Campus Corner

The Star’s NFL Draft projections for former Mizzou players

Missouri Tigers defensive linemen Shane Ray (left) and Markus Golden are both expected to be picked in the NFL Draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday.
Missouri Tigers defensive linemen Shane Ray (left) and Markus Golden are both expected to be picked in the NFL Draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday. The Kansas City Star

At least four players with Missouri ties, including Springfield native Dorial Green-Beckham, should be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Of course, the draft stock for the top two prospects is murky.

Former Tigers defensive end Shane Ray had been a consensus top-10 prospect until last week when concerns about a lingering toe injury suffered at the Citrus Bowl moved him down some boards.

Ray’s arrest Monday — he was cited and released at the scene — for alleged marijuana possession during a traffic stop on westbound Interstate 70 near Boonville, Mo., complicates matters further.

Green-Beckham also has character red flags. He was arrested twice for marijuana possession during two seasons in Columbia and ultimately was dismissed from the Tigers last April amid a police investigation into his role in an alleged burglary and assault against a woman.

Green-Beckham and sat out the 2014 season after transferring to Oklahoma.

No such issues haunt left tackle Mitch Morse, who projects as a guard in the NFL and has seen his stock skyrocket during the pre-draft process, or defensive end Markus Golden. Both are projected as middle-round picks.

DE Shane Ray

6-3, 249, Bishop Miege

CBS rank/position rank: No. 23 overall/No. 3 DE

Scouts Inc. rank/position rank: No. 17 overall/No. 2 OLB

NFL grade (Mike Mayock position rank): 6.6 (No. 5 edge rusher)

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): No. 13 overall/No. 3 edge rusher (7.20)

SI.com grade: 8.6 (No. 6 DL/No. 4 edge rusher)

NFL Combine/Pro Day workout: Dealing with a lingering toe injury, Ray only did the bench at the NFL Combine, putting up 21 reps, and wasn’t able to match his career-best times at MU’s Pro Day. He posted a 33-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump, 4.52-second 20-yard shuttle, 7.70-second three-cone drill and 4.64-second 40-yard dash — good but not exceptional marks. Ray plays faster and more explosive on tape.

Analysis: Ray was chosen as the 2014 SEC defensive player of the year after breaking the Missouri single-season sack record with 14 1/2 sacks. He finished with 65 tackles, including a team-high 22 1/2 for a loss, which is the fourth-most in a season in Tigers history.

Ray, a graduate of Bishop Miege, also had five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and one pass breakup as a junior before declaring for the NFL Draft.

Some scouts have questioned Ray’s ability to set the edge against the run at the next level, but he did a solid job, especially on stretch plays toward the boundary, for the Tigers. His true value is getting after the quarterback, which is a premium in today’s NFL.

Ray has an elite first step in pass-rush situations, perhaps the best of any edge rusher in the draft, and plays with an incredible motor. There are lingering concerns about a toe injury Ray suffered during the Citrus Bowl, which kept him from working out at the NFL Combine, tamped down his numbers at MU’s Pro Day and some teams fear might require surgery.

Perhaps more alarmingly for some teams, Ray also was stopped Monday near Boonville in Cooper County, Mo., and cited for suspicion of possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. Ray also received a warning for speeding and was cited for failing to drive in the right lane of a highway with at least two lanes. He was released on his own recognizance.

NFL.com also reported that Ray, who had been ranked No. 8 on Mel Kiper Jr.’s big board and No. 15 in Todd McShay’s prospect ranking, failed a drug test early in his career at Missouri, something teams may have been willing to overlook before Monday’s incident.

Before news spread of Ray’s transgression Monday, NFL.com’s Charles Davis ranked Ray as the No. 3 edge rusher in the draft behind Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. and Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, while NFL.com’s Gil Brandt ranked him as the No. 18 player overall in the draft. Teams (and draft analysts) might be reshuffling Ray’s place in the draft hierarchy given the lapse in judgment only three days before the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday in Chicago.

