The Missouri Tigers have one of the best defensive end duos in the country in Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, but Ealy is the better of the two and is a projected first-round pick for a number of analysts. Some even have him as a top ten pick, but I think it’s safer to project him as a late first-round pick. Still, the playmaking DE is definitely deserving of a first-round pick, and he’s one of the top DEs in the class.
It was no surprise to hear Ealy declare for the 2014 NFL Draft following last night’s win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and he announced his decision in a post-game interview. Ealy doesn’t have anything more to prove to scouts, and he already returned to school last year in order to improve his stock. Even though he was a solid 2013 NFL Draft prospect, it would have been a mistake for him to declare, and he really took his game to the next level this year by showing much more polish and better run defense.
Ealy is one of the most athletic defensive linemen in this class, and he’s clearly one of the best pass rushers. He’s a very disruptive player as a pass rusher and run defender, and he gets into the opposing backfield like nobody’s business. This season, Ealy racked up eight sacks and a whopping 14 tackles for loss, and he had two sacks in a monster performance last night; he was all over the Cowboys backfield making plays.
Although he was once projected as a third-round pick, Ealy has quickly gained steam thanks to an incredible 2013 campaign, and there is little doubt in my mind that he’s deserving of an early second-round pick at the very least. The Missouri Tigers have been churning out very talented defensive linemen as of late (most prominently this year’s DROY favorite Sheldon Richardson) , and it looks like Ealy is next in line.