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Draft Class Review: Missouri

The University of Missouri was well represented in the 2015 NFL Draft, as the school produced five draft picks. That doesn’t even include Dorial Green-Beckham, the one-time Tiger who went 40th overall.

Missouri’s 2015 draft class was headlined by SEC Defensive Player of the Year Shane Ray, who still managed to go in the first round even after being cited for possession of marijuana just days before the draft. The star pass rusher will get to hone his craft working with two of the best pass rushers of this generation in Denver.

Ray won’t be the only Missouri pass rusher joining a 2014 playoff team, as fellow defensive end Markus Golden went in the second round to the Arizona Cardinals. A surprise pick in some eyes, he’ll be battling for a starting job on a defense teeming with young talent.

Let’s take a deeper look at Missouri’s five draft picks below.

Shane Ray, DE, Denver Broncos (1st round, 23rd overall)

Arguably the best pass rusher in this class, Ray’s recent legal troubles didn’t cost him too much on draft day. In fact, the Broncos coveted the Tigers sack artist so much that they traded two fifth-round picks and veteran offensive lineman Manny Ramirez to move up five spots to take Ray. The consensus first-team All-American joins a talented Broncos front that already features two devastating pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. Armed with the quickest first step in this class and surprisingly long arms for his 6’3”, 245-pound frame, Ray has a chance to be an impact rookie and should be viewed as the long-term replacement for Ware.

Mitch Morse, OL, Kansas City Chiefs (2nd round, 49th overall)  

While Morse may not be known to the average fan, scouts and draftniks weren’t totally surprised to see him go early on Day 2. The 6’5”, 305-pounder played tackle at Mizzou but was viewed as a guard by NFL teams. Interestingly, the Chiefs announced Morse as a center, suggesting that he could be the immediate replacement for free-agent departure Rodney Hudson. As a lineman who relies on timing, angles and instincts, that makes a ton of sense.

NCAA FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl - Missouri v Minnesota

Markus Golden, OLB, Arizona Cardinals (2nd round, 58th overall)

Viewed as a slight reach in some circles, Golden will have to prove himself yet again. Given his production and intense playing style, it would be dangerous to bet against the former JUCO standout. Often overshadowed by Ray, Golden went from Michael Sam’s backup to a second-round pick in the span of a year. The 2014 second-team All-SEC selection isn’t nearly the same athlete as Ray, but he’s tough and plays the game with a non-stop motor. It will be interesting to see if he has enough quick-twitch athleticism and speed to make the conversion to outside linebacker in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme. 

Bud Sasser, WR, St. Louis Rams (6th round, 201st overall)  

One of two Mizzou skill players to get drafted on Day 3, Sasser joins a Rams receiving corps that doesn’t feature a No. 1 wideout. The 6’2”, 210-pounder won’t solve that problem, but he can certainly contribute to some degree. A solid athlete for the position, Sasser shows great body control and terrific hand-eye coordination to snatch the football out of the air. Those are two skills that can’t be coached and give him a leg up on a crowded receiver group in St. Louis.

Marcus Murphy, RB, New Orleans Saints (7th round, 230th overall)

If Murphy could have landed anywhere, he couldn’t have picked a better spot. The first-team All-SEC selection is undersized and didn’t exactly tear it up at his pro day, but he simply makes plays. Quicker than fast, Murphy could turn into a useful weapon playing half his games in the Superdome. You have to bet Sean Payton will figure out how to get the ball in Murphy’s hands as a receiver and as a returner. For a seventh-rounder, he could end up being a great value for the Saints.

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