Former Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough (40) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds at Monday's NFL combine in Indianapolis. (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)
Ultimately, former Michigan State middle linebacker Max Bullough’s skills will determine his future in the NFL, and his testing at the NFL combine likely solidified his status a mid- to late-round pick in May’s draft.
Bullough tied for first among linebackers on the bench press with 30 reps at 225 pounds Sunday, but his strength never was a question.
Instead, Bullough needed to show his speed at the combine to improve his draft stock, and his official 40-yard dash time of 4.78 seconds on Monday probably will keep him around his fifth-round projection.
Bullough, a two-time captain, was suspended for the Rose Bowl this year after an undisclosed violation of team rules. Although he refused to explain what led to the suspension Saturday in front of a group of reporters at the combine, Bullough said he shared the information with every NFL team.
“They all know what happened and the situation, and moving forward it’s not going to affect my draft stock whatsoever,” he said.
Instead, Bullough’s speed and tape from his senior year will have more to do with where he lands in May’s draft. Fortunately for Bullough, he weighed 249 pounds at the combine, down from a worrisome 265 pounds at the East-West Shrine game in January.
“The suspension hurt a little bit, I think,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “I think it was more the tape wasn’t real good this year. I want to like the kid. He’s strong, he’s tough, he cares about the game, but I didn’t see the quickness. I didn’t see the ability to get to the hole and make a play like I did in prior years.”
Bullough also posted a 31-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump.
Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis led all linebackers with a 4.51-second 40-yard dash. Ryan Shazier of Ohio State won the vertical jump (42 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 10 inches).