The 2009 NFL Draft going into the books as a rousing success for Missouri and a "Hello, World" moment for Gary Pinkel's program in terms of proving their ability to generate top talent from their program. The six Mizzou draftees were the perfect cross-section of Mizzou's general approach during Pinkel's tenure.
Jeremy Maclin: highly-recruited (4-star) recruit from the St. Louis area. Mizzou had to fend off outsiders (in this case, OU) for his services.
- William Moore: moderately-recruited (3-star) in-state recruit from the outskirts of Missouri, to which Missouri has both the easiest access and the most exposure.
- Ziggy Hood and Stryker Sulak: Texans who flew completely under the radar until Mizzou unearthed them. Both were afterthoughts in Rivals' recruiting rankings until they committed to Mizzou and film of them emerged, at which point they both got bumped from unranked to three stars.
- Chase Coffman: strong (3-star) local athlete from the KC side of the state who chose Mizzou over the usual suspects (KU, KSU, NU, etc.).
- Colin Brown: non-recruit who came to Mizzou due in part to a strongly encouraging preferred walk-on program that also produced Tommy Saunders.
The five above guys who were actually offered and recruited by Missouri made up a small sample of the average Mizzou recruiting class. They have made a living off of under-recruited Texans, rural Missourians, and a few high-profile, big-city Missourians.
From this unprecedented draft success, two main questions arise:
- Will this help from a recruiting perspective?
- Can Mizzou continue this level of success into the future?
The answer to #1 remains to be seen--long-term, it certainly can't hurt, but it remains to be seen how much it helps. With the amount of local talent in the area this year, especially at WR, Mizzou should already be seeing a bit more recruiting success in the 2010 class in terms of Rivals Top 250 guys, and if this success pushes one or two of those recruits over the top, all the better.
The answer to #2, on the other hand, can be determined with a little bit of legwork. Let's take a look at the current roster and give some arbitrary looks at pro potential.
For this exercise, we're going to assign a fun, totally arbitrary 1-5 rating scale to each player.
5 = almost certain to be a high draft pick
4 = almost certain to be drafted
3 = potentially a low-round pick or free agent signing
2 = little to no chance of making a pro roster, even for a bit
1 = no chance
This exercise will also force me to make extremely early decisions on a lot of players, just for the sake of making it through the depth chart. For the evals of some sophomores or redshirt freshmen, I'll be relying on measurables (height, weight, speed, other physical attributes) and hearsay (practice reports, etc.).
Let's get to it!
Blaine Gabbert (2012 Draft Class): 4
Ashton Glaser (2013-14): 3
Blaine Dalton (2013-14): 2
Jimmy Costello (2012): 2
Clearly this is doing a lot of projecting here with such young guys. Gabbert's pro potential is clear. Josh Freeman just got drafted in the first round simply because of size and arm strength, and when Gabbert is ready for the pros, he'll probably be in the 6'5, 240 range. Scouts will drool over that and his arm, whether he's come close to matching Chase Daniel's success or not. His complete inexperience is the only thing preventing him from a 5, but if he puts up good numbers throughout his Mizzou career, he's definitely a 5.
Gabbert is also an interesting test case for the success of "college spread" QBs in the pros. We can argue about the potential of spread guys like Chase Daniel or Graham Harrell, but neither of those guys were 6'5, 240. If Gabbert succeeds in a spread offense AND is drafted highly, the spotlight will be on him a bit to prove whether spread guys can succeed at the highest level.
As for the others...I put Glaser at a 3 simply because he's a shade bigger than Dalton. Dalton's only a smidge taller than Chase Daniel, and he certainly doesn't have the build of a pro quarterback. All of this, however, is taken with a grain of salt since, you know, neither of them have even dressed out for real yet. Minor details there.
Derrick Washington (2011): 4
De'Vion Moore (2012): 2
Gilbert Moye (2012): 2
D-Wash is built very similar to Damien Nash, and Nash stuck on an NFL roster for a while despite never getting over his knee troubles and seeing his speed suffer because of it. Washington is deceptively fast--not sure what he would run at the Combine, but he's certainly game fast--and with NFL size and speed, he will get a look providing he stays healthy over the next couple of years.
De'Vion Moore is probably screwed by his lack of size. Yes, Darren Sproles made it to the pros, but as much as we like Moore, he's no Sproles. He's also not built as strong as Tony Temple (not yet, anyway), and Temple didn't stick on an NFL roster. I look forward to what he can do in black & gold, but he's not built for pro success.
