The Most Promising, NFL-Bound Mizzou Players
Over the past 12 years, Coach Pinkel has turned over dozens of former players to the NFL.
But one of the many benefits of joining the SEC is the number of NFL scouts attending Mizzou games. Thanks to the additional exposure, more Missouri players may be able to sneak up on draft boards.
Here’s who could be drafted in the next couple of years.
2013 Draft Prospects
LB – Zaviar Gooden – Round 4-7 – 6-foot-2, 230 pounds. Gooden is now entering his third full season as the starting weak side linebacker. Gooden recorded at least 80 tackles in his last two seasons while providing numerous big plays on defense. He needs to put on a few pounds of muscle to compliment his athleticism and quickness, but expect him to be a late round pick this summer. If he can produce at a high level against SEC offenses, his draft stock could rise.
WR – T.J. Moe – Round 4-7 – 6 feet, 200 pounds. Mizzou’s own version of Wes Welker, Moe has lead the Tigers in receiving the past two seasons. However, at his size, it would be stretch for him to get drafted before the 5th round. Moe is a dependable slot receiver who is not afraid to go over the middle, but don’t be surprised if he begins his NFL career as a return specialist.
LB – Will Ebner – Round 5-Undrafted – 6 feet, 230 pounds. Ebner has been plagued with injuries over his collegiate career, but the redshirt senior middle linebacker is back for his final season. Ebner doesn’t have great size, but he makes up for it with high football intelligence and a knack for always being around the ball. Expect him to contribute somewhere on special teams.
Other potential late round/undrafted players include LT Elvis Fisher and DB Kip Edwards.
2013-2015 Draft Prospects
DT – Sheldon Richardson – Round 1-4 – 6-foot-4, 295 pounds. Perhaps Mizzou’s highest rated NFL prospect, the redshirt junior is starting to make a name for himself. Richardson anchors a very talented defensive line and shows exceptional speed for a DT. This is a player whose stock can rise if he stays for his senior season. Is he the next Ziggy Hood?
DE – Kony Ealy – Round 1-5 – 6-foot-5, 265 pounds. Only a redshirt sophomore, Ealy has already shown NFL-caliber pass rushing abilities. He is another player whose draft stock will rise as he gets more reps at defensive end. Ealy has the size and potential to become a huge play-maker for the Tigers in the next few seasons.
QB – James Franklin – Round 2-5 – 6-foot-2, 228 pounds. Perhaps the most intriguing prospect for the Tigers is Franklin. The junior has shown he can be mobile and accurate, but perhaps a lot of scouts are wondering how strong his arm is and whether or not he can remain healthy. If Franklin continues to improve his mechanics and decision-making, he could be a solid middle round draft pick.
RB – Henry Josey – Round 3-7 – 5-foot-10 190 pounds. If there’s one position Missouri has not produced for the NFL it would be running back. Maybe Josey can change that. He opened a lot of eyes with a monster 2011 season that was cut short due to a devastating knee injury that will keep him out this entire season. The 2011 Doak Walker Semifinalist will return as a junior next season. He possesses good speed and quickness to go along with a lot of explosiveness. If he can perform the way he did in his sophomore campaign, he can creep up a lot of draft boards.
*WR – Dorial Green-Beckham- Top 10 – Round 1 – 6-foot-6 220 pounds. The number one wide receiver in 2012 recruiting class, DGB has the size, athleticism, and skills to be a potential top ten pick. It is obviously too early to tell just how good this freshman can be, but it looks like the sky is the limit.
Two other Tigers to keep an eye on are WRs Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington. Both stand at 6-foot-5, with Lucas weighing 215, 20 more pounds than Washington. Washington is more of a deep threat/play-maker, while Lucas shows good hands and route running ability.