Feb. 23, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - Wide receiver Bennie Fowler was the first Spartan to test for the on-field workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Fowler was a top performer in several categories, including the broad jump, where his leap of 10' 6" tied for fifth longest among the wide receivers. He ranked 12th in the 60-yard shuttle with a time of 11.52 and 15th in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.18.
The 6-1, 217-pound Fowler recorded a time of 4.52 in the 40-yard dash and 7.06 in the three-cone drill. His vertical jump was 36.0 inches.
Linebacker Max Bullough, who is scheduled for on-field workouts on Monday, had a strong start to his combine on Sunday by tying for first among the linebackers in the bench press with 30 reps of 225 pounds.
BILL POLIAN TALKS SPARTAN FOOTBALL: Former Indianapolis Colts president/general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian took some time on Sunday to visit with msuspartans.com. Polian chimed in on MSU's potential NFL Draft selections and also the job that Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio has done in East Lansing.
"When you talk about the top coaches in America, Mark Dantonio is in that group," Polian said. "From the NFL standpoint, Michigan State is a place that you like to get kids from because: A) they're disciplined; B) they've been in a program that is as demanding as the NFL; and C) their training is so good, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, that they're ready to play when they come right in because they're used to NFL techniques. They play press coverage; they play multiple coverages; they pattern match; and their techniques and fundamentals are so sound.
"There's a reason why they've won as many games as they have, and there's a reason why they turn out as many NFL players as they do because Mark and his staff do such a great job of running a program that's about as close to the NFL as you can find at the college level."
In addition, Polian remarked how impressed he's been with the player development by the Spartan coaching staff under Dantonio.
"It says two things," commented Polian. "First, they're tracking the right kids. They have good personnel judgment. It doesn't matter what we say in the media. It's what you see in the player, so they're getting players who have the ability to play in the NFL. It's just that they're not recognized by the recruiting services. So good for them, that's to their benefit.
"And secondly, they get them ready to play in the NFL. They take the raw talent that they get - perhaps, not highly visible when they first come to Michigan State - and then they develop them into guys who are ready to play the minute they step into the National Football League. But the most important part is that they're recognizing that talent. If you translated that to the NFL, they've got one of the best personnel departments in all of college football because that's what causes you to win all of these games. Getting those collegiate free agents, getting those low draft choices that's the equivalent of what they're recruiting at the college level, and they're hitting on virtually every one of them."
CHARLES DAVIS, JIM MILLER GIVE THEIR TAKE ON Bennie Fowler: In exclusive interviews with msuspartans.com, NFL Network analyst Charles Davis and Sirius/XM NFL analyst Jim Miller gave their thoughts on Fowler and his stock in the upcoming draft.
"He really did (play lights out late last season)," said Davis, who called the Big Ten Championship Game on FOX Sports. "He really led by example down the stretch when they really needed him in the passing game. He was huge for them, and it paid off, as he got a late call to the Senior Bowl. He came in the night before had a quick brush up with the play sheet; and guess what, they threw him a ball right out of the gate. So I was really happy for him.
"I like his frame and coming out of Michigan State you know a couple of things: No. 1, he's going to know how to practice; No. 2, he's going to know how to complete; and No. 3, you're going to get a really quality kid. So with him coming out here and showing his wares with everyone, it should be a fun time for him because there are a million receivers running around trying to break them all down. It's tough, but since everyone in the league throws the heck out of the ball, there's usually a place for a guy."
"I covered the Senior Bowl and Bennie Fowler shows up; grabs his shoulder pads and helmet midweek and goes out there and starts in the Senior Bowl," remarked Miller. "He's extremely fast for a bigger receiver. His speed is underrated and that's going to help him down at the NFL Combine. He's got great hands, and he's a good route-runner. Teams look for players that are rising, whose stock is going up while playing their best football at the end of the year. And that's what Bennie Fowler did for Michigan State."
WHAT'S NEXT: Live coverage of on-field workouts continues with the linebackers and defensive linemen on Monday, and will conclude with the defensive backs on Tuesday. Coverage of workouts begins each day at 9 a.m. on the NFL Network and NFL.com. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard and safety Isaiah Lewis were scheduled to meet with the media on Sunday but missed the allotted time due to medical evaluations. They will test in front of the scouts on Tuesday.