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Who else from Missouri might enter the 2018 NFL Draft early?

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We go eligible Missouri underclassman by eligible Missouri underclassman and discuss their chances in this new series!

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Missouri
Charles Harris: another diamond in the rough unearthed by a Missouri staff that’s been uncommonly good at it.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Based on the outpouring of positive affection following the Drew Lock article last week, I thought, “Hey! Why not do this for all of the underclassmen on Missouri’s roster who will be eligible for the 2018 Draft?”

So we’re going to go player-by-player and weigh their chances at making the leap after this season. Today, in the first part of our 42-part series: offensive tackle Paul Adams.

Nah, I’m just kidding. But we are going to talk about something having to do with the draft.

Charles Harris’ trip to the Combine this week (his first day in Indianapolis is today, by the way) and then, hopefully, the first round got me thinking about Missouri’s reputation for turning lightly recruited players into draft picks.

Is it earned? If it is, does that necessarily mean the Tigers aren’t quite as successful grooming their higher-profile prospects into draft picks?

The short answers to those questions are “yes,” and “not really.” But you know me. I’ve never been into short answers.

I looked at every player drafted off an SEC team over the past 10 drafts: 2007 to 2016. I separated them out by how many Rivals stars they had coming out of high school (or junior college).

I also tallied up how many signees each SEC team had by star from 2002 through 2015, or all the classes that would have made up the 2007-16 drafts.

Then I saw how many of those signees got drafted overall and, beyond that, what percentage of each team’s signees got drafted by star rating.

A couple flaws with this method. One, walk-ons don’t count toward the signing classes. So Colin Brown is free money for Missouri, for instance. Two, transfers don’t count toward signing classes. So Ryan Mallett is free money for Arkansas, for instance.

I still think it’s a pretty fair study, though, because the numbers of guys from both categories are pretty negligible.

And a third. There are still guys from the 2012-15 classes who are kicking around SEC rosters waiting to be drafted this year or over the next couple. So all the percentages are less than they’d be in May.

But everyone’s working at the same disadvantage in that regard, so it all cancels out. In my mind, at least.

Anyway, here are the big findings.

Missouri is about as good as it gets in the SEC when it comes to getting its 2-star and below guys drafted.

The Tigers signed 72 of that type over the study period and sent seven to the draft, or 9.87 percent. That’s much better than the SEC average for that time (5.37) and third to only Florida (11.8) and Arkansas (11.3) in the SEC. And Florida’s stat is a little misleading, signed only 17 and sent two to the draft.

(And yes, if you take out Brown, Missouri’s total dips to 8.33. But that still ties for fifth in the SEC and I’ve already declared the shortcomings. So get off my back, OK?)

Sean Weatherspoon, Justin Britt, Michael Egnew, Stryker Sulak, Andrew Gachkar and Michael Sam all came to Missouri as 2-star recruits and left as draft picks. Danario Alexander wasn’t bad either.

But you know what else was pretty interesting? Missouri does well by its highest-profile recruits as well.

All three of the five-star recruits the Tigers netted — Blaine Gabbert, Sheldon Richardson and Dorial Green-Beckham — ended up drafted. Missouri’s the only SEC team in this period to bat 1.000 with its five-stars. Even though schools such as Florida (18), Alabama (13) and LSU (7) have sent many more to the draft.

Here’s the raw data, and we’ll reconvene afterwards for a chat:

The numbers below in the first two sheets are what percentage of the total SEC signees/draftees each team made up. The numbers to the right are the proportion of each team’s signees/draftees made up by each star rating.

If I may also harken back to my “Recruiting Rankings Matter” post for a moment, these numbers reinforce that recruiting rankings do matter.

What matters? Recruiting rankings.

Yes, but do recruiting rankings really matter? Yes. Yes, they do.

Over these 14 signing classes, 49 percent of the players that signed with SEC schools were 3-star, 29 percent were 4-star, 18 percent were 2 and under and only 4 percent were 5-star.

But if you look at the corresponding draft classes, 42 percent of the drafted players were 4-stars, 36 were 3-star, 13 were 5-star and almost 10 were 2 and under.

If you were a 4- or 5-star recruit, you had a 16.7 percent chance of getting drafted. If you were 3 and under, your chance was 6.5 percent. So you were 2.6 times more likely to get drafted if you were 4- or 5-star than 3-star and under.

Gnitiurcer. Sgniknar. Rettam.

Even so, though, if you’re a mid- to low-level guy, you can do a lot worse than heading to Missouri if you want to get drafted.

While the Tigers’ overall percentage of signees draft (8.87) ranks eighth in the league and well behind the upper-echelon teams -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU are all hovering around nearly twice that — its percentage of 3-star and under guys that get drafted (8.16) ranks sixth. Its total — 23 — ranks first.

So, when Charles Harris does get drafted this spring, he’ll just be strengthening Missouri’s bona fides as a program that can take average-to-overlooked recruits and turns them into draft picks.

And hey, who knows? Maybe a 5-star recruit will see this post and give Missouri a second look. Because the Tigers are pitching a perfect game, if I may mix sports metaphors.

Let’s close with some top-5 lists, shall we?

Pct. Signees That Are 5-Star Pct. Signees That Are 4-Star Pct. Signees That Are 3-Star Pct. Signees That Are 2-Star and Under
Florida (10.5) LSU (50.0) Missouri (64.2) Vanderbilt (49.8)
Alabama (8.71) Florida (49.1) Arkansas (62.9) Kentucky (41.1)
LSU (7.80) Georgia (49.1) Ole Miss (56.0) Mississippi State (32.4)
Tennessee (6.88) Alabama (43.5) South Carolina (54.8) Missouri (22.0)
Georgia (4.76) Tennessee (41.3) Texas A&M (54.3) Arkansas (19.5)
Pct. Players Drafted Pct. 5-Stars Drafted Pct. 4-Stars Drafted Pct. 3-Stars Drafted Pct. 2-Stars and Under Drafted
LSU (17.9) Missouri (100; 3/3) Arkansas (23.0; 14/61) LSU (13.8; 18/130) Florida (11.8; 2/17)
Florida (17.3) Arkansas (66.7; 2/3) LSU (20.8; 36/173) Alabama (11.1; 16/144) Arkansas (11.3; 8/71)
Alabama (16.6) Florida (52.9; 18/34) Georgia (20.0; 33/165) Georgia (10.0; 14/140) Missouri (9.72; 7/72)
Georgia (15.8) Ole Miss (50.0; 5/10) Alabama (18.7; 29/155) Florida (8.77; 10/114) South Carolina (9.09; 5/55)
Arkansas (10.2) South Carolina (42.9; 3/7) Florida (16.4; 26/159) Auburn (8.48; 14/165) Auburn (8.33; 4/48)