Of course, this says nothing of Kendial Lawrence, who is built a lot like De'Vion Moore, only he's, you know, God. /ghtd36
Danario Alexander (2010): 3-4
Jerrell Jackson (2012): 3
Wes Kemp (2012): 3
Rolandis Woodland (2013): 3
Gahn McGaffie (2010): 2-3
Jared Perry (2010): 2
Brandon Gerau (2012): 1
La'Roderick Thomas (2011): 1
If Danario can stay healthy for an entire season, his combination of size and speed will be VERY enticing. For him, it's all about staying in uniform long enough to put up some nice numbers. Jackson is a wildcard here--he doesn't have Maclin-level speed, but he seems fast enough and is very fundamentally sound. By the end of his career, he'll probably be in the 6'2, 205 range, which is certainly solid. I'm just not sure if he has enough upside to catch scouts' eyes.
Wes Kemp on the other hand, passes the eyeball test, and not only because he was separated at birth from Justin Gage. If Kemp can put up nice numbers and show that he doesn't have a case of stonehands, he has the size that could make somebody pull the trigger.
I made Rolandis Woodland a 3 based on physical attributes only. He's got a long way to go. As for Perry and McGaffie, neither of them have speed that is elite enough to make up for their lack of size. And Gerau needs to put on about 25 pounds before he gets a shot, even if he has the greatest pair of hands in the world.
Andrew Jones (2012) - 3-4
Michael Egnew (2012) - 3
Jon Gissinger (2010) - 1
Jones doesn't have great speed, and he'll suffer from the same "spread tight end who rarely lines up with his hand on the ground" stigma that hurt the draft stock of both Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman. Jones is more the Rucker type of tight end, and that's not a bad place to be. He'll need to show a little more athleticism to get drafted as high as Rucker was (3rd round?), but he could certainly be in line to be drafted by the time his career comes to an end.
Egnew, on the other hand, is a complete wild card. He could end up in the 6'6, 245 range (Coffman-esque), and while he's not Chase Coffman, if he proves to be a durable, reliable redzone weapon, it wouldn't surprise me to see him go in the 5th-7th round range with a pretty successful Mizzou career.
Dan Hoch (2012): 4
Elvis Fisher (2012): 3-4
Kurtis Gregory (2010): 3
Tim Barnes (2011): 3
Jayson Palmgren (2012): 3
Austin Wuebbels (2012): 3
Daniel Jenkins (2013): 3
J.T. Beasley (2012): 2
Taylor Davis (2012): 2
Travis Ruth (2013): 2
Mike Prince (2011): 1
From an NFL standpoint, Hoch is clearly the gem. At 6'7, 300+, he's built a lot like Colin Brown (or at least, how Brown was built after a couple years--that dude just kept growing), only he comes with a 4-star Rivals pedigree to boot. He was also the first true freshman offensive lineman whose redshirt Gary Pinkel has torn off in his time at Missouri. The sky's the limit for this guy.
After Hoch come quite a few athletically-solid-but-not-amazing guys. There are plenty of NFL players built like Kurtis Gregory or Tim Barnes, but they don't have the size that gets them instant attention. As for the ones to whom I gave scores of 2, clearly it's early for guys like Davis and Ruth, but to be a true pro prospect, you have to be making a depth chart move pretty early on, right? Colin Brown started out as a walk-on, but he immediately made his way to second string at the very least.
Aldon Smith (2013) - 4
Jacquies Smith (2012) - 3-4
Brian Coulter (2010) - 3
Brad Madison (2013) - 2
Marcus Malbrough (2013) - 2
That's right, I'm very much aboard the Aldon Smith bandwagon. By the time he leaves Mizzou, #85 could find himself in the 6'5, 260-265 range that, combined with outstanding athleticism, will get him snatched up. Clearly he's still got a ton to prove, but from an atheticism and "he kicked butt during his first spring practice" standpoint, he's a stud.
Honestly, Jacquies Smith could end up every bit as high as A. Smith, but a) he doesn't quite look like he could carry as much weight as AS, b) because he played as a true freshman, he doesn't has quite as long to develop physically, and c) really, disregard (a) and (b)--I just felt like too much of a homer putting both of these guys at a 4.
Brian Coulter is just as physically impressive as Smith and Smith, but I think he's a step behind in terms of overall development. He could put it all together, have a monster year, and end up a high pick, but his odds are just a step below that of Smith and Smith.
