Darqueze Dennard was taken 24th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2014 NFL Draft and although he was the only Michigan State player taken, eight other Spartans have signed with NFL teams. MSU’s eight undrafted signees are the most of any B1G team.
LB Max Bullough, Houston Texans
WR Bennie Fowler, Denver Broncos
LB Denicos Allen, Carolina Panthers
S Isaiah Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
T/G Dan France, Cincinnati Bengals
DT Tyler Hoover, Indianapolis Colts
DT Micajah Reynolds, New Orleans Saints
OL Fou Fonoti, San Francisco 49ers
Max Bullough was projected to be taken anywhere from the fifth to the seventh round. An underwhelming performance at the East-West Shrine Game and a suspension for the Rose Bowl hurt his draft stock. But despite the negatives, Bullough was still considered a worthwhile prospect because of his intangibles and leadership ability. It came as a surprise that the heart and soul of the best defense in the country didn’t get drafted, but his absence in the Rose Bowl could have hurt his stock in more than one way. Not only were teams concerned with his behavior that got him suspended, they may have also seen how well the Spartans defense played without him in Pasadena and questioned his true value. Nevertheless, Bullough will get his chance in Houston to join Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt on the vaunted Texans defense.
Bennie Fowler was another Spartan who could have been a late-round pick, but ended up as an undrafted free agent. Fowler impressed at the NFL combine, posting a 4.52 40 yard dash time and tying Sammy Watkins with the 5th best broad jump amongst wide receivers. Fowler has the size and look of an NFL receiver, but a history of injuries and inconsistent play caused NFL teams to shy away from him. If Fowler manages to make the Broncos he will be a special teams contributor and might get a chance to catch a few passes from Peyton Manning.
After not being invited to the NFL Combine, it wasn’t a shock that Denicos Allen wasn’t drafted. However, all Allen did in East Lansing was produce. He finished his career with 278 tackles, 46 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. Despite his collegiate production, his small stature put him on the outside looking in at the NFL. He’ll be a solid special teams player for Carolina, and could eventually make an impact on defense as an outside linebacker or safety.
Isaiah Lewis and Dan France will be joining Darqueze Dennard with the Bengals. Lewis tweeted his excitement about joining Dennard in Cincinnati.
— Isaiah Lewis (@showtimezo9) May 11, 2014
Tyler Hoover, Micajah Reynolds and Fou Fonoti each have the size to play at the next level, but will have to prove they can contribute on special teams if they want to stick on their respective team’s rosters.
Rose Bowl hero Kyler Ellsworth will also get a shot at an NFL career as he has a tryout with the Washington Redskins. He has yet to sign a contract.