Tracking Arkansas Football Players in the 2012 NFL Draft
There is no question the SEC will have more players selected in the 2012 NFL draft than any other conference, and one of the teams contributing to those selections will be the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Arkansas had a successful season in 2011, and that will translate to the draft beginning tonight, but their best draft may just come in 2013.
The Razorbacks do not have top-of-the-line talent like a lot of other SEC teams, but they do have multiple players who will be selected over the next few days.
We will be updating all of the Arkansas draft picks right here as they happen, so check back for news and updates on the Razorbacks throughout the weekend.
Arkansas is not going to see their players start to go off the board until late Friday night or even Saturday, since it is not likely anybody will go in the first three rounds.
Jake Bequette, DE, Drafted by New England Patriots, 3rd Round, No. 90 Overall
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Former Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end Jake Bequette has at best average talent.
According to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, his strengths include a solid, strong frame, an aggressive playing style, some good quickness off the snap and good closing speed.
Brugler also says Bequette has good run-recognition awareness, has a terrific motor and has a nice collegiate resume as a team leader and productive four-year starter.
On the other hand, Brugler asserts that Bequette is very average athletically with tight hips, lacks a good burst, and is limited in regard to strength.
Jake Bequette Highlights
For an interesting read on Bequette regarding his interesting road to the University of Arkansas, and the pedigree of success his family had instilled there prior to his arrival there, read here.
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When the most glowing compliments paid you by an NFL scouts and draft experts contain phrases like "some good quickness" or "nice collegiate resume as a team leader," chances are the player's ceiling isn't out of arm's reach. That seems to be the case with Bequette—there are concerns about his "average" athleticism, the absence of a burst and limited strength. The good news is the New England Patriots got a hard worker with a good head on his shoulders, but it generally takes more than that to make an impact in the NFL.
Joe Adams, WR, Drafted by Carolina Panthers, 4th Round (No. 104 Overall)
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Wide receiver Joe Adams was often overshadowed during his college career at Arkansas. Teammates like Greg Childs and Jarius Wright shared the spotlight, and often outshined Adams. However, the draft process gave Adams the opportunity to make a name for himself.
His performance at the combine was less than impressive, as his top 40 time was 4.55 seconds. However, Adams is seen as more quick than fast. This is evident by his ability to create in space, especially in the return game.
Mel Kiper Jr. sees upside in Adams, but there are concerns keeping his stock down.
He's an excellent player and incredibly fast - 4.3 speed - but he has had some issues with dropping balls. Periods of inconsistency have to bother you with Adams.
Adams will immediately make an impact in the return game. His shiftiness and dynamic playmaking ability in space make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field. Outside of the return game, he should contend for playing time in the slot.
There are a few occasions where Adams loses focus and drops a catchable ball. This will be the type of thing that holds him back early in his career. However, his explosiveness will be tough to keep off the field, which should result in some specific packages designed for Adams.
Ranked No. 94 on Matt Miller's Big Board, Adams not only could be a go-to slot receiver for Cam Newton, but the SEC standout has the ability to become one of the league's best young returners, giving Carolina a boost on special teams.
Jarius Wright, WR, Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, 4th Round (No. 118 Overall)
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Jarius Wright, a 5'10", 182-pound wide receiver, led the explosive Razorback offense with 66 catches for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2011—all school records.
Wright finished his career at Arkansas with 44 starts and is the school's career leader in receptions (168), receiving yards (2,934), and is second in receiving touchdowns (24).
He has the ability to play both in the slot and on the outside despite his small stature thanks to his straight-line speed and leaping ability.
Combine Results: 40-Yard Dash: 4.42 sec. Vertical Jump: 38 inches. Broad Jump: 10'0". 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.03 sec. 3-Cone Drill: 6.93 sec.
What the Experts Are Saying
"Wright is a very quick player who understands how to work out of the slot and sit down in the holes of zone defenses .. tough in traffic ... He understands the angling aspect of route running ... He has quick hands to snag the ball in short throws and the ability to reel it in deep."
ESPN's Scouts Inc. highlights these strengths in their scouting report on Wright:
"Uses initial burst to drive corners back on hitch routes and can separate from man coverage on drag routes ... Above average focus when the ball is in the air. Above average body control and can adjust to passes thrown behind him."
CBS Sports ranks Wright as their 22nd-best WR prospect, and their own Dane Brugler has this to say about his weaknesses:
"Lacks ideal size and strength and is a smallish target with a lean, frail-looking frame ... Gets himself in trouble with body catches."
While there is no questioning Wright's production in college, scouts are hesitant to believe the receiver can continue putting up big numbers in the NFL. They call into question his small stature and hands (8.5"), and worry they may offset his speed advantage.
If Wright can overcome his size concerns and takes well to a new coaching style there is no reason to believe he could not become a starter by his third season.
He brings a lot of value as a slot receiver and should be able to produce near the level of Chargers' without Eddie Royal.
The Vikings bolster their WR depth behind Percy Harvin and newly-inked Jerome Simpson. Hopefully Wright's dynamic college career will morph into success with the Vikes.
Greg Childs, WR, Drafted by Minnesota Vikings, 4th Round (No. 134 Overall)
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Greg Childs' impact was felt early on in his Arkansas career, as he saw extensive playing time starting as a true freshman. His combination of size and speed allowed him to blossom into a primary target in Bobby Petrino's high-powered Razorbacks offense as a sophomore and junior, although a 2010 major patellar tendon injury curtailed his production for the balance of his career.
The big-framed receiver (6'3", 219 pounds) showed during his pro day that, when healthy, he stacks up with nearly every over receiver from an athleticism standpoint in this draft. Counting on his health is an inherent risk, but one that presents an intriguing reward.
Combine Results: 40-Yard Dash: 4.5 seconds. Bench Press: 19 reps. Broad Jump: 125.0". Vertical Jump: 36.5"
Pro Day: Childs made his pre-draft money by wowing at his Arkansas pro day, recording a 4.41 40, 40.5" vertical jump, and 127" broad jump.
From his profile on NFL.com:
Childs understands how to use his body in the short game to create enough space to be effective. He builds up his speed throughout the route but is good to battle with corners underneath when trying to work slant and drive routes to gain position. He isn't a physical player, but he will use his big frame to shield when necessary. When running the fade route, he understands how to use the sideline to his advantage. He can make any catch within his large radius and is good to torque his body when running in-phase.
If healthy and placed in the right offense, Childs could develop into a consistent starter and vertical threat.
Hard to argue with a Top-100, SEC-experienced athlete for the bottom of the fourth round.