Jaron Baston (2010) - 3-4
Terrell Resonno (2012) - 3
Dominique Hamilton (2012) - 3
George White (2013) - 2-3
Jimmy Burge (2013) - 2-3
Chris Earnhardt (2012) - 2
Andy Maples (2010) - 1
Bart Coslet (2011) - 1
Jaron Baston is going to be an interesting prospect. He doesn't have the athletic ability of Ziggy Hood, but really, he's possibly a better pro prospect than Lorenzo Williams was (less quick than 'Zo, but stronger and beefier), and with a pretty strong senior season, I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up in the 3rd-4th round range. We shall see.
As for the others, Resonno and Hamilton are both physically impressive, but we have no idea if their college production will be up to snuff, and guys like White, Burge, and Earnhardt haven't proven anything just yet.
Sean Weatherspoon (2010) - 5
Will Ebner (2012) - 3-4
Andrew Gachkar (2011) - 3
Luke Lambert (2011) - 2-3
Josh Tatum (2011) - 2-3
Tyler Crane (2012) - 1-2
Barring injury, I fully expect 'Spoon to be picked in the first or second round this time next year. Most people do. Beyond that, I'm not sure. Ebner has the highest upside, I think, because of his size/speed combination. Gachkar could work his way onto some lists with productive junior and senior seasons, but he's still only in the 220-225 range. Ebner will likely end up in the 235-245 range and has shown very good instincts for a true sophomore. Gachkar's size and Lambert's speed will be their biggest downfalls, and Josh Tatum hasn't proven what he can do just yet. I gave Crane a "1-2" instead of "1" because I hate giving a sophomore a "no chance" rating.
Carl Gettis (2011) - 3-4
Zaviar Gooden (2013) - 3-4
Kip Edwards (2013) - 3-4
Kevin Rutland (2011) - 3
Jarrell Harrison (2011) - 3
Kenji Jackson (2012) - 3
Trey Hobson (2012) - 3
Robert Steeples (2013) - 3
Munir Prince (2012) - 2-3
Hardy Ricks (2010) - 1-2
Del Howard (2010) - 1
The three guys with the highest upside are Gettis, Gooden, and Edwards. Gettis has great instincts and decent NFL CB size (5'11, 200), but I'm not sure about his speed. Gooden and Edwards are ridiculously physically impressive and are already threatening to see the field as redshirt freshmen.
Kenji Jackson, god love him, probably just isn't big enough to be taken seriously in the draft. And in all, I gave a boatload of guys "3" ratings simply because they seem like good athletes but haven't proven much. I would expect that at least one guy from the "3" list gets bumped to a "4" and at least two get bumped to a "2" by season's end.
Potential Draft Classes
So let's look at that in terms of upcoming draft classes.
Sean Weatherspoon: 5
Danario Alexander: 3-4
Kurtis Gregory: 3
Brian Coulter: 3
Jaron Baston: 3
The 2010 draft will produce a Top 2 Rounder in Weatherspoon, potentially a 3rd-5th rounder in Danario Alexander, and potentially three other draftees/signees. That's really not bad considering this senior class really isn't all that big.
Derrick Washington: 4
Carl Gettis: 3-4
Tim Barnes: 3
Andrew Gachkar: 3
Kevin Rutland: 3
Jarrell Harrison: 3
The 2011 draft probably won't be a huge haul for Mizzou guys. Washington could be anywhere between a 2nd- and 7th-rounder depending on how his final two seasons go, and I don't really know how Gettis will be perceived, but considering this senior class could be absolutely miniscule, this isn't too bad.
Blaine Gabbert: 4
Dan Hoch: 4
Andrew Jones: 3-4
Elvis Fisher: 3-4
Jacquies Smith: 3-4
Hurricane Ebner: 3-4
Jerrell Jackson: 3
Wes Kemp: 3
Michael Egnew: 3
Jayson Palmgren: 3
Austin Wuebbels: 3
Dominique Hamilton: 3
Terrell Resonno: 3
Kenji Jackson: 3
Trey Hobson: 3
Clearly I stuck a lot of underclassmen at "3" because I had no idea what to do with them. I obviously don't expect Missouri to send 15 guys to the pros after the 2011 season. That said, it does look like that's the next great draft (and team) for Mizzou. Between the redshirt sophomores and the guys who played as true frosh last year, the 2012 class looks to be VERY kind to the Tigers on draft day (plus, if Aldon Smith is as good as we say he is, he could be included in this bunch too), which is probably good, as any potential positive impact the 2009 draft will have on Missouri's recruiting will be drying up by then.
Anyway, just thought it would be fun to flesh that out a bit.