Nearly 40 NFL personnel watched Mississippi State players eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft showcase their skills at MSU Pro Day on Thursday morning in the Palmeiro Center.
Thirty of 32 NFL teams appeared at Pro Day, not including the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks who interviewed respective Bulldogs at the NFL Combine last month. The Pro Day workout was televised nationally on SEC Network and highlights will appear on Thursday evening on NFL Network.
“It is a lot of fun because our guys are getting to try to fulfill their dreams of playing professional football,” said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. “When you have been there with a lot of these guys, you take a lot of pride in what they have done. We treat them like they are our own kids, so it is a lot of fun.”
Defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has been projected as a late first round to early second round pick, improved his vertical jump to 29.5 inches and went through an individual on-field workout. Quarterback Dak Prescott posted solid numbers at the NFL Combine and only went through a throwing session with some of his former teammates on Thursday.
“It’s (Pro Day) grown over the last couple of years, but that’s also how the program has been changing with expectations,” said Prescott. “People want to come in and see what’s going on. We’ve got more players going to the NFL and making that transition. It’s important.”
Wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson improved on each of his tests, notching a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash, raising his vertical jump and recording 9-4 in the broad jump. At 6-foot-5, he was the tallest of the wide receivers at the NFL Combine. In the past two years, Wilson has been a playmaker for the Bulldogs, racking up 1,949 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns – a mark that ranks second in school history. Eight of his 22 scores came on third down.
Cornerback Taveze Calhoun made the most of his day, posting a 35.5-inch vertical jump, up from his 33.5 at the NFL Combine, and recording a 9-8 in the broad jump. Linebacker Beniquez Brown improved his 40-yard dash time from the NFL Combine, clocking 4.71 on Thursday. Calhoun and Brown both went through positional workouts on the field with scouts.
Current NFL Bulldogs made their way back to Starkville to cheer on the future pros, including Super Bowl champion linebacker K.J. Wright of the Seahawks, Josh Boyd of the Green Bay Packers and Preston Smith of the Washington Redskins. Smith led all NFL rookies in sacks last year.
The draft eligible Bulldogs will continue preparing for the 2016 NFL Draft, which takes place April 28-30 in Chicago. MSU players can still have individual workouts with teams until the draft.
Eighteen Bulldogs have been chosen in the NFL Draft under head coach Dan Mullen’s watch since 2010, including the most since 1995 with five last year.