"It's pretty cool," Mullen said. "It's what we envision here. When we go out and recruit, we're looking for guys that can develop into what we hope they can become. It's great for our program and it's certainly great for those guys."
The Bulldogs have been regulars in the NFL draft during the Mullen era with several players hearing their names called in the early rounds including 2015 picks Preston Smith and Benardrick McKinney who were both second round selections.
While Mississippi State looks to provide student athletes with a well-rounded experience, their head football coach understands that every college player has pro football aspirations. Some lightly regarded prospects out of high school have worked hard in Starkville to become NFL prospects.
"I take a lot of pride in all of that," Mullen said. "Everybody that comes here dreams of going on to play in the NFL someday. I always tell them that it's a great dream. It should be a goal, but it's not your sole goal. That's not all our program is about, but it's so great to see that dream come true for some of our guys."
Of the current 16 Bulldogs in the NFL, all played for Mullen and 13 were Mullen signees. Three other former Bulldogs signed on NFL programs as practice squad players. The Bulldogs' head man reports that to see so many players leave Starkville and continuing playing on the professional level is something that brings him a great deal of pride as a coach.
"It's a big deal and we take a lot of pride in all of that," Mullen said. "For me personally more than anything else, I get to look at a young man and see that he accomplished his goals. I don't know how big of a part we are, but just knowing that you're a part of seeing young men see their dreams come true is a pretty special thing."
The following Mississippi State Bulldogs will continue their playing careers in the NFL this season:
Denico Autry - Oakland Raiders
Vick Ballard - Indianapolis Colts
Johnthan Banks - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Boyd - Green Bay Packers
Blaine Clausell - New England Patriots *
Fletcher Cox - Philadelphia Eagles
Dillon Day - Denver Broncos *
Anthony Dixon - Buffalo Bills
Kaleb Eulls - New Orleans Saints
Gabe Jackson - Oakland Raiders
Malcolm Johnson - Cleveland Browns
Kyle Love - Carolina Panthers
Benardrick McKinney - Houston Texans
Pernell McPhee - Chicago Bears
Josh Robinson - Indianapolis Colts
Darius Slay - Detroit Lions
Preston Smith - Washington Redskins
Deontae Skinner - Philadelphia Eagles *
K.J. Wright - Seattle Seahawks
* denotes practice squad