Draftee Justin Britt
May 9, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y.- University of Missouri football's Kony Ealy (New Madrid, Mo.) and Justin Britt (Lebanon, Mo.) were selected Friday, May 9, in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks, respectively. Carolina took Ealy with the 28th pick of the round (60th overall pick in the draft), while Seattle picked up Britt with the 32nd pick of the round (64th overall).
Ealy is the latest in a proud lineage of Tiger defensive linemen to be taken in the NFL Draft in recent years, joining Sheldon Richardson (2013 1st round pick by the New York Jets), Aldon Smith (2011 1st round pick by the San Francisco 49ers), Ziggy Hood (2009 1st round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers) as high-round picks.
Britt's selection is the highest a Tiger offensive lineman has been drafted under Head Coach Gary Pinkel (2002-present). It marks the highest OL pick since tackle John Clay went to Oakland with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft.
Britt and Ealy combined for two Tiger second-rounders for the first time since 1981, when running back James Wilder went to Tampa Bay with the round's sixth pick (34th overall) and defensive back Eric Wright was selected by San Francisco with the 12th pick (40th overall).
Ealy had a breakout junior season for Mizzou in 2013, as he earned 1st-Team All-SEC honors while he helped lead the Tigers to a 12-2 season and SEC Eastern Division and Cotton Bowl championships. Ealy registered 43 tackles in 14 games (starting all 14) and was among league leaders in both tackles for loss (14.5) and quarterback sacks (9.5). He also led the Tiger defense in quarterback pressures (14) and forced fumbles (3), including one in the SEC Championship Game against Auburn that was returned by teammate E.J. Gaines for a touchdown. He also broke up six passes on the year (second on the team), and returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown in a road win at Indiana.
Britt finished his final Tiger campaign in top form on Mizzou's offensive line, holding down the left tackle position for all 14 games of the team's Cotton Bowl Classic championship-winning season. Britt and his offensive line counterparts helped the 2013 Mizzou offense set a program record with 3,330 rushing yards.
Ealy and Britt are the 24th and 25th players to be drafted at Mizzou under Pinkel. They are the eighth and ninth players under Pinkel to be taken in the first two rounds. That updated list now includes:
- 2009 - 1st Round (#19/#19) - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
- 2009 - 1st Round (#32/#32) - Ziggy Hood, DL, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 2009 - 2nd Round (#23/#55) - William Moore, S, Atlanta Falcons
- 2010 - 1st Round (#19/#19) - Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Atlanta Falcons
- 2011 - 1st Round (#7/#7) - Aldon Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers
- 2011 - 1st Round (#10/#10) - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
- 2013 - 1st Round (#13/#13) - Sheldon Richardson, DL, New York Jets
- 2014 - 2nd Round (#28/#60) - Kony Ealy, DL, Carolina Panthers
- 2014 - 2nd Round (#32/#64) - Justin Britt, OL, Seattle Seahawks
Mizzou's six 1st-round selections since 2009 is tied for 4th-most in the country during that stretch. The top teams there include: Alabama (16), Florida (8), LSU (7), Mizzou (6), Florida State (6), North Carolina (6), Oklahoma State (6), Texas A&M (6) and USC (6).
Eight Mizzou defensive linemen have been drafted under the guidance of defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski (2002-present).
Other program superlatives include these facts: Mizzou finished the 2013 season ranked 5th in the nation in the final polls; Mizzou ranks 8th in total wins by BCS-AQ programs from 2007-13 (65 wins in that stretch); Mizzou has ranked in the Academic Progress Rate Top-10 percent nationally each of the past two years.
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