Campus Corner

Best NFL players produced by Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel

Missouri's Jeremy Maclin took a pass 58-yards for a first quarter touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Oct. 4, 2008, in Lincoln, Neb.
Missouri's Jeremy Maclin took a pass 58-yards for a first quarter touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Oct. 4, 2008, in Lincoln, Neb. The Kansas City Star

Defensive end Shane Ray looks to become the seventh Missouri player under Gary Pinkel to become an NFL Draft first-round selection. Four of the previous six have come from the defensive side, and all since 2009.

In all, 27 players who spent part or all of their college careers playing for Pinkel at Mizzou have been selected in the NFL Draft. Who have been the best pros, drafted or undrafted? We took a stab at a top five.

1. Jeremy Maclin

Maclin joins the Chiefs after a busy five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, who made him their first-round selection, No. 19 overall, in 2009. Maclin has 343 career receptions and 36 touchdowns and also returned punts and kicks for the Eagles.

2. Aldon Smith

The former Raytown High standout has been busy since the San Francisco 49ers made him their first-round selection, No. 7 overall, in 2011. Smith became a first-team All-Pro and was chosen NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He recorded the most sacks by a player in his first two years, 33 1/2. Things got off track in his third season, when he took an indefinite leave of absence after his arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. He was suspended for nine games last season after an arrest at the Los Angeles airport.

3. Sheldon Richardson

Jets fans griped when Richardson was their team’s first-round selection in 2013, No. 13 overall, then cheered when he became the NFL AP defensive rookie of the year. Richardson followed that year with a solid, eight-sack, second season. He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2012 when he recorded 10 1/2 tackles for loss and four sacks.

4. William Moore

“Willy Mo” battled injuries and played in only seven games for the Falcons last year. He was a second-round choice in 2009, became a starter the next season and made the Pro Bowl in 2012. Moore has 14 career interceptions.

5. Brad Smith

Longevity gets Smith on the list. Gary Pinkel’s first star quarterback, Smith has done a little bit of everything during his 10-year NFL career, first with the Jets, now with the Eagles with a stop in Buffalo in between. As a pro, Smith has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns, caught 104 passes, attempted 10 passes and has four rushing touchdowns, usually from a wildcat formation. He was the Jets’ fourth-round pick in 2006 after becoming the first college player to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in his career.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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