The Star’s Projection: First-round pick

Other projections*: No. 5 to Washington (Brian Baldinger, NFL and Todd McShay, ESPN), No. 6 to the Jets (Charles Davis, NFL and Bucky Brooks, NFL), No. 8 to Atlanta (Daniel Jeremiah, NFL), No. 9 to the Giants (Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN), No. 12 to Cleveland (Will Brinson, CBS Sports), No. 13 to New Orleans (Charley Casserly, NFL and Matt Miller, B/R), No. 15 to San Francisco (Dane Brugler, CBS Sports), No. 16 to Houston (Pete Prisco, CBS Sports), No. 21 to Cincinnati (NFL seven-round mock and Lance Zierlein, NFL), No. 24 to Arizona (Rob Rang, CBS Sports), No. 28 to Denver (NFL Nation)

* Each mock draft was published prior to Ray’s citation Monday for marijuana possession


WR Dorial Green-Beckham

6-5, 237, Springfield Hillcrest

CBS rank/position rank: No. 28 overall/No. 5 WR

Scouts Inc. rank/position rank: No. 46 overall/No. 10 WR

NFL.com grade (Mike Mayock overall/position rank): 5.8 (No. 18 overall/No. 5 wide receiver)

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): No. 15 overall/No. 4 WR (7.15)

SI.com grade: 8.5 (No. 4 wide receiver)

NFL Combine workout: Some of Green-Beckham’s workout numbers at the NFL Combine were impressive, including a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and 6.89-second three-cone drill. Others marks were more pedestrian, including a 33 1/2-inch vertical and 9-foot-11 broad jump.

Analysis: Based purely on athleticism, Green-Beckham, who sat out last fall after transferring to Oklahoma, might be the top wide receiver in the draft. He’s huge and fast and can go get the ball vertically, down the field and in the air, as well as any player in the draft.

There are, of course, character concerns. Green-Beckham was arrested twice for marijuana possession during his time at Missouri. The charges from a 2012 incident were reduced and the charges from a 2014 incident eventually were dismissed. The most alarming incident — the alleged burglary — also didn’t result in charges.

He finished his sophomore season at Missouri with 59 catches for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns, not gaudy but certainly respectable numbers. As a freshman in 2012, Green-Beckham made 28 catches for 395 yards with five touchdowns. He can take the top off a defense with his long strides and quick acceleration, uses his frame well in traffic and in the red zone with a ridiculous catch radiance

But Green-Beckham isn’t a great route runner and lacks the ability to read defenses. Many NFL schemes, including Andy Reid’s offense with the Chiefs, require precise, technical routes combined with an ability to adjust on the fly based on the look presented by the defense. Green-Beckham’s ability to digest an NFL playbook and handle such demands are a concern despite his physical prowess, especially after not playing football in 2014.

NFL.com’s Charles Davis also ranks Green-Beckham as the fifth-best receiver in the draft class, while NFL.com’s Gil Brandt ranks him as the No. 55 player overall in the draft.

The Star’s Projection: Early second round

Other projections: No. 18 to Kansas City (Will Brinson, CBS Sports), No. 33 to Tennessee (NFL seven-round mock and Dane Brugler, CBS Sports), No. 37 to the Jets (Daniel Jeremiah, NFL), No. 41 to St. Louis (Rob Rang, CBS Sports)


OL Mitch Morse

6-5, 306, Austin, Texas

CBS rank/position rank: No. 85 overall/No. 5 G

Scouts Inc. rank: No 124 overall/No. 7 G

NFL.com grade (Mike Mayock overall rank/Charles Davis position rank): 5.5 (No. 73 overall/No. 6 G)

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): No. 165 overall/No. 15 tackle (5.30)

NFL Combine/Pro Day workout: Morse was a star at the NFL Combine with 36 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press, a 9-foot-4 broad jump, a 4.50-second 20-yard shuttle and a 5.14-second 40-yard dash to go with a 31-inch vertical and 7.60-second three-cone drill.

SI.com grade: 4.0 (No. 31 OL/No. 8 G)

Analysis: Justin Britt, a second-round pick of the Seahawks last spring who emerged as the NFC champions’ starting right tackle, did Morse a massive favor with his performance and production as an NFL rookie. Morse filled in performed admirably at left tackle in Britt’s absence last season and is among the strongest, toughest, most affable and intelligent players at his position in the 2015 draft.

He also has a maturity and perspective most draft prospects may never have.

Morse projects as a guard at the next level, primarily because teams worry about his (apparently) short arms at 32 1/4 inches and how that might affect his success in pass protection at the next level. Fortunately for Morse, he also played some center and guard early in his Tigers career and is athletic enough to be a potentially devastating blocker on the interior in a zone-blocking scheme, which many NFL teams utilize.

Morse also been described by some scouts as top heavy, but the elite marks he posted at the NFL Combine in bench press, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle should make him a middle-round pick. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt lists Morse as the No. 102 player overall in the draft.

