LAS VEGAS, Nev. – This past weekend’s 2022 NFL Draft saw dreams come true for two former University of Missouri standout players.
Cornerback Akayleb Evans was selected in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings with the 118th overall pick. Evans’ college career was mostly at the University of Tulsa, where he played four seasons before coming to Mizzou as a graduate transfer for the 2021 season.
At Tulsa, Evans was a standout defensive player despite being just a two-star recruit out of high school. After getting injured his junior season, Evans sat out the rest of the year under a medical redshirt. He then entered the transfer portal and eventually landed at Mizzou.
NFL scouts ranked Evans as an interesting prospect due to his large size and speed, but his draft stock was hurt because of his history of injuries. Due to the Vikings’ depth at cornerback, Evans will likely have to fight for a spot as a backup and on special teams.
The second of the two Mizzou players selected was star running back Tyler Badie, who was taken in the sixth round with the 196th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens.
Badie spent his entire career at Mizzou where he became one of the best running backs in the SEC, the all-around best conference in college football. Badie earned a spot on the All-SEC team last year, undoubtedly raising his value to NFL teams before he declared for the draft.
Badie is known as a versatile back who can be effective in both running the ball and receiving, quickly gaining that reputation after making the SEC All-Freshman team.
Badie grew up in the Baltimore area, so while it may be comforting coming to a familiar city, it could also raise the pressure to perform.
Known for his speed, Badie competed in the 2011 AAU Junior Olympics as a sprinter. Badie’s quickness, along with his ability to catch and take hits without fumbling, made him an attractive player to NFL teams.
He fell to the sixth round due to his lack of size and questionable ability to block. But Badie will likely see some playing time this season, due to the Ravens’ identity as a running team that utilizes many different backs.
Mizzou players were not the only ones drafted from the state of Missouri, either. Eric Johnson of Missouri State and Sam Roberts of Northwest Missouri State were selected in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.
Johnson was selected 159th overall by the Indianapolis Colts after improving his draft stock with a great performance in the Senior Bowl. The six-foot-five, 300-pound defensive tackle is the 18th player from Springfield to be selected to the NFL.
Also a defensive tackle, Roberts was selected 200th overall by the New England Patriots. Roberts received the Cliff Harris Award in 2021 for being the nation’s best small college defensive player. Roberts is just the seventh player from Maryville to be drafted into the NFL.
A few Mizzou players went undrafted but signed with a team after the draft. Wide receiver Keke Chism and defensive lineman Akial Byers both signed with the Green Bay Packers; cornerback Allie Green signed with the Chicago Bears; and center Michael Maietti signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.