The collective eyes of the NFL were focused in on Mississippi State as the Bulldogs held their annual pro day Wednesday with scouts from all 32 teams in attendance.
It was a day for known commodities such as potential first round selections Benardrick McKinney and Preston Smith to maintain their stock while others like Matt Wells to make a name for themselves and move onto draft boards.
“These guys are all part of our family and when you see a family member get to go and accomplish their dream, it’s so special,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “The whole program takes so much pride in these guys getting this opportunity to show what they can do at the next level.”
Wells wowed the scouts with a pro day best 35.5-inch vertical and a 4.41 40-yard dash time as a 222-pound linebacker and also went through drills as a safety.
Aberdeen native Jamerson Love also had a strong showing with a 4.41 40 time and a 34-inch vertical at cornerback.
Running back Nick Griffin sported a 34.5-inch vertical and tied defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls with 26 bench press reps at 225-pounds.
Smith and tight end Brandon Hill also took reps at linebacker in order to showcase more versatility for the scouts.
“Some teams asked me to do it and I also wanted to do it to help myself,” Smith said. “I thought maybe it would make me more marketable to teams.”
A total of 20 Bulldogs went through pro day workouts including 2013 team members LaDarius Perkins, Tyler Russell and Nickoe Whitley. Perkins was cut by the Green Bay Packers in the preseason and finished his rookie season on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad.
Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson and New England Patriots linebacker Deontae Skinner were also on hand inside the Palmeiro Center to watch their former teammates get a shot to join them at the next level.
McKinney, Smith and Josh Robinson took part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month although McKinney and Smith only participated in positional drills on Wednesday.
“I feel like I got another chance to come prove myself for the scouts and coaches,” Smith said. “I think this was more individualized. At the combine there was a lot of guys trying to get reps and prove themselves. Here it was more focused on you and a smaller group of guys.”
Robinson was able to shave his 40 time down from a 4.7 at the NFL Combine to a 4.61 on-campus.
Safety Justin Cox was invited NFL Combine but was not on hand for Wednesday’s workout. Cox was suspended indefinitely from the team in late November following an arrest.
Former Tupelo standout P.J. Jones worked out as a defensive tackle and measured in at 6-foot-2, 298-pounds.
The NFL Draft will be held April 30-May 2.