Gaines, Sam Taken Saturday in 2014 NFL Draft



May 10, 2014

New York, N.Y. - Two more University of Missouri football standouts heard their names called Saturday on the final day of the 2014 NFL Draft, as CB E.J. Gaines (Independence, Mo.) and DE Michael Sam (Hitchcock, Texas) were both taken by the St. Louis Rams.

Gaines, a 2013 1st-Team All-SEC performer, was taken with the 12th pick in the 6th round by the Rams (#188 selection overall), while Sam, a unanimous 1st-Team All-American in 2013, was taken with the 34th pick in the 7th round (#249 overall). They became the third and fourth Tigers taken in this years' draft, joining MU teammates Kony Ealy (Carolina Panthers) and Justin Britt (Seattle Seahawks), who were both taken in Friday's second round.

Gaines became the highest-drafted Mizzou cornerback since 1983, when Demetrious Johnson was the #115 overall pick by the Detroit Lions (#3 pick in 5th round). Gaines closed out his stellar Tiger career in 2013 with a career-best 75 tackles and five interceptions on the way to earning 1st-Team All-SEC recognition. He had nine tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown against Auburn in the 2013 SEC Championship Game, and a week prior recorded six tackles against Texas A&M, and helped shut down Aggie WR Mike Evans to just four catches for eight yards in the Tiger win. Gaines was also a 1st-Team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore in MU's last season in that league in 2011.

Sam established himself as one of the nation's premier pass rushers in his senior season, as he became only the second unanimous 1st-Team All-American in Mizzou Football history. Sam, who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, led the league in both tackles for loss (19.0) and quarterback sacks (11.5), as he notched 48 tackles on the season. Sam was constantly involved in big plays during Mizzou's magical 12-2 championship season, including a 21-yard scoop-and-score fumble return touchdown at Georgia, and a sack/strip late in the 4th quarter of the AT&T Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State which was returned for a score by teammate Shane Ray which clinched MU's bowl victory. He becomes the ninth Mizzou defensive lineman to be drafted under the tutelage of defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski.



"We're so happy for all of our guys," said MU Head Coach Gary Pinkel. "They're all very deserving, and we're confident they're all going to make Mizzou proud. Coach (Don) James told me when I first became a head coach that I'd start winning games when I started getting guys into the NFL, and he was right about that just like he was with most everything. And it's not just the guys who are drafted, we've got a lot of other very talented guys who didn't get picked this weekend who will make NFL rosters. We're proud to see all of them continue to pursue their professional dreams," he said.
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