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The Missouri Tigers Legends Draft: Round V

The west side of the state has produced some excellent talent over the years and two of those gentlemen hear their names called in the fifth round.

Just jumping in? Here are the previous rounds of the Missouri Tigers Football Draft:

Round I

Round II

Round III

Round IV

Welcome, Tiger fans, to #PeakOffseasonContent. Despite a lack of championships, the Missouri Football Tigers have had some excellent players throughout the years, both at the college and professional levels. There have been excellent ambassadors on and off the field, as well as some that changed the program or revolutionized a position. So what better time than now to draft a hypothetical team of these exquisite athletes?

BK and I will build a team of 22 starters (sorry, specialists!) to craft a team to play against the other. For simplicity’s sake, we’re limiting our selections to guys who played on the 2000 team going forward, including the current roster in 2020. Each Round will alternate who goes first and we’ll provide our reasonings/explanations/defense afterwards.

At the end, you all will be able to vote for who you think has the best team! And of course, we’d love to hear your picks for each round as well and why we are dumdums who don’t know what we’re talking about.

Round V.../hushed tones....lets see....what Team BK...is going...to do...

Round V, Pick 9: BK selects E.J. Gaines

Missouri v Kentucky Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

I think we’ve reached a point in the draft of a tier drop. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some call this a reach. Maybe it is, but I’m not so sure. Part of my decision-making process behind Gaines is because I believe he is one of the more underrated Mizzou players of the last 20 years. Another portion is because Mizzou’s depth at corner in recent years is... lacking.

Gaines was a 3-year starter and a 2-time All-Conference player. His 10 career interceptions are the second most of any Mizzou player in the last 20 years (William Moore, 11). His 34 pass deflections are the most by a Mizzou player in this era, according to Sports Reference.

A “lockdown corner” really doesn’t exist in modern college football. But Gaines was as close as it gets, and as consistent as they come. An injury cut his senior season short, but his legacy was already secure as the best Mizzou cornerback this generation of Tigers fans have seen.

My picks:

Round 1: QB Chase Daniel

Round 2: LB Sean Weatherspoon

Round 3: WR Jeremy Maclin

Round 4: DE Aldon Smith

Round 5: CB E.J. Gaines

Round V, Pick 10: Nate selects TE Martin Rucker

AT&T Cotton Bowl - Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I was hoping Gaines would fall further, and it was smart of BK to take E.J. when he did.

So, if that’s the case, I’m going to need a dynamic tight end who is equal parts 6th-offensive-lineman for my stellar run game AND a dynamic pass catcher to open up the pass over the middle. So I might as well take the guy who started the run of Missouri’s Tight End U, Martin Rucker.

Rucker, a 3-star out of St. Joseph’s Benton high school, signed with Mizzou in 2003 and took a redshirt. In ‘04 he was a situational player, catching only 19 passes but scoring 4 touchdowns. It wasn’t until Chase Daniel took over at quarterback full time in 2006 that Rucker became a go-to target as a zone-busting force over the middle. That ‘06 campaign finished with 53 catches, 511 yards, and 5 touchdowns but he saved his best for last. In 2007 “T-Ruck” became Missouri’s first consensus All-American since John Clay in 1986, logging 84 catches for 834 yards and 8 touchdowns.

It seems that every halcyon offense of Missouri’s recent past has featured a go-to tight end to complement its passing game. Rucker was the first of such tight ends and essential to the success of my team. Welcome aboard Team Nate, T-Ruck!