After strong careers at the collegiate level, five players from the state of Missouri will get their chance to play at the next level.
Missouri's Sheldon Richardson, Zaviar Gooden and T.J. Moe, Missouri Southern State's Brandon Williams and Missouri Western's David Bass will all take part in the NFL Scouting Combine scheduled for Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis, it was announced Thursday.
Richardson is the star of the group. The junior defensive tackle is projected to be a consensus first-round pick in the NFL draft in April.
According to a combine profile of Richardson on NFL.com, "he figures to be one of the top combine performers and will likely warrant a top-20 selection."
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Richardson tied for second on the team in 2012 with 75 total tackles, 101â„2 tackles for loss, four sacks and two fumble recoveries. He also forced three fumbles.
Williams, while playing at the NCAA Division II level at Missouri Southern, might be the second-best prospect of the five. The 6-3, 325-pound defensive tackle was a three-time All-American and was named the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association's defensive player of the year.
Williams amassed 68 tackles, 161â„2 tackles for loss, 81â„2 sacks and five forced fumbles. His combine profile states, "He doesn't have nearly the same skills as someone like Dontari Poe, but has enough talent to be at least a solid rotational tackle who could stick in the league for a while."
Gooden had a solid year at outside linebacker for Missouri despite being hampered by a hamstring injury that caused him to miss two games. The 6-2, 230-pounder still totaled 61 tackles, four tackles for loss and one interception in seven starts.
His combine profile states, "Gooden has the speed to cover a lot of ground at the next level, as well as surprising strength and form tackling to bring down big ball carriers in the open field and handle himself in traffic. ... Even if he doesn't immediately earn a spot as a starter, he should be a valuable contributor on special teams while being groomed as a linebacker."
Bass earned a bevy of All-American honors from various publications for his work as a defensive end for Missouri Western in 2012. He was named one of the eight finalists for the Gene Upshaw Award handed out to the best lineman in Division II.
The 6-5, 275-pounder recorded 61 tackles, 111â„2 sacks and five quarterback hurries for the Griffons, and showed off his durability by starting 50 consecutive games during his career. He has no combine profile.
Moe saw a drop in production for a second straight year his senior season, when he grabbed 40 passes for 399 yards and one touchdown. He caught 54 passes for 649 yards and four touchdowns as a junior and 92 passes for 1,045 yards and six scores as a sophomore.
The 6-0, 200-pound wide receiver doesn't have a combine profile.