Columbia (KMOV.com) -- For a select few Missouri Tigers football players, their dream is about to come true. The 2009 NFL Draft will be taking place in less than one week on Saturday, April 25 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. This is an all-weekend event where professional teams mull over the thousands of pages of notes they have and try to pick their future players of their franchises. For the Missouri Tigers that have declared for the draft, this is what all of the off-season hard work has been about.
Taking a look at some of the projected draft boards it's looking like only about five Missouri Tigers will hear their name called on April 25. Let's take a look at some of those co-called "locks" to be drafted.
Jeremy Maclin-WR: Almost certain to be one of the first 15 players drafted. He has everything the scouts are looking for; great breakaway speed, hands, ups, route-running, and not to mention his knack for returning kicks and punts with Devin Hester-like finesse. Draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have Maclin coming off of the board at no. 7 to the Oakland Raiders and at no. 8 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively. He has the talent to be a top-10 pick but because there are so few teams at the top of the board that need a WR, according to walterfootball.com Maclin could very well freefall until it's almost a no-brainer pick for the Baltimore Ravens, at pick number 26, who have nobody but an aging Mark Clayton at that position. I personally don't see Maclin going that late in the first round. I sincerely hope that Maclin doesn't fall that far because he is too good for that to happen and because Raiders owner Al Davis is always one to take a chance on a big-offensive numbers type guy. I agree with Kiper, that with the no. 7 pick in the draft the Raiders will take Maclin.
Evander 'Ziggy' Hood-DT: Because I refuse to pay for sports news I am not an ESPN Insider and thus don't have Kiper or McShay's full draft rundown. I will now rely on the only website I could find that had a mock draft with more than the first round and that was at walterfootball.com. Here they have the first pick in the second round, pick No. 33, being Ziggy Hood going to the Detroit Lions. I heard that Hood had a great combine workout but looking at Hood's statistics last year being picked this high might be a bit of a stretch. Maybe it's due to the lack of DT in this year's draft that he will be selected so early, but I just don't see him as late-first or early-second-round type talent. But like what happened to Maclin it's not always about the talent but the position the team is looking to fill. Come next year I hope Hood proves me wrong and he has the talent to.
William Moore-SS: Here walterfootball.com has Moore going to the Atlanta Falcons with the 55th overall selection, the 23rd pick in the second round. They have Moore as the fifth safety coming off the board. Moore was another Tiger along with Hood that had a great combine workout to improve his draft stock. This pick makes sense regarding where Moore is taken and for what Moore will be asked to do in Atlanta. Moore had only one interception last year but had the fourth most total tackles with 86 and the second most solo tackles with 55. Atlanta was really hurt by their lack of a secondary for most of the year and even more so when they were dominated by Kurt Warner, Anquain Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in the playoffs. I like where Moore to go in the late second round.
Chase Coffman-TE: In my opinion this has to be the worst evaluation of any one player in Missouri's draft class. Walterfootball.com has Coffman going to the Eagles in the fourth round with the 121st pick. It's not necessarily that I disagree with Coffman going in the mid-fourth round but what I do disagree with is that fact that four other TEs are selected before Coffman. I'm not sure if it is because Coffman spent most of his career behind another standout Missouri TE in Martin Rucker and didn't have a lot of experience other than his senior year, but even in his junior year he made some big catches alongside Rucker. Either way they still have Coffman coming off the board behind Travis Beckum (Wisconsin), James Casey (Rice), Jared Cook (South Carolina), and Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State). Casey is the only one who had a better statistical year than Coffman with 111 catches, 1329 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. The only way Pettigrew, Cook, and Beckum's numbers compare to those of Coffman's is if you combine all three of them together and even then Coffman has seven more touchdowns and only 322 fewer receiving yards. This is why I find it very surprising that all three of them are supposedly going to be taken before Coffman. I know Coffman has had several injuries where he had to miss some gamtime, but I believe Coffman is still better than all three of those players and worth "the risk" (if there is one) and will prove that in the NFL.
Stryker Sulak-DE: This could very well be a case where one really good season will get you drafted even if you aren't very high on the draft board. Walterfootball.com has the St. Louis Rams selecting Sulak in the sixth round with the 196th overall pick. Sulak was by far one of the Tigers' best defensive players last year, leading the team in sacks with 10.5 and second in tackles for a loss with 15.5. He also forced a team-high six fumbles. I definitely think that Sulak deserves to be drafted and in the last two rounds makes perfect sense. I hope he builds on his success from last year and it transfers well into the NFL.
Chase Daniel-QB: A lot of Missouri Tigers fans are wondering where their favorite Missouri QB will go in this year's draft. Despite being probably the best quarterback in Missouri Tigers history, many people believe Daniel's draft stock took a big hit this past year. He had a tough time in 2008 trying to duplicate his great success and Heisman campaign from 2007. Daniel just wasn't the same in 2008 and it looks as if he could be waiting awhile to hear his name announced next weekend. Many scouts don't like him for his size (or lack thereof) and the fact that he was a spread-offense quarterback might not translate well to the NFL doesn't help either. He also had a sub-par performance in the Senior Bowl. While Daniel struggled in 2008 I feel that he deserves his shot at the next level. He is one heck of a QB that has the intangibles any NFL head coach loves. I think he's definitely one of the 200 or so best players in this year's draft which means he should probably be drafted, whether that actually happens we will have to wait and see. I hope he gets drafted and proves all of his doubters that he can play at the next level.
I'm going to guess that not every Tiger will hear his name called on April 25, but that doesn't mean they don't have shot at being with a team come summer workouts. It isn't uncommon for players to go undrafted and then sign with a team after the draft. After the draft, teams' scouting departments are looking for the talent that every other team overlooked and then they sign them as undrafted free agents.
So, while things the weekend of the draft may not end up the way some Missouri Tigers were hoping the days following the draft are just as important. They should get their shot somewhere. Good luck to those that were drafted as well as those signing free agent deals. Represent Mizzou well!
The Missouri Tigers football program hasn't had much success in past years when it comes the NFL draft. Mizzou has had a total of only 25 players drafted in the past 20 years with nine coming in the last four years alone. The most players Missouri has seen in any one year since 1989 was four in 1991. This year experts are saying five Missouri players will be drafted. That will be the most since 1971 when seven Tigers were taken. See how Mizzou's number of draftees compares to other schools in the Big 12 Conference since 1989.
Brandon Shatsiek is a Journalism student at the University of Missouri