Missouri junior defensive end Kony Ealy will enter the 2014 NFL Draft, he said in a news conference after the Tigers' 41-31 win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night.
Ealy (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) had 9.5 sacks this season, including two in the Cotton Bowl. His departure means Mizzou will lose both starting defensive ends; Michael Sam, who had 11.5 sacks this season, is a senior. Ealy also had 14.5 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles this season.
This season was Ealy's second as a starter. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2010, then played extensively as a backup in 2011. He came on strong in the second half of this season.
Ealy runs well -- he has been clocked as fast as 4.77 seconds in the 40 -- and is equally adept stopping the run and rushing the passer. He will be one of the most well-rounded linemen in the draft. Assuming he tests well in pre-draft workouts and at the combine, Ealy easily could be a first-round pick. He always has been athletic and has improved his technique each season.