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2015 NFL Draft: Shane Ray's toe injury is improving, Mitch Morse moves inside

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With the NFL Draft approaching quickly, let's check on how four former Tigers are faring in their attempts to land in the league.

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Mizzou Tigers pennant Shane Ray

Shane Ray went through ESPN's "Car Wash" last week and he nailed almost every aspect of it. A lingering toe injury, one that he and doctors insist will not require surgery, caused a stir recently and led to his name dropping significantly in some mock drafts. It may still cause teams to hesitate picking him until later in the first round. Right now, I think we'll end up seeing him drafted in the teens.

2015 NFL Draft: Shane Ray 6-pack Q&A with Rock M Nation - Dawgs By Nature

2. Ray isn't overly imposing size wise, however he's very athletic and explosive for his stature. Is this his best attribute?

[Jack Peglow]: Shane's explosiveness off the line is the reason he was able to tally 14.5 sacks this past season. I think I can count the number of times he attempted a power rush on a single hand. I can't blame him, though. If I could use my first step to turn an offensive tackle into a human revolving door as effectively as Ray, I wouldn't bother with bull-rushes either. But his speed isn't the only thing that makes him special; he also runs on one of the best motors in the game. He and Markus Golden (who isn't getting nearly as much love as I expected he would, but that's a rabbit-hole I won't be diving down today) consistently made plays 15-20 yards away from their position at the snap. Sometimes that meant flowing across the line of scrimmage to drop a running back heading away from them, and other times it meant being the tackler on record after a short pass completion. That's not something you see many DEs doing, and it's a testament to Ray's tenacity and relentlessness.

And in case you missed it, SB Nation's Stephen White, a former NFL lineman, talked about Ray a few weeks ago.

Ray is 6'3 and possesses a long frame. Putting on 20 pounds or so shouldn't be too hard for him to do if he works at it. That would put him at around 265 pounds, heavy enough for a 4-3 defensive end. Unfortunately, that's still pretty damn light for anything along a 3-4 defensive line. Even projecting the extra 20 pounds, you are still stuck with 4-3 defensive end and pure 3-4 rush linebacker as the only good fits for Ray's services full time.

The good news is that until he is ready to start and play every down, you can always use him just as a nickel rusher because he happens to be really f***ing good at pass rushing. You can't get 14.5 sacks on the season like Ray did without being a pretty good pass rusher, so this probably isn't news to anybody. Let me say this too, after watching him whup Florida left tackle D.J. Humphries' ass for two sacks, I can attest to the fact that he wasn't just beating up on weak competition, either.

2015 NFL Draft: If Shane Ray falls to the Steelers at No. 22 he could be the steal of the Draft - Behind the Steel Curtain

Scouting the SEC: Missouri's Top Prospects in 2015 NFL Draft - CBSSports.com

Shane Ray, OLB, Redshirt Junior (6-3, 245, 4.68)

NFLDraftScout.com Rank: #23 overall/#3 OLB

Projection: First-Second Round

In his first season as a starter, Ray simply emerged as the SEC's most feared edge rusher, racking up 61 tackles, including 21 tackles for loss and 14 sacks to give the Tigers their second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year winner. Ray possesses an extraordinary first-step, as well as the balance and flexibility to turn the corner and harass quarterbacks. He is still developing complementary moves and lacks strength to hold up at the point of attack, which could push him to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at the next level, rather than the 4-3 defensive end role in which he starred for Mizzou. Ray possesses the talent to earn top 15 consideration but his slow recovery from a foot injury, mediocre Pro Day workout and inexplicable arrest this week for drug possession could push him down the board.

Obviously, the news that Shane Ray was cited for possession of marijuana on Monday morning changes some things. Many believe that he'll fall out of the first round.

Mizzou Tigers pennant Markus Golden

PowerMizzou.com: Golden focused on results

"You never know (where he could be selected). You get different stuff from different teams. Some say you're first round, second round, third round, depending on what the teams think about you and where you fit in their scheme, where they expect you to play in their defense."

The most Golden would let on was that he's worked out for "a bunch of teams" recently, and there's been interest in him as a 3-4 linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end. Golden has plenty of experience at linebacker, as he only moved to defensive end for his final two seasons in college. He played linebacker at Affton (Mo.) High School, along with his time at Hutchinson C.C. in Kansas.

Mizzou Tigers pennant Mitch Morse

Mizzou's Morse hopes to carry on new tradition : Dave Matter

"We may not get the biggest names," Morse said, "but Justin started something last year, and I hope to kind of continue that."

As Morse spent the last three months auditioning for the NFL, the name Justin Britt followed him like a shadow. Britt, like Morse an unheralded recruit when he arrived at Mizzou, bounced around the offensive line and settled at left tackle as a senior in 2013. He earned All-SEC honors and the attention of the Seattle Seahawks. The NFC West team surprised Britt when he became its second of two second-round picks last year at No. 64 overall. Coming from a program burdened by the stigma of not producing ready-made NFL blockers, Britt was Mizzou’s highest drafted offensive lineman since the Raiders took tackle John Clay 15th in 1987.

Morse brings momentum to the draft ($$$)

2015 NFL Draft: Scouting Mitch Morse, Missouri Offensive lineman - Mile High Report

Does Morse fit with the Broncos?

He fits perfectly.

Morse has all the desired traits that you look for in a zone blocking offensive lineman. He has the athleticism, strength, intelligence and foot speed to fit in nicely. While Morse played tackle in college, he will move inside in the pros. I believe he's a day one starter for a zone-blocking scheme at the left guard position. Some even believe the versatile Morse is best suited at center.

Mizzou Tigers pennant Michael Sam on Finebaum