Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State (HT: 6’3”, WT: 249 lbs)
|40-yd dash||10-yd split||Vert||Broad||3-Cone||Shuttle|
- 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 back pedal 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 over-pursuing 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 who’s 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 of his frame.
- Struggles to recover when wrong-sided by a block—lack of lateral quickness a factor.
NFL Comparison: Erin Henderson, LB, Minnesota Vikings
- 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.
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: Late-rounder