Max Bullough NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report and More

Darren PageFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2014

Oct 12, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Max Bullough (40) looks over Indiana Hoosiers offense during the second half in a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 42-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State (HT: 6’3.5”, WT: 249 lbs)


NFL Comparison: Erin Henderson, LB, Minnesota Vikings

Combine Weigh-In
6'3.5"249 lbs31"9.375"
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle



  • Noted team leader with fine intangibles. 
  • Play-recognition skills improved throughout collegiate career. 
  • Rock-solid build that will withstand the grind of being an NFL linebacker. 
  • More effective in backpedal to get depth in pass coverage than expected. 
  • Instinctively plays the ball in the air when in position. 
  • Can overpower running backs as a blitzer—likes to drop his shoulder. 
  • Doesn’t run himself out of plays often by overpursuing or losing gap discipline. 
  • Throws his weight around in the box and can plug up the movement of the offensive line. 
  • Takes on lead blocks and pulling guards with aggression and notable power. 
  • Flashes heavy hands to jolt blockers with upper-body strength. 
  • Pursues in space with disciplined angles. 
  • Breaks down when he arrives at the ball to counter quicker ball-carriers. 
  • Powerful tackler who can stop backs dead in their tracks. 
  • Anticipates routes well to limit separation in man coverage. 
  • No durability concerns.



  • Built top-heavy and doesn’t play with optimal balance. 
  • Little acceleration on initial steps and negligible closing speed in space. 
  • Horizontal range to chase perimeter plays is heavily limited. 
  • Builds up speed slowly as a blitzer, needing to drive forward from space. 
  • Leggy mover whose flexibility and foot quickness are both marginal. 
  • Lacks range in coverage and doesn’t get to spots quickly in zone looks. 
  • Stiff hips to turn and run or turn to locate the ball in a timely manner. 
  • Doesn’t naturally flow over the top of edge runs with lateral agility—has to turn and run. 
  • Can be indecisive and sit on his heels while reading. As a result, blockers get into position too easily. 
  • Poor awareness of blockers’ positioning in run fits and gets pinned too often by blocks he doesn’t anticipate. 
  • Doesn’t make enough plays on runs outside of the gap he’s controlling. 
  • Poor habit of dropping his head into contact with blockers and losing eye contact with the ball. 
  • Inconsistent meeting blockers with hands and extending to disengage. 
  • Less than optimal length to keep blockers off his frame. 
  • Struggles to recover when wrong-sided by a block—lack of lateral quickness a factor.


Collegiate Statistics
2010Michigan State231.50.5001
2011Michigan State8973.5221
2012Michigan State11112.52.5141
2013Michigan State769.51.5120

Personal Notes

  • A 4-star prospect as a recruit in the class of 2009—No. 4 ranked inside linebacker by ESPN.
  • Two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection. 
  • Two-time team captain. 
  • 2012 Biggie Munn award winner for team’s most inspiration player. 
  • 2012 Iron Man award winner for team strength and conditioning. 
  • 2013 First Team Academic All-American. 
  • Arrested and charged for minor possession of alcohol in 2011. 
  • Suspended for 2014 Rose Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules.


Ratings Chart

Graph made at



Max Bullough is everything you look for in a collegiate middle linebacker, especially in a conference like the Big Ten. His rough-and-tumble style fits.

Unfortunately, his lack of sufficient athleticism will marginalize his effectiveness as an NFL linebacker. It’s not only that he isn’t fast in the open field; his quickness in short areas, balance and flexibility to play off blocks, and length to take them on, are all less than ideal. 

He projects as a 3-4 inside linebacker who would have been called a two-down linebacker a few years ago. In today’s NFL, that linebacker doesn’t see the field much.


Draft Projection: Seventh round