The Star’s Projection: Late third or early fourth round

Other projections: No. 104 to the Jets (NFL seven-round mock), No. 170 to Seattle (Matt Miller, B/R)


DE Markus Golden

6-2, 260, St. Louis (Affton)

CBS rank/position rank: No. 165 overall/No. 14 OLB

Scouts Inc. rank/position rank: No. 74 overall/No. 8 DE

NFL.com grade (Mike Mayock overall rank/Charles Davis position rank): 5.4 (No. 84 overall/No. 9 DE)

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): No. 133 overall/No. 14 edge rusher (5.40)

SI.com grade: 6.6 (No. 4 edge rusher)

NFL Combine/Pro Day workout: Golden ran a disappointing 4.90-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in his only workout event, but he showed much better at Missouri’s Pro Day with a 4.70. He also ran a solid 7.33-second three-cone drill, while cranking out 17 reps in the bench press with a 28 1/2-inch vertical and 9-foot-2 broad jump.

Analysis: Golden missed the Indiana game last season and was hampered by a hamstring injury throughout much of October, but he remained productive in his first season as a starter.

As a junior, Golden racked up 55 tackles, which led all MU defensive linemen, along with 13 tackles for a loss and 6 1/2 sacks. He also broke up eight passes, including one he tipped to himself for a 70-yard interception return touchdown against Toledo.

Wrapping up his Tigers career, Golden recorded an astounding 78 tackles, which ranked third on the team behind linebackers Kentrell Brothers and Michael Scherer. He also had 10 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss with 12 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Scouts worry about his short arms, which measure 31 inches, and generally compact frame, but the tape shows a nonstop motor and impressive production. He’s big enough and physical enough to set the edge against the run, should rack up a few hustle sacks and will make plays downfield through his relentlessness.

Golden — who showed good ability to drop into coverage and can play 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker — might not turn into a Pro Bowler, but he’s going to be a valuable piece in the defensive line rotation for an NFL team. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt lists Golden as the No. 119 player overall in the draft.

The Star’s Projection: Late third or early fourth round

Other projections: No. 86 to Arizona (Matt Miller, B/R), No. 145 to Philadelphia (NFL seven-round mock)


RB Marcus Murphy

5-8, 198, DeSoto, Texas

CBS rank/position rank: No. 371 overall/No. 29 RB

Scouts Inc. rank: No. 249 overall/No. 23 RB

NFL.com grade: 5.0

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): No. 286 overall/No. 26 RB (5.05)

SI.com grade: 1.1 (No. 28 running back)

NFL Combine/Pro Day workout: Murphy improved his numbers across the board from the NFL Combine to MU’s Pro Day — when he posted 14 bench-press, a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, a 31 1/2-inch vertical, a 9-foot-7 broad jump, a 4.39 20-yard shuttle and a 7.08 three-cone drill.

Analysis: There’s a chance some team will fall in love with Murphy’s return skills and decide to spend a late-round pick to secure his services. He hasn’t generated the buzz of Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett or Stanford’s Ty Montgomery, but the production is there on tape for NFL scouts to pore over.

Murphy isn’t destined to be an every-down back in the NFL, but he runs with an edge and has the agility to make defenders miss in space. He doesn’t possess pure breakaway speed, but he’s quick and decisive with his cuts. Murphy also played some at slot receiver, so he is well-versed in pass-catching and possesses desirable versatility. But he’ll rely on his special-teams value if he’s going to make a roster.

Murphy led Missouri with 1,921 all-purpose yards, earning All-SEC honors. He returned two kickoffs and one punt for a touchdown, breaking Jeremy Maclin’s record for career return scores with seven during his career. Murphy also is the only player other than Maclin to top 5,000 career all-purpose yards with the Tigers.

The Star’s Projection: Priority free agent

Other projections: None


WR Bud Sasser

6-2, 219, Denton, Texas

CBS rank/position rank: No. 283 overall/No. 37 WR

Scouts Inc. rank: No. 311 overall/No. 44 WR

NFL.com grade: 5.1

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Sasser has big hands for a receiver at 10 1/8 inches. He also put up some impressive — certainly draftable — numbers during his workout, including a 34 1/2-inch vertical, 4.52-second 40-yard dash, 10-foot broad jump, 6.88 three-cone drill, 4.33-second 20-yard shuttle and 18 bench-press reps.

Analysis: Sasser led Missouri with 77 catches for 1,003 yards as 12 touchdowns last season. For what it’s worth, that production was better than Dorial Green-Beckham’s in 2013, and Sasser became the first 1,000-yard receiver for the Tigers since T.J. Moe in 2010.

Sasser runs good routes. This allows him to beat defenders deep on occasion, and he has very good hands. He lacks elite size or speed, but potentially has value in an increasingly pass-centric NFL. He’ll need to prove he has value on special teams in some capacity to get drafted or stick with a team in a deep receiver class.

