Missouri had just two players drafted selected in last week’s NFL Draft, but MU coach Barry Odom is optimistic that the Tigers will have more names in the mix to be picked in the 2020 draft, which will be held in Las Vegas.
Despite having just two draft picks in 2019, Missouri had six players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, which is one shy of a program record. Here are some Missouri players that could hear their name called in next year’s draft.
Albert Okwuegbunam, tight end: Okwuegbunam came back to MU after a shoulder injury sustained Nov. 3 against No. 13 Florida cost him the final four games of the season. The 6-foot-5 junior’s speed is one of his biggest assets, and if he tests well he could be the first tight end drafted. For that to happen, Okwuegbunam has to have a complete season and expand his route running. He had a strong second half to his freshman season and mediocre sophomore season. New tight ends coach A.J. Ofodile, a former MU and NFL tight end, appears to be the guy who can take Okwuegbunam to the next level.
Kelly Bryant, quarterback: Bryant might not be as highly touted in next year’s draft as Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert, but his dual-threat ability should be of some value to a team. Something to consider: With Bryant’s speed and height (6-foot-2), would a team draft him and use him like former MU quarterback Brad Smith, who played wide receiver in the NFL and was used as a wildcat quarterback?
Jordan Elliott, defensive lineman: At a program known for producing defensive linemen, Odom wasn’t joking when he said Elliott could be “one of the best defensive tackles in program history.” The Texas transfer showed signs of stardom during the season but ended on a high note, with three sacks against Arkansas and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Terry Beckner Jr., who was drafted in the seventh round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, said at the combine that Elliott would be there next year.
Yasir Durant, offensive lineman: At 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds, Durant has NFL size for his position and has been one of the best linemen in the conference in his time at MU. Mizzou has moved him around on the line, so he can play different spots at the next level and with a lot of teams building around young quarterbacks, Durant could go early to a team looking to protect its biggest asset.
Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, offensive lineman: Wallace-Simms was chosen to the all-Southeastern Conference first team and had an incredible year. According to Pro Football Focus, Wallace-Simms did not give up a single sack at right guard. The East St. Louis native stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 330 pounds, giving him an NFL frame. A repeat of his junior season could vault him into being one of the top prospects at his position.
Larry Rountree, running back: Rountree enters his junior season as one of the conference’s top returning rushers and has a chance to leave MU as one of the program’s all-time rushers. With Damarea Crockett leaving a year early, Rountree will be the Tigers’ top tailback in front of Tyler Badie and Simi Bakare. Crockett signed an undrafted free-agent deal with the Houston Texans on Saturday. With running backs having a short lifespan in the NFL, a strong season from Rountree could see him capitalize while he’s healthy and his stock is high.