- Michigan State Pro Day: TE Brian Linthicum (6-4, 245) played with Cousins in the Senior Bowl and said that exposure was more important and more revealing than anything he could have done if he had been invited to the NFL Combine. Instead, he took advantage of familiar surroundings and a quarterback he had worked with on a daily basis to show he could run all kinds of routes and make catches Wednesday afternoon before 52 representatives of NFL teams, including Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Linthicum ran well, did 28 reps of 225 pounds and showed an ability to separate and make all types of catches. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
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A quality all-around tight end who flashes above-average hands, Linthicum should earn Day Three consideration in the 2012 NFL Draft. As talented as he may be in football, Linthicum could serve as a travel agent, considering the circuitous route he's taken to the NFL.
Having stood out as a prep prospect while splitting time between defensive end and tight end in New Mexico, Linthicum moved to Virginia for his senior season where his play helped him earn a scholarship from Clemson. He appeared in all 13 games for the Tigers as a true freshman, starting five contests and catching 11 passes for 76 yards and three scores. Linthicum wasn't happy at Clemson, however, and elected to transfer to Michigan State, sitting out the 2008 season per NCAA regulations.
Linthicum split the starting duties with the Spartans until his senior season, catching a combined 38 passes for 496 yards and three touchdowns in 25 games (13 starts) up to that point. He enjoyed the best season of his career as a senior, hauling in 31 passes for 364 yards (but no touchdowns) in 2011 and earning Second Team All-Big Ten accolades from the league's coaches. True to his career, his final game was his best one as he hauled in career-high seven passes for 115 yards in the Outback Bowl win over Georgia.
Positives: Has a strong, athletic frame with room for an additional 10 pounds of muscle mass. Possesses soft hands for the reception and flashes good to very good tracking and overall body control to make catches outside of his frame. Good effort at the point of attack and second level as a blocker. Intelligent. Earned his Bachelor's Degree and is working on his Masters. Showed the ability to acclimate to different offenses relatively quickly and should have no problem handling the mental adjustment to NFL offenses.
Negatives: Only emerged as a full-time starter as a senior. A bit inconsistent with his release off the line of scrimmage. Possesses only average straight-line speed and is a bit stiff as a route-runner, showing only average flexibility and burst out of his breaks. Willing as a blocker but shows only average strength overall and struggles to sustain his blocks. Suffered a dislocated left knee cap which required surgery and kept him out of the 2009-10 Valero Alamo Bowl and the 2010 spring. Was arrested March 11, 2011 in Aspen, Colorado after a bar fight and was charged with third-degree assault and eluding police. Took a plea deal that dropped the charges to just misdemeanor harassment and was sentenced to one year of probation, community service and an anger management class.