Missouri ranks No. 21 for producing NFL talent
NFL.com analyst and former NFL scout Bucky Brooks is ranking the Top 25 college football programs in terms of producing NFL talent.
On Monday, he revealed Missouri at No. 21, just ahead of Texas, Arizona State, Iowa and Penn State.
That’s some lofty company. In particular, ranking ahead of Texas and Penn State, though those two schools have had issues in recent years, is a coup. It also gives credence to Gary Pinkel’s assertion at SEC Media Days that his program develops talent as well as any in the country, given the gap between the ranking in Missouri’s recruiting classes compared to, say, the Longhorns.
Wrote Brooks: “The Tigers have quietly become a football factory for NFL talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Since 2009, they have produced six first-round picks, including talented defenders like Sean Weatherspoon, Sheldon Richardson, Aldon Smith and Ziggy Hood. With a pair of intriguing prospects along the defensive line (Markus Golden and Shane Ray), Missouri’s growing reputation as an NFL hotbed should continue under coach Gary Pinkel.”
Brooks is revealing his rankings in clusters of five, counting back to No. 1. Monday represented the first installment, so Missouri is the only SEC school ranked thus far.
Brooks also mentioned both of Missouri’s starting defensive ends in 2014, Markus Golden and Shane Ray, as potential NFL players, as well as quarterback Maty Mauk. He singled out freshman Brandon Lee as a potential impact player at outside linebacker.
In other NFL news, the St. Louis Rams released an unofficial depth chart Monday, listing seventh-round pick Michael Sam as the third-team right defensive end and likely will be a fringe roster candidate up until final cuts, while fellow rookie E.J. Gaines is listed as Janoris Jenkins’ backup at corner.