Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam was plastered all over various NFL mock drafts last season, even though he was only a redshirt sophomore.
But last season was also fairly deep at the position, so Okwuegbunam’s decision to stay in school seemed sound, even though his quarterback, Drew Lock, was leaving for the draft as a second-rounder by Denver.
Instead, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound redshirt junior turned in his worst season statistically, hauling in 26 passes for 306 yards and 6 touchdowns. By comparison, Okwuegbunam had 11 TD receptions as a freshman, and last season caught 43 passes for 466 yards.
He declared for the draft earlier this month.
Thank You 🖤🐯 pic.twitter.com/x8I3hMo6xM
— Albert Okwuegbunam (@AOkwuegbunam) December 2, 2019
Still, evaluators have to account for Missouri’s quarterback situation as part of the reason for Okwuegbunam’s lower numbers. There are other questions, too, like Okwuegbunam’s blocking ability and route-running skills. Another concern? Okwuegbunam’s passion, says Pro Football Network draft analyst Tony Pauline.
“There have always been questions surrounding or concerning his passion for football,” Pauline writes in his latest mailbag column. “He’s academically gifted and I was told last year he wants to enter the medical field – which is why he did not enter the 2019 draft. That’s not a bad thing – but teams might wonder if things don’t work out or there are major bumps in the road, will Okwuegbunam stay with football or say ‘I’m out of here’ and become a doctor.”
Okwuegbunam is currently the No. 59 overall prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Steve big board.