Missouri Tiger NFL Recap

Three Missouri Tiger players were drafted in the 2011 NFL draft, including two Tigers in the first round that were top 10 picks. They share their thoughts on the experience.

The 2011 NFL Draft is complete, and three Missouri Tigers were selected.  Aldon Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers with the 7th pick of the first round, and Blaine Gabbert was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 10th overall pick.

ShowMeMizzou.com caught up with Smith, and he shared some of his thoughts about being the number seven overall selection.
"It's definitely exciting,"  said Smith, who enjoyed the draft experience in New York with his family.  "It was a good surprise.  It was cool."

Smith has since been to San Francisco for a press conference, and a short visit with the Forty-Niner brass.  He said that he hasn't really had the discussion with the Forty-Niner staff about how he will be utilized.

Smith will be teamed up on the defensive line in San Francisco with former Missouri Tiger great, Justin Smith.  No relation.

Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert was talked about going in the draft possibly as high as the number one pick overall according to some analysts early, and was thought to be worthy of being a top 5 pick in the 2011 draft. He wound up going number 10 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and felt good about his selection at that spot.

"I never went into this draft with any expectations," said Gabbert." " It was one of those things where I knew you were going to end up where you're supposed to end up. Whatever team you got drafted by was the team that wanted you the most and I'm honored to be a Jaguar."

Two days later, the San Diego Chargers made Andrew Gachkar a 7th-round pick.

"It was a surprise at the time," said Gachkar, talking about being selected in the 7th round.  "Obviously, I wanted to go earlier, but it was still a good thing to see.  It was exciting!"

San Diego plans to play Gachkar at an outside linebacker spot, where he can utilize his speed and pass-coverage skills.  He'll also be a valuable special teams player.

"I talked to the (San Diego) coaches, when they drafted me," explained Gachkar.  "It's a great city in which to live, and the Chargers have a really good team.  They want me to play the cover linebacker in their three-four scheme.  In their system, it's the weak-side linebacker.  Obviously, I'll be playing a lot of special teams.  That's something that I figure that I can do at a high level.  Those are the kinds of things that they want me to do."

The NFL labor dispute places the draftees' careers on hold.  They won't be able to sign a contract, or attend any mini-camps, until the lockout is lifted.  Gachkar said that he'll just continue to work out, and be ready for when the labor dispute is resolved, which Smith said that he hopes is pretty soon.

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