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TODAY'S QUESTION: Are you surprised with MU football's recent success in the NFL draft?

Saturday, April 30, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

MU football's recent spell of success on the field has overflowed into the NFL Draft. Two former Tigers players heard their names called in the first round of the draft Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Defensive end Aldon Smith will head west to play for the San Francisco 49ers, and quarterback Blaine Gabbert will go to the east coast to define his role on the Jacksonville Jaguars. They join three other former MU football players in the last four years to be drafted in the first round, giving the program more first-round picks than any other college football team besides the University of Alabama.

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel led the Tigers to 40 wins from 2007-11, the most in school history in a four-year stretch. The program ranks 10th in the nation in wins during this spell.

San Francisco had expressed interest in drafting an MU player, but Smith's name stunned many when it was the seventh called out Thursday night. As a result, ESPN football analyst Adam Schefter expressed worries for Gabbert, proclaiming "the Blaine Gabbert slide is on."

But the "slide" was brief. The former MU quarterback had to wait for two more names to be called before his became the 10th to ring out. This gave MU another first in school history: the first time two Tigers football players have been drafted in the top 10.

Are you surprised with MU football's recent success in the NFL draft?


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