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Two Tigers taken in NFL Draft’s top 10

Aldon Smith

Mizzou defensive end Aldon Smith was taken No. 7 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in Thursday's NFL Draft. Photo by Nicholas Benner

The Mizzou football program made history when Aldon Smith and Blaine Gabbert were selected in the top 10 of the NFL Draft Thursday, April 28, 2011, in New York City. In a surprising turn of events, defensive end Smith was taken No. 7 overall by the San Francisco 49ers ahead of quarterback Gabbert at No. 10 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It is the first time in Mizzou history that two Tigers were selected in the top 10 of the same draft, bringing Coach Gary Pinkel’s total of NFL Draft picks to 19.

“I’m really happy and excited for Blaine and Aldon,” Pinkel said. “They have both had dreams for a long time to play in the NFL, and they’re great examples of how those goals can be reached through our program at Mizzou.”

Smith and Gabbert are the third- and sixth-highest drafted Tigers in school history. Defensive end Justin Smith — now Aldon’s teammate in San Francisco — and tackle Russ Washington were each selected fourth overall in 2001 and 1968, respectively. Other top 10 Tigers include tackle Francis Peay (No. 10, 1966), Bill Dellastatious (No. 8, 1946) and Bob Steuber (No. 9, 1943).

The NFL Draft continues today (rounds 2–3) and Saturday (rounds 4–7). Several Missouri players — linebacker Andrew Gachkar, center Tim Barnes, cornerbacks Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis and safety Jarrell Harrison — are hoping to hear their names called in the remaining days.