All of Mizzou/NFL draft talk has been surrounding Michael Sam for the last week and a half. Yet, with the NFL Combine just days away, there are six other Tigers who have received invites and will be going through workouts this upcoming weekend. Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com runs through the strengths and weaknesses of each attendee and where he sees the Tigers landing in or outside the draft.
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Below is the analysis of each Tiger heading to the Combine from NFL.com, that will be posting updated results.
Kony Ealy–Big, athletic, ascending, pass-rush talent with the size, burst and flexibility to pressurize the edge as a right defensive end. Is not a finished product, particularly as a run defender, but should only become more disruptive as his strength, technique and savvy catch up with his natural physical ability. Could also draw looks as a 3-4 rush linebacker.
E.J. Gaines–Strong, physical zone corner with the toughness, awareness and football IQ to function highly in short spaces. A solid tackler, Gaines plays bigger than his size and takes a professional approach. Can make an immediate impact on special teams and work his way into a lineup.
Justin Britt–College left tackle with enough length and foot quickness to handle the blind side in a pinch, but is more ideally suited for the right side and could be best suited for a swing backup role. Has played nearly every position on the line and could add depth as a positional, wall-off blocker.
Henry Josey–Smallish, darting, change-of-pace zone runner who will have to carve a niche as a third-down back. With a son to support and the memory of a gruesomely severe knee injury in 2011 (torn ACL, MCL, meniscus and patellar tendon), left school early despite tepid draft projections. Is the type you root for, but will have to prove his chops as a receiver and pass protector to stick.
Marcus Lucas–A lean, long-limbed, rare-sized, possession receiver, Lucas lacks starter-quality positional traits and does not play big, yet, with continued development, offers intrigue to teams as a developmental H-back.
L’Damian Washington–A speed merchant with raw catching skills, Washington is still developing as a football player and has the type of determination to become a success story if he continues to refine his hands and work at the craft.
Michael Sam–A productive, 4-3 weakside rusher who came on as a senior and it made his last season his best. Could fit most ideally as a 3-4 outside linebacker in a zone-blitzing scheme like the Steelers or Ravens. Compares favorably to Chargers 2009 first-round pick Larry English, an overhyped, overdrafted, marginal producer in the pros.