When taking a look at the 2014 NFL draft, football fans keep hearing names such as Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney and Teddy Bridgewater over and over again, and Mississippi State fans keep hearing the names of two Bulldogs, Gabe Jackson and LaDarius Perkins, popup much more than Mississippi State players. With the draft a few days away, here are a few things worth following.
1) Which Mississippi State players have a legitimate shot of being drafted or being signed as an undrafted free agent?
Coming into the season, most prospect pages listed quite a few Bulldogs as players with NFL futures. Jackson and Perkins headlined the list, and players such as Tyler Russell and Nickoe Whitley were deemed important to follow throughout the season.
That season did some damage to the draft stock of some players. Russell suffered an injury and has not had the opportunity to show much to scouts since his last regular season game. However, Gil Brandt has listed Russell as in intriguing prospect to move to the tight end position. Whitley also played most of the season injured, and has spent much of the postseason recovering and unable to work out for teams.
Others have seen their stock rise and fall since the season ended. Charles Siddoway had managed to move onto the "Day Three" list, but his recent arrest has cast a cloud of doubt around his stock in the draft. Denico Autry came to Mississippi State from East Mississippi Community College, but did not manage to replicate the numbers he produced for the JUCO national champions. Even so, he is still considered a day three prospect. Deontae Skinner has also had attention as a potential pickup after the draft.
All of that said, the two players most likely to hear their names called in the 2014 NFL draft are Jackson and Perkins.
2) When will Gabe Jackson get drafted?
Many Mississippi State fans entered the season hoping that Jackson could be the third Mississippi State player to be drafted in the first round in four years, but since the start of the season, that hope has started to fade just a bit. However, some folks still have a first round grade on Jackson, but most people have slid him into the second or third round of the draft. Should he go in the first round, he will be the ninth Bulldog taken with a first round selection.
3) How have Dan Mullen's players fared in the draft?
Since Dan Mullen came to Starkville, 12 players have heard their name called in the NFL draft. His 12 players still have a way to go to catch the 36 drafted players under Jackie Sherrill, but Mullen is well on pace to surpass that number if he stays in Starkville as long as Sherrill (13 years).
One area where Mullen has tied Sherrill is first round draft picks as both have coached two first round draft picks.
An interesting note might be that even though Mullen is considered an "offensive" coach, nine of his drafted players came from the defensive side of the ball: Darius Slay (CB), Johnthan Banks (CB), Josh Boyd (DT), Fletcher Cox (DT), Charles Mitchell (S), K. J. Wright (LB), Chris White (LB), Pernell McPhee (DE), Jamar Cheney (LB). The offensive players have been Vick Ballard (RB), Derrick Sherrod (OT), and Anthony Dixon (RB).