In 2017 as a freshman, Albert Okwuegbunam caught 11 touchdown passes from former Missouri quarterback Drew Lock.
Now, the former Missouri tight end will reunite with Lock in Denver as the Broncos drafted Okwuegbunam in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Lock was chosen in the second round of last year’s draft by general manager John Elway and Co.
"I can’t wait to get up there," Okwuegbunam said during a phone call with Elway on Saturday, which the Broncos recorded and posted to their social media accounts. "Man, this is amazing. I can’t wait to get back with Drew. It’s gonna be great."
"We’re really excited about you," Elway replied. "You’re going to be a great fit for us. We talked to Drew this morning and he loves you to death, so we’re thrilled that you’re there."
Okwuegbunam proved himself to be among the elite tight ends in this draft class when it comes to receiving and running. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of any tight end at the NFL Combine in 4.49 seconds.
But according to Nate Davis, an NFL reporter with USA TODAY, teams were concerned about his abilities with fundamentals like blocking.
"He’s a real boom or bust guy," Davis said earlier in the week. "... I’ve heard some people that really like his potential a lot. I know a lot of other people don’t really think he’s much of a prospect.
"He’s really good at beating up on Memphis and Vanderbilt, but you don’t see him show up in a lot of other games. I know he’s kind of raw, too. It only takes one team to fall in love with him. I can’t imagine he’s going to go before Saturday, but I’m sure somebody is going to take a flyer on him somewhere in there."
Denver has done just that, adding Okwuebunam after selecting other offensive weapons for Lock over the first two days of the draft in former Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy as well as Penn State kick returner and wide receiver K.J. Hamler.
"MIZ! Welcome to Denver Big Boi!" Lock tweeted minutes after Okwuebunam’s selection.
Okwuegbunam’s last season without injury problems for MU was 2017, when he fell one short of a dozen touchdown receptions. In 2019, the Springfield, Illinois, native played in 11 games with the Tigers but started only nine. He did lead the team with six touchdown receptions, the same amount he had in his shortened 2018 campaign.
Okwuegbunam wasn’t the first MU football alum taken in this year’s draft.
Defensive tackle Jordan Elliott was selected Friday night in the third round (88th overall) by the Cleveland Browns.
"He’s the type of guy that can tie up blocks for you and maybe clean up a quarterback on sacks when the pressure gets there," Davis said of Elliott. "I’m not sure he can be a main guy to do that. I think he can be a solid starter in the league. ... He’s one of those dirty work kind of guys."
Elliott played in all 12 of Missouri’s games in 2019 and posted 44 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and three sacks.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder draws comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman and former Notre Dame standout Stephon Tuitt.
Elliott is set to join former Missouri star Sheldon Richardson with the Browns. Richardson, also a defensive tackle, is in the second year of a three-year, $37 million contract.
No other Missouri players were drafted as of press time, which coincided with the middle of the seventh (and final) round of the draft.
Undrafted players still have the chance to sign as free agents.