Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, tight end Michael Egnew, and defensive ends Jacquies Smith and Aldon Smith will submit their names to the NFL’s draft advisory committee to see where they would go in the upcoming 2011 draft if they made themselves available.
All four players have the potential to be NFL players, but at this point, I think the only player who could jump to the NFL now is Aldon Smith. PowerMizzou.com first reported this story, and this is nothing new for Missouri players.
It gives these players the opportunity to hear back from NFL scouts and management as to what they need to work on (if they are not ready for the NFL this year). That was the case with Sean Weatherspoon, who was told he needed to work on pass coverage after his junior year. Spoon was projected to be a third round pick after that season. So instead, he went to work, had a productive senior year and went in the first round as the 19th overall pick to Atlanta.
Jeremy Maclin went through a similar process and when he learned he was going to be a first round pick, he left after his sophomore year. J-Mac has gone on to turn into a dependable receiver with Philadelphia.
Gabbert will need to work on staying in the pocket and checking down off receivers. He has a tendency to take off to soon or lock in on particular receivers. As far as Egnew, much like Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker before him, he’ll have to prove to NFL types that he can also block in addition to continuing to improve his pass catching skills.