The Star’s Projection: Priority free agent

Other projections: None


DT Lucas Vincent

6-2, 300, Olathe North

CBS rank/position rank: No. 733 overall/No. 54 DT

Scouts Inc. rank: n/a

NFL.com grade: n/a

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Ran a 4.97 40-yard dash with 23 bench-press reps, a 28 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-foot-3 broad jump at MU’s Pro Day. He also ran a 4.50-second 20-yard shuttle with a 7.47-second three-cone drill.

Analysis: Vincent was a star at the NFL regional combine in Chicago, which probably put him on the radar as a potential late-round pick for a few teams. If not, he’s likely to get a camp invitation from a few NFL teams and will get to pick the situation he likes best.

Durability might be a concern, considering Vincent’s injury history. He had a torn pectoral muscle during a weight-lifting accident, battled ankle injuries and back ailments along with occasional kidney stones during his career.

Of course, he also played in 53 career games, an indication that he’s tough enough to play through the inevitable nicks and bruises. He topped his previous career numbers as a senior with 3 1/2 sacks and eight tackles for a loss. Vincent’s 43 total tackles were second behind Harold Brantley among interior linemen for Missouri last season.

Vincent was invited to workout with the Chiefs earlier this month.

The Star’s Projection: Likely camp invite

Other projections: None


WR Jimmie Hunt

6-0, 208, Cahokia, Ill.

CBS rank/position rank: No. 608 overall/No. 78 WR

Scouts Inc. position rank: No. 145 WR

NFL.com grade: n/a

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Ran a 4.50 40-yard dash with a 31 1/2-inch vertical, 9-foot-8 broad jump, 4.38-second 20-yard shuttle and 7.02 three-cone drill.

Analysis: Hunt has decent size in the slot and his measurables were good enough, but it’s a very deep wide-receiver class. Many analysts believe the 2015 class rivals last season’s crop, which was among the best group of rookie wideouts in NFL history.

He finished second on the Tigers with 40 catches for 698 yards and seven touchdowns, including a season-best 73-yard reception, despite missing two games due to a knee infection.

The Star’s Projection: Possible camp invite

Other projections: None


WR Darius White

6-3, 210, Fort Worth, Texas

CBS rank/position rank: No. 687 overall/No. 92 WR

Scouts Inc. rank: No. 134 WR

NFL.com grade: n/a

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Showed explosiveness with a 37 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-4 broad jump.

Analysis: White, a transfer from Texas, missed three games and finished with season with 30 catches for 372 yards and four touchdowns.

The Star’s Projection: Possible camp invite

Other projections: None


S Braylon Webb

5-11, 208, Gilmer, Texas

CBS rank/position rank: No. 743 overall/No. 32 SS

Scouts Inc. rank: No. 66 safety

NFL.com grade: n/a

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Matched his personal record with a 9-foot-10 broad jump at Missouri’s Pro Day.

Analysis: Webb, a second-team All-SEC selection at strong safety as a senior, led Missouri’s secondary with 70 tackles and four interceptions last season. He was a three-year starter for the Tigers, drawing high praise for his football IQ.

Webb organized the defense despite his quiet nature. He appeared in 51 games at MU, recording 89 tackles as a junior and 64 as a sophomore. During his career, Webb totaled 153 solo tackles and 259 overall.

The Star’s Projection: Possible camp invite

Other projections: None


P Christian Brinser

6-1, 185, Liberty

CBS rank/position rank: n/a

Scouts Inc. rank: n/a

NFL.com grade: n/a

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Brinser didn’t perform any workouts.

Analysis: Averaged 41.1 yards on 75 punts last season with 25 placed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Earned the starting job as a junior and averaged 41.0 with 26 punts inside the 20.

The Star’s Projection: Undrafted

Other projections: None


S Duron Singleton

6-0, 211, New Orleans

CBS rank/position rank: n/a

Scouts Inc. rank: n/a

NFL.com grade: n/a

Matt Miller overall/position rank (grade): n/a

SI.com grade: n/a

Pro Day workout: Set a personal record with a 9-foot-5 broad jump and matched his best time with a 4.58-second 40-yard dash at MU’s Pro Day, where he also had a 30 1/2-inch vertical and ran a 4.32 20-yard shuttle.

Analysis: Singleton is a fringe prospect, but there was some good productivity upon which to hang his hat last season as he emerged as Missouri’s starting nickelback. He finished ninth on the Tigers with 52 tackles, including 2 1/2 for a loss with a sack, an interception and a 60-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Central Florida.

The Star’s Projection: Undrafted

Other projections: None

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.

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