Mississippi State had two players taken in the second round of the National Football League Draft Friday night in Chicago.
Preston Smith and Benardrick McKinney were both taken in the second round giving MSU multiple picks in the first two rounds for the second time in three years.
Smith was taken with the sixth pick in the second round – 38th overall – by the Washington Redskins, while McKinney went 43rd overall – 11th pick in second round – to the Houston Texans.
The Texans gave up a fourth- and sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to get get McKinney in the second round.
“It means a lot to me, man,” McKinney said in a school release. “They traded for me. It shows that they really wanted me and were interested in me. When I get there, I’m just going to work my heart out to be the best that I can be.”
McKinney was the second-highest drafted MSU linebacker in the modern era (since 1970) and the highest since Johnie Cooks went No. 2 overall in 1982.
Smith was the second-highest MSU defensive lineman drafted since 1983. Fletcher Cox is the only one to go higher and he was taken in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2012 draft.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native is expected to make the transition to outside linebacker with the Redskins’ 3-4 defensive scheme.
“I feel like it’ll go well because we had a lot of different looks from college, playing stand-up and doing a lot of drops, doing a lot of different defensive looks from standing up,” Smith said. “I feel like it’ll be a great transition. It’s something I’m used to, something I’m familiar with, and it won’t be hard for me to adjust.”
The two players became the 14th and 15th different Bulldogs under head coach Dan Mullen to be drafted since 2010.