Monday, April 4, 2011

Mizzou becoming an NFL favorite

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, right, stands nearby as Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, left, prepares to throw for NFL football scouts Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Columbia, Mo. Gabbert is a likely first-round pick and hopes to be the first quarterback chosen in the April 28 draft. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

BY JIM THOMAS • jthomas@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8197 | Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2011 7:00 am |

The Mizzou weight room was so crowded it was hard to move around. As each Tigers draft prospect took his turn at the 225-pound bench press, former teammates shouted encouragement. They shared the space with more than 100 NFL coaches, scouts and personnel executives - all 32 teams were represented.

Several dozen spectators watched from the upstairs balcony - a mix of agents, media people and friends and relatives of participants. The media roster included Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News,SI.com and the Kansas City Star, plus draft analysts Gil Brandt (NFL.com), Mike Mayock (NFL Network) and Todd McShay (ESPN). And, naturally, just about every media outlet in mid-Missouri was there as well.

Not even Cam Newton's Auburn workout attracted this kind of media crush, one scout said.

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