Josiah Price said there is a chip on his shoulder after not getting invited to Combine
East Lansing — Josiah Price didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine, but that hardly matters now as the Michigan State tight end gets ready for the draft in April.
Of course, he’s been told for a long time he didn’t measure up — not fast enough, not strong enough. Instead of buying in, however, Price became the all-time leader in touchdown catches for tight ends at Michigan State with 21. And he did it at a program that has made its name on overcoming the naysayers.
“Yeah. I think I learned that pretty well here,” Price said Wednesday. “So I’ll be able to carry that mantra and mentality to the next level and play with a chip on my shoulder and fight for everything.”
Price and a handful of former Michigan State teammates took part in Pro Day at Michigan State’s indoor facility on Wednesday, a big day for most players as only three Spartans took part in the NFL Combine last month.
Defensive lineman Malik McDowell, linebacker Riley Bullough and safety Montae Nicholson were all in Indianapolis for the Combine and all were back in East Lansing on Wednesday. McDowell did not meet with the media and Nicholson was limited as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn labrum. Bullough went through a complete workout.
But Price didn’t have the benefit of already showing his skills at the combine, which made Wednesday a pretty big deal.
“I felt good about how I did today,” Price said. “I moved well, tested very well. I feel very confident and put in a lot of work over the last two months training for today. I’m excited and thankful for how I did.”
What Price is also hoping is that he won’t simply be judged on one day of testing. It went well enough and he was hoping he ran of 40-yard dash somewhere just less than five seconds.
But it’s the four years of proving it on the field he hopes resonates, and that’s the feedback he’s gotten from several teams.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about being a complete tight end,” Price said. “I can catch the ball well and get open and I’m also a very good blocker. Those are some of the positive things I’ve been hearing back, that I can be three-down tight end. The biggest knock is athleticism and speed. Today I think I proved my numbers are there with everyone else and I feel good about it.”
Whether that means his name is called during the draft or he’s signed as a free agent, Price is certain he’ll show he is a complete tight end, and he’ll have all the motivation he needs.
“I definitely use it as a motivation and a chip on my shoulder,” Price said of the combine snub. “When I go into fall camp I’ll be having that in the back of my mind. I’m gonna prove people wrong and play in the NFL for a long time and have a great career.”
Bullough is in a bit of a unique position, one his former teammates won’t quite be able to take advantage of. That’s because, as he goes through this process of getting ready for the draft, he can lean on his brother, Max.
After the 2013 season, Max Bullough went undrafted but was signed by the Houston Texans. He’s been with them since and now is counseling his brother on the best way to approach the next few weeks.
“His biggest thing is you’ve got to stay patient,” Riley Bullough said. “It’s a long process. Sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s great. There are lots of ups and downs through this whole thing and really whatever happens, happens and you got to roll with it and make the best out of it.”
Bullough has been training in Irvine, California, not far from where his brother lives in Newport. It’s allowed them to spend plenty of time together. But it’s been his time at Michigan State that has truly prepared him, Bullough said.
“I’ve learned a ton,” Bullough said. “So many things were instilled in me — hard work, dedication, the commitment that it takes — all things that will follow me the rest of my life and I truly believe that. It will be good to have that going to the NFL.”
Nicholson wasn’t able to go through drills on Wednesday. His left arm was in a sling after recent surgery to repair a torn labrum. He said the injury was actually suffered during the season but the exact injury wasn’t discovered until later.
He said he should be ready by August and teams haven’t seemed too worried about it leading up to the draft.
… Nineteen players took part in pro day. In addition to Price, McDowell, Bullough and Nicholson, also working out were: OL/DL Brandon Clemons, S Demetrious Cox, LB Ed Davis, CB Darian Hicks, OL Kodi Kieler, FB Prescott Line, TE Jamal Lyles, OL Miguel Machado, WR Monty Madaris, OL Benny McGowan, QB Tyler O’Connor, WR R.J. Shelton, DL Gabe Sherrod, RB Delton Williams and DL Kevin Williams.