Missouri junior defensive end Kony Ealy made it official Friday night after the Cotton Bowl, revealing he would skip his senior year to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Ealy is rated as the No. 3 draft-eligible defensive end for the 2014 class and the No. 24 prospect overall by NFLDraftScout.com. The 6-5, 275-pound pass rusher projects as a first round prospect.
A two-year starter, Ealy finished the season second on the team behind Michael Sam in sacks with 8.5, but he projects as the better NFL prospect. He did lead Missouri in forced fumbles (3) and quarterback hurries (16), setting career-bests across the board in 2013.
Ealy is built well for an edge rusher and wins with his quick first step, length to engage and rip and the hand strength to powerfully finish tackles. He is still developing as a run defender and needs to improve his ball awareness to better set the edge and shed consistently vs. the run. A versatile athlete, Ealy can win using speed off the edge and quickness to penetrate as an interior rusher. He's just scratching the surface of his ability and should continue to improve with his pass rush moves.