Feb. 23, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - Running back Le'Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims met with the media on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium to discuss their experience so far at the event and what they've done to prepare for this weekend's testing.
"I'm in the best shape of my life right now," said Bell, who rushed for 1,793 yards as a junior in 2012, the second-highest single-season total in Michigan State history. "I feel a lot lighter, a lot quicker, more explosive and faster. I'm ready to show everyone what I'm able to do."
"Just losing weight, getting faster, and working on my hands," Sims said on what he's been working on since the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. "It will definitely show. I just want to make a name for myself and put it out there that I have the ability to be one of the top guys in this draft.
"Playing under Coach D, Coach (Dan) Roushar and Coach (Mark) Staten, those guys instilled a solid foundation for me in blocking, running routes and catching passes, so it's really going to help a lot."
In addition, MSUSpartans.com caught up with San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who talked about former Spartans Garrett Celek and Trenton Robinson and how they performed in their rookie year for the NFC Champion 49ers.
"(Garrett) was one of our real good stories," remarked Harbaugh. "I have a lot of respect for Garrett's work ethic and his talent, and he's a fine person. I have a real good feeling about him - with his attitude and his work ethic, things are going to work out just fine for Garrett Celek.
"(Trenton) made some significant improvement as the season went on. On a personal level, I really became close and fond of Trenton. I really thought he grew up fast, and that's going to be really good for him moving forward."
COUSINS' PERSPECTIVE: Former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins was on campus in East Lansing Friday morning and took some time to talk about his experience at last year's NFL Combine and also gave a scouting report on his former teammates that are currently testing in Indianapolis.
On Le'Veon Bell...
"I think Le'Veon is a special football player. People may question his speed; they may question how short his career was in terms of the years he was here (at MSU). There's nothing he can't do. He has proven he can run away from defenses; he's proven he can pass protect; he's proven he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Not only that, but he can do all these things better than people realize. It's going to take him getting into a game in helmet and shoulder pads to really show what he can do.
"Le'Veon was not a major recruit, much like I was not a major recruit, but it took Le'Veon getting on the football field to show people how good of a football player he is. Regardless of his 40 time, regardless of how he tests in Indianapolis, he's going to have a tremendous football career, as long as he carries himself like a professional. I've learned that that's the key. Players get drafted but the smart players last. So as long as he and these other rookies study, work, prepare, and carry themselves like a professional does, they're all talented enough to last in the NFL a long time."
On Dion Sims...
"I don't know with Dion Sims, if there's anything he can't do. His size enables him in the run game to be a force. He moves people off the line of scrimmage and he has some of the best hands, in terms of catching the football, that I've ever been around and I've been around some good receivers, but Dion's may be the best I've ever seen. So between that size and yet that finesse to catch that football, he's tough to stop. It's just a matter of finding a team that's going to utilize those skills and put him to work. Again, as long as he's willing to the work in himself, be accountable, be active to develop himself, both he and Le'Veon, I believe the sky's the limit. Good things are going to happen for both of them."
On William Gholston...
"Well, I think Will has all the tools. When you go to a combine, that's made for Will Gholston, he's going to shine greatly. I don't think coaches are worried about his combine testing, I think they're going to take a look at the interviews and get to know him as a person: `Let's open him up and see what's inside,' and I think there's a lot there.
"I think Will is going to mature and continue to mature. You've got to understand, he was only at Michigan State for three years. He came in an 18-year-old. He's much younger leaving Michigan State than I was. There are still many years to mature, but I think Will, again surrounding himself with the right people, will be just fine.
"He'll have a tremendous career but he certainly has everything inside in terms of the athletic ability to be a dominant force both as a pass rusher and as a run stopper. I think whoever gets him will be really excited about whatever they have in him going into this next season."
On Johnny Adams...
"Johnny's special. Again, a guy that I think is underrated. He's a little bit more slender than your typical NFL cornerback, but he's a fighter. He doesn't play like he's too small. He's tough, he's fast, he has a swagger about him that you want to see in a corner. He's OK being put on an island. He's mentally tough; he's going to work, another guy who got his degree while he was here (at MSU) and finished the right way academically. So I'm excited about Johnny. I think he's the kind of guy that whatever challenge gets thrown in front of him, he's going to overcome it and keep pushing. You can't hold Johnny down.
"So what I'm excited about with these four potential draft picks and this rookie class coming out of Michigan State, is whoever gets them is going to be really excited about what they have. Whether it's a sixth round pick or a first round pick, anywhere between, or free agent, whoever gets them is going to say, `boy, we got a steal wherever we got them' because these guys all have special ability. I think back to these four guys and I remember so many times at Michigan State saying to myself, `man, I'm glad they're on my team', `I'm glad I don't have to watch Le'Veon Bell running against our defense', `I'm glad I don't have to watch Johnny Adams across the ball covering my receivers', `I'm glad I don't have to see Dion Sims going down the middle catching passes', and `I'm really glad I don't have to see Will Gholston coming off the edge trying to knock my head off.' But, the reality is I'm probably going to have to see these guys someday on Sundays going against me and I think the ultimate compliment to them is how nervous that makes me because I know how good they are and to be honest, I don't want to see them on the other side of the football like I may have to do."
On the combine experience...
"Well, when you think NFL Combine, the first thoughts that come to mind for the average fan is the testing, the 40-yard dash specifically, along with the vertical jump, the weigh-in, the shuttle. All those things that the coaches are going to see and that they're going to televise to show these guys' athleticism.
"But that's really only one day. There are four days at the NFL Combine and each position group is given a different set of days. Only one of those days is the actual testing inside Lucas Oil Stadium. The other three days involve medical examinations; whether it be X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, you name it, visiting with multiple team physicians from just about every NFL team. You have meetings every night with teams. Between the interviews with the position coaches of each team, the media interviews you're going to do, the medical examinations, and then the testing, which is always on the final day, it is a strenuous, difficult four days.
"But you tend to be well prepared for it because of your experiences at Michigan State and you know what it's like to deal with pressure. I felt like, not only myself but all the rookie class last year from Michigan State excelled at the combine. They represented not only Michigan State but themselves very well. I'm excited for these guys to be able to do that as well.
"It's a relief that the combine is in the rearview mirror and now I've got my second year to be able to look forward to. I tell people I'm so glad I'm not a rookie because they have a little more credibility in the locker room being a veteran player. It'll be very nice."
WHAT'S NEXT: Live coverage of on-field workouts begins Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. with the offensive linemen, tight ends and kickers, and continues with the running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers on Sunday, Feb. 24, linebackers and defensive linemen on Monday, Feb. 25, and defensive backs on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Coverage of workouts begins each day at 9 a.m. on the NFL Network and NFL.com.
ABOUT THE NFL COMBINE: The NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) is organized and operated by National Football Scouting, Inc. NFL Network and NFL.com will provide more than 60 hours of live coverage from Lucas Oil Stadium. More than 600 NFL personnel, including head coaches, general managers, scouts and medical staff representing all 32 teams, will attend the Scouting Combine and evaluate more than 330 of the nation's top college players eligible for the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft through on-field drills, physical testing, psychological exams, as well as formal and informal interviews.