Texas A&M vs Missouri: Top NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in SEC Clash

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 30, 2013

Nov 23, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) during a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Texas A&M 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

With the Texas A&M Aggies going up against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, there are a number of exciting NFL draft prospects to watch for.

The Tigers are currently 10-1 and are looking to hold onto the top spot of the SEC East in order to go to the conference championship game.  Meanwhile, the Aggies are coming off of a tough loss against LSU and are near the bottom of the BCS Top 25 at No. 21, hoping for another win before bowl season begins.

While Missouri is the favorite in this one, this game is still up for grabs.  With an exciting game like this, it gives us an excellent opportunity to look at some of the talent that will be taken in the NFL draft in May. 

Let's break down some of these NFL prospects and look at where they could be taken during the draft.


Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Nov 9, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a pass and runs for a 75-yard gain against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the second half at Kyle Field. Texas A&M won 51-41. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Cam
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

In just two short seasons, wide receiver Mike Evans has become one of the most productive wide receivers in the country. 

Evans finished with 1,105 yards and five touchdowns during the 2012 season, back when he was just a redshirt freshman. While his receptions are down this year, Evans has been an even more productive player, with 61 receptions for 1,314 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's averaging 21.5 yards per catch, and that's a mark that's just incredible.

At 6'5'' and 225 pounds, Evans is an intimidating player to cover for opposing defensive backs. He combines his excellent size with some surprising speed and explosiveness, along with a terrific ability to snatch balls out of the air and make some acrobatic catches near the sideline.

While not the fastest receiver out there, Evans is still capable of playing on the outside at the next level. He could be an excellent option for any team looking for a red zone threat, making him even more valuable.

Sammy Watkins is still the top wide receiver entering this class, but Evans could be right behind him if he declares for the draft. Evans could go in the middle of the first round to a team like the Baltimore Ravens, who are clearly missing Anquan Boldin.


Michael Sam, DE, Missouri

Oct 19, 2013; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) celebrates after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) (not pictured) during the second half at Faurot Field. Missouri won 36-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Med
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't seen Michael Sam play yet, this would be a terrific game to watch him play, going against a top-tier offensive tackle like Jake Matthews.

Through 11 games this season, Sam has been a force in the backfield, racking up 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, according to CFBStats.com. Considering the level of talent he's been playing against in the SEC, those are some impressive numbers.

Sam has some surprising length for only being 6'2'' and 255 pounds, and it works to his advantage. He's capable of playing as a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end, using his dominating pass-rushing abilities to get to the opposing quarterback.

I want to see Sam add some weight during the offseason. If he does that, I think he'd be the perfect fit in a 4-3 scheme, and that could help him go late in the first round to a team like the Denver Broncos.


Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

If you look past all of the off-field controversy and look at Johnny Manziel as a player, you'll notice that he's actually become a more effective play-maker and one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation.

The numbers themselves are quite impressive for Manziel, as he's completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,537 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  He's also made plenty of plays on the ground, running for another 665 yards and eight touchdowns.

It's been clear this season that Manziel has developed as a passer. While his mechanics are still awkward at times, he's started to do a better job of reading defenses and going through his progressions to find the open players. His determination to make big plays by any means necessary makes him an incredibly entertaining player to watch as well.

Height could be a concern at 6'1'' and some are worried that Manziel's style of play could lead to him getting hurt at the next level. However, with his huge upside and his ability to work on his game, Manziel could be drafted in the first round by a team with an obvious need at the position, perhaps by a team like the Cleveland Browns or Oakland Raiders.