COLUMBIA (KMOX) — The Daniel J. Devine Pavilion was busy Thursday afternoon as Mizzou players looked to improve their NFL Draft stock. Zaviar Gooden, Sheldon Richardson, T.J. Moe and others performed timing and fitness drills in front of 25 representatives from 17 different NFL teams.

Among the most notable showings was linebacker Zaviar Gooden’s, who sat out several drills due to his good results at the NFL combine in February. But that did not stop Gooden from entertaining the crowd with a 38.5 inch vertical jump. Gooden believed that he could have improved his 40-yard dash time, but opted out of the drill since he had already recorded the best time (4.47 seconds) for any linebacker at the combine. When asked if there was one word to describe the entire process of preparing for the NFL, Gooden simply responded with, “blessing.”

Sheldon Richardson also drew a lot of attention from scouts and fans alike. The defensive back had already exhibited his abilities in Indianapolis at the combine, but his 40-yard dash was 5.02 seconds. Richardson ran the drill again on Thursday, and improved to a speedier 4.71 second time. The St. Louis native talked about the interest he has generated from scouts, saying that the most common thing NFL teams have liked about him is his motor. He admitted that the most frequent question teams have had for him is about his one-game suspension during the 2012 season. Richardson claimed that he was very open with teams when addressing the issue, saying, “they’re either going to draft me, or they’re not.” He also discussed the possibility of playing for his hometown St. Louis Rams, saying with a smile, that he would be alright with that. The animated Richardson was not shy when asked about the idea of playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, touting that he believes he is good enough to be the number one overall pick. And in response to a question about which specific teams have shown interest in him, the defensive back answered, “the whole NFL wants Sheldon Richardson.”

Wide Receiver T.J. Moe was in attendance as well, even though he only participated in one timing test (the 40-yard dash). Moe performed well at the NFL combine in February, excelling in all of his drills except the 40-yard dash, which he ran in 4.74 seconds. Moe, a St. Charles product, was able to improve his time on Thursday, running as fast as 4.5 seconds. When asked what he thought of his faster time, Moe said, “perfect. Anything’s better than what I ran at the combine.” The wide receiver also discussed the idea of playing for his hometown St. Louis Rams, who may not have Danny Amendola returning this season. Like Richardson, Moe also said that he would be just fine ending up with the Rams.

Another noteworthy performance was given by running back Kendial Lawrence, who wowed scouts with a 4.3 second 40-yard dash.

Overall, Mizzou’s players helped their draft statuses with improved timing drills. The Tigers hope to add to the recent list of NFL draft picks out of the University of Missouri. While several MU players might be drafted, Sheldon Richardson has the chance to be one of the top picks this year.

The NFL Draft will take place in New York City from April 25th through April 27th.

-A. Kastman


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