HOOVER, Ala. -- Despite plenty of questions about Dorial Green-Beckham's character, and a pending season on the sideline at Oklahoma under NCAA transfer rules, the star wide receiver who was dismissed from Missouri in the spring will nevertheless be a first-round NFL draft pick, his former quarterback said Wednesday at SEC Media Days.
"I know the ability he has -- he's a first-round draft pick, if not a first (overall) pick," said Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk. "He's just got to get back to doing everything the right way, and he's going to be fine. I wish him the best of luck."
Green-Beckham arrived as one of the top receivers in the college game last season at Missouri, catching 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was dismissed from Missouri in the spring, however, after his alleged involvement in a burglary investigation that ultimately resulted in no criminal charges, but breaking-point embarrassment for Missouri football. It was not Green-Beckham's first scrape with the law, and the Sooners can only hope it will be his last. Earlier this month, the gifted receiver was signed by Oklahoma, but is expected to have to sit out the 2014 season under a transfer rule that can be appealed.
Mauk said he stays in contact with Green-Beckham and spoke with him in recent days, noting that the sophomore is participating in summer workouts at OU. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel briefly addressed the on-field impact of Green-Beckham's absence Wednesday, noting that the team's tight ends might have to help fill the void left by the 6-foot-6, 225-pound star who was once the nation's No. 1-rated high school recruit.
"We just don't have to replace a receiver with a receiver necessarily. There are other ways we can go, and that's our challenge getting into August," Pinkel said.
Added Mauk, who connected with Green-Beckham for four touchdown passes last season against Kentucky: "You don't have anybody like that. That doesn't come around very often."
If Green-Beckham is going to live up to Mauk's draft projection, the wide receiver will not only need to play at a high level when he becomes eligible for the Sooners in 2015, but repair his image as a character risk with model behavior beginning with his sit-out year this fall. The 2016 draft figures to be the earliest pro option for Green-Beckham. Under that scenario, he could sit out this year, and put one more season of football on tape for scouts in 2015.