Evan Boehm became the first Missouri player taken in the 2016 NFL Draft on Saturday when he was picked in the fourth round, No. 128 overall, by Arizona.
Boehm met with the Cardinals, who desperately need a center, at the NFL Combine in February, so the selection wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I can’t wait to go in and compete and try to earn a spot,” Boehm said on a conference call with reporters in Arizona. “It’s going to be tough, but I’ve got to get in there and learn this offense and be able to compete for a spot. I’m very excited to do that.”
He’ll be reunited with former Tigers defensive end Markus Golden — a second-round pick in 2015, who performed brilliantly for the reigning NFC West champion Cardinals.
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“I talk to (Golden) quite a bit, and he’s had nothing but great things to say about Arizona,” Boehm said. “He loves it. Hearing him talk about it and then getting that phone call, it’s unbelievable. It’s a dream come true.”
Boehm owns Mizzou’s consecutive starts record at 52, the first player to start every game in his only four seasons on campus.
He suffered a high ankle sprain in the opening game of his senior season, but Boehm never came out of the lineup.
“It happened the fifth play of the season, and it just went on and on and on about the whole season,” Boehm said. “I don’t think I was ever 100 percent, but, when I went out there, I gave 100 percent of what I could.”
If it’s true that, in the NFL, your best ability is availability, Boehm’s toughness has to be considered a major plus.
Boehm — a Lee’s Summit West graduate and the son of former Titans coach, Royce Boehm — also emerged as a tremendous leader during his tenure at Mizzou, another trait NFL teams value. He was a senior captain.
“If an organization takes a chance on (Boehm), he’s going to represent them the right way,” first-year Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “They don’t have to worry about any of that. He’s got a tremendous family, very competitive and he gets the value of working hard. He wants to be successful and sees himself as an NFL player.”
NFL teams also value versatility, which Boehm brings in spades. He started 12 games at left guard as a true freshman in 2012 and started the next 40 games at center for the Tigers.
“He had such a great career … ,” Odom said. “I believe he can play three spots up front, which makes him a little bit more marketable probably.”
Boehm is the third player to be drafted from Lee’s Summit in NFL history, joining Forrest Griffith (1950) and Bobby Bell Jr. (1984).
According to Pro Football Reference, the only other Lee’s Summit graduate to play in the NFL was Orville Siegfried, a running back for 1923 St. Louis All-Stars.
“Last night to today, I was just waiting for my dream to come true with a phone call, and it happened,” said Boehm, who watched the draft at his parents’ Lee’s Summit home.
The No. 128 pick in 2015, Raiders guard Joe Feliciano, signed a four-year rookie contract worth $2,740,652 with $460,652 in guaranteed money.