Mississippi State has not been known as a hotbed for NFL wide receiver talent. In fact, the last Bulldog receiver to be drafted was Buffalo's 1996 first round pick, Eric Moulds. Bumphis' career didn't really take off as it was expected after a fine freshman year, but there's still a strong chance he'll be the next State receiver to hear his name called in Radio City Music Hall due to his ability to move the ball from the slot and contribute in the return game.
The all-state pick from Tupelo stayed home despite ranking among the top recruits in the country by scouting services, and instantly improved MSU's offense as a true freshman. SEC coaches named him to their All-Freshman team after leading the Bulldogs in receiving (32-375, four touchdowns) and gaining 383 yards as a kick returner. He led the team in receiving again in 2010 (44-634, five scores), as well as punt returns (16-137). Despite starting 12 games as a junior, Bumphis had his lowest receiving numbers (25-339, three touchdowns) and had little return yardage save an 82-yard punt return for a score against Louisiana Tech. He was also arrested for disorderly conduct just one day after his team's Music City Bowl win over Wake Forest.
During the 2012 season, Bumphis had college career highs in receptions (58), yards (922) and touchdowns (12). At Mississippi State's pro day, Bumphis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 and 4.52 seconds, 6.91 in the three-cone drill and 4.26 in the short shuttle. He had a 35-inch vertical and 9-10 broad jump, and performed 17 lifts of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Quicker-than-fast slot receiver with a more solid overall build than most inside threats. Flashes strong hands in traffic, can snatch the ball away from his body on high, low or wide passes. Presents elusiveness after the catch, takes hitch routes inside against leaning defenders to gain extra yardage. Foot quickness allows him to freeze slot defenders, cut inside or out to create separation, and challenge corners off the line with some explosiveness when not pressed. Displays toughness as a run blocker, has the strength to lock onto slot corners and generally gets the blocking angle to create a lane. Lack of consistency in the team's quarterback play hurt his production.
Shorter receiver limited to the inside at the next level. Doesn't always play as physically as his build represents, will struggle against press coverage unless he uses his hands more effectively. Lacks elite speed to get the edge on reverses or breakaway once out-quicking his opponent after the catch. Slows down before his cuts at times, allowing defenders to jump the route. Has the occasional drop when losing concentration or trying to run before the catch. Has elusiveness and tough running style to be a punt or kick returner, but must prove the speed and decisiveness to be effective in that role. Resorts to cut blocks outside on screens when he could stand up to the defender.
Mississippi State hasnt had a wide receiver drafted since Eric Moulds was picked by Buffalo in the first round in 1996, but Bumphis combination of quickness and strength in the slot could get his name called in 2013. Hes not elite in his speed or height, but his effectiveness working the middle of the field and potential as a reliable return threat makes him a draftable prospect who will produce on a team more consistently prolific than the Bulldogs.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.