The Missouri Tigers surprisingly saw two recent football alumni, defensive end Kony Ealy and offensive lineman Justin Britt, be selected in the second round of Friday’s NFL Draft. Ealy, who was projected by many to be a first-rounder but fell off the map with a subpar combine, was drafted with the 28th pick of the second round (60th overall) by the Carolina Panthers, while Britt was taken with the final pick of the round, 64th overall, by the Seattle Seahawks.
Britt’s selection may be the biggest surprise of the draft so far. Though the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder displayed a lot of athleticism during the pre-draft process, there’s nothing on his tape to really distinguish him as an elite lineman capable of starting right away, which are usually qualities you find in a second round lineman. With that said, Britt may have been the victim of a system that doesn’t really showcase linemen’s talent too well, as they usually just kickslide back on pass blocks and rarely if ever are asked to pull or get upfield on run blocks. Many draft experts saw Britt as a guard in the NFL, but Seattle will give him the opportunity to immediately compete for their starting right tackle spot.
For Ealy, it had to be a disappointment that he lasted as long as he did, but he’ll have a great chance to learn from great players and succeed in Carolina. The Panthers have one of the best starting defensive end tandems in the league with Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, and Ealy will get the opportunity to back them up as well as likely rushing from the interior in some sub packages. Though he won’t get to start for a few years unless something happens to Johnson or Hardy, expect him to be a significant role player right away.