the draft process. Steelers scout Dan Colbert was in attendance at his pro day.
“It was a good conversation,” he said. “I’ve talked to pretty much everybody.”