NFL Draft: St. Louis area players hope to have their names called this weekend

NFL Draft

Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins (7) celebrates after sacking Florida quarterback Emory Jones, center left on knee, during the second half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

ST. LOUIS– The National Football League Draft is set to start Thursday night in Cleveland, and over the course of the three-day event, several players from the St. Louis area or from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois figure to hear their names called and their professional careers launched.

The first round will be announced Thursday night, with rounds two and three on Friday, followed by rounds four through seven on Saturday.

The first names with local ties to come off the board figure to be Missouri LB Nick Bolton, and Oklahoma Edge Rusher Ronnie Perkins (Lutheran North). Both have hovered around predictions of late-first, early-second round picks.

Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton celebrates a play as the Tigers took on Kentuckyat Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo. on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Hunter Dyke/Mizzou Athletics

Perkins has been a standout pass rusher in three seasons at Oklahoma. He missed five games this past season due to an NCAA suspension, but still had 5.5 sacks in 6 games.

Bolton has been the emotional and physical leader of the Missouri defense the past two seasons, earning first team All SEC honors in each campaign. He’s the kind of hammer-meets-nail linebacker NFL teams love, but will come into the league undersized by an inch or two.

Only a handful of placekickers are selected annually, and Edwardsville, Ill native Riley Patterson has a shot at being one of them. Patterson has been the starting kicker at Memphis for most of his four years with the Tigers. His stats say he had a better 2019 season than 2020.

Memphis place kicker Riley Patterson (36) watches his field goal attempt during warmups before an NCAA Cotton Bowl college football game against Penn State, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)

He’s assured of at the very least having an opportunity as a priority free agent, and would join fellow Metro East natives Austin Seibert (Belleville West) and Tucker McCann (O’Fallon) in the NFL. Patterson said all three of them were little league teammates growing up.

Have they offered any advice?

“Make kicks, man… At the end of the day, NFL coaches want to see you make kicks, overcome different adversity, whether its the weather, whether its the situation in the game, whether you had missed or made the kick previous to the one you’re about to do, having that same consistent mindset, not getting too aggravated with a miss, not getting too high after you make a great field goal, just a consistent mindset and at the end of the day, making kicks and doing great on kickoffs,” Patterson told FOX2 last month.

Ball State Cardinals cornerback Antonio Phillips (21) during an NCAA football game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Oxford, Ohio. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

Antonio Phillips is another local prep product who could get drafted or see a priority free agent deal come his way. The defensive back and Kirkwood alum joined a long line of St. Louis-talent who has gone to the MAC and thrived.

At Ball State, Phillips was first team All-Conference as a junior and second team as a senior. He had an offseason back procedure and didn’t work out for teams at a Pro Day.

Other Missouri and Illinois players who could be drafted or be sought after on the priority free agent market:

Kendrick Green
Guard/Illinois

Josh Imatorbhebhe
WR/Illinois

Nate Hobbs
CB/Illinois

Tyree Gillespie
S/Missouri

Larry Rountree III
RB/Missouri

Larry Borom
Guard/Missouri

Damon Hazelton
WR/Missouri

Josh Bledsoe
S/Missouri

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

St. Louis Sports

FOX2 Sports is your home for the latest information about the St. Louis Cardinals, the St. Louis Blues, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri, and the University of Illinois.

Are the Cardinals making a big trade? Are the Blues ready for another Stanley Cup run? Is someone going to sign a major free-agent deal? Are the Tigers, Billikens and Illini bringing in the next big recruiting class? We cover all the big games that matter.

The MLS is coming to St. Louis in 2023 and we’ll be here for the start of STL SC too. The XFL thrived in its reboot season playing at the Dome at America’s Center, and if the BattleHawks return in 2022, we’ll be there to tackle it.

St. Louis is home to some of the best high school student-athletes who go on to succeed in the pros and beyond. Before Larry Hughes, Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum made a name for themselves as Division I NCAA basketball stars at SLU, Florida, and Duke, they played at CBC and Chaminade. Before Ezekiel Elliott, Sheldon Richardson and Jeremy Maclin became Ohio State Buckeyes and Missouri Tigers and NFL first-round draft picks, they went to John Burroughs, Gateway Tech and Kirkwood. All of them were featured in the FOX2 Prep Zone before they went off to the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and beyond.

Members of our team, including Sports Director Martin Kilcoyne, Charlie Marlow, and Rich Gould have covered every significant moment in St. Louis sports since 1987, from the football Cardinals’ departure for Arizona to the arrival of the St. Louis Rams; from the Mark McGwire home run chase to the Cardinals’ World Series titles, to the St. Louis Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf era’s Super Bowl crown; from Brett Hull to Vladimir Tarasenko, we’ve covered the Blues all the way to the team’s first Stanley Cup.

Think of all the great characters in St. Louis area sports history. Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Charlie Spoonhour, Norm Stewart, Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa, Stan Musial, Dick Vermiel, Lou Brock, Albert Pujols, Kurt Warner, Ozzie Smith, Hull, Pat Maroon, Keith Tkachuk, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, David Freese. All of them talk to us.

Popular

Latest News

More News