Following their most successful draft class for several years, what does the 2023 NFL Draft hold for the Arkansas Razorbacks? From an outstanding safety prospect through one of the best centers in the class to a potential sleeper quarterback selection, there’s plenty to be excited about for Arkansas fans ahead of the 2022 college football season.
Arkansas prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft
In his two seasons as Arkansas head coach, Sam Pittman has bough respectability to the Razorbacks. Their 9-4 record last year, which included an Outback Bowl win, was the best that the program has had since 2011. Wide receiver Treylon Burks gave Arkansas their first Day 1 selection since 2018 and was the first offensive Razorback skill player to be selected in Round 1 since Darren McFadden in 2008. A repeat of that success might be challenging next April, but Arkansas have enough 2023 NFL Draft prospects to have a fruitful class.
Jalen Catalon, S
If there is one player who can put Arkansas in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, it might well be safety Jalen Catalon. The Razorback’s playmaker in the secondary was earning significant interest this time last year. However, injury curtailed his campaign and saw a return for another season. Powerful, mean, dangerous, and smart, Catalon is an aggressive downhill hitter with a red hot motor. The versatile safety will hope to put injury concerns behind him as one of the top defensive playmakers in the SEC this fall.
Ricky Stromberg, C
Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg was another prospect who eschewed positive attention in the last cycle to return to the Razorbacks for another season. Like Catalon, he’ll immediately garner respect as one of the top players at his position. Stromberg flashes excellent athletic ability, strength, and football intelligence in his command of the pivot. He has the flexibility to flip his hips and toss a man to the ground coupled with a violent demeanor that makes him a mauler in the ground game.
Jadon Haselwood, WR
With the departure of Burks, Arkansas dipped into the transfer portal to find some offensive weaponry this fall. In doing so, they snagged Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma who has the potential to be an impactful 2023 NFL Draft prospect. While he’s not quite the brute that Burks was, Haselwood plays the game with physicality and possesses decent size at 6’3″ and 202 pounds. Solid hands, impressive catch radius, and excellent technique ensure that the former Sooner should be a reliable target for quarterback K.J. Jefferson.
K.J. Jefferson, QB
Speaking of Jefferson, don’t sleep on the Arkansas quarterback as an under-the-radar quarterback prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. He completed 67.3% of his passes last season for 2,676 yards and 21 touchdowns. As a passer, he showcases good deep and short-range accuracy. Jefferson is also a true dual threat. The Arkansas QB ran the rock an astounding 146 times for 664 rushing yards and six touchdowns. At 6’3″ and 245 pounds, there’s a Cam Newton-Esque nature to his game. No, that isn’t a direct comparison.
Latavious Brini, DB
Having played sparingly during his first three collegiate seasons, Latavious Brini saw a significantly increased role as part of the Georgia Bulldogs secondary last season. The senior defensive back tallied 38 tackles including two and a half for loss. Meanwhile, he broke up eight passes. Rather than depart for the NFL, Brini entered the transfer portal, bringing some production and upside to the Arkansas DB room. At 6’2″ and 210 pounds, he offers size, enticing athletic ability, and football IQ as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect.
Jordan Domineck, DE
Arkansas has done a good job of bolstering their ranks in the transfer portal this off-season, an indictment of the progress the program is making under Pittman. In 6’3″, 245 pounds pass rusher Jordan Domineck, they have a defensive playmaker who can help replace the lost production of sack leader Tre’ Williams. Domineck has showcased a great first step, speed, power, and play diagnosis both as a pass rusher and against the run. He has two years of eligibility but a productive season could see him enter the 2023 NFL Draft.
Drew Sanders, LB
Another defensive transfer who could emerge as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect for Arkansas is Drew Sanders. The former five-star prospect saw substantial snaps for Alabama last season before entering the transfer portal. Sanders offers Arkansas an exceptional athlete who at 6’5″ and 232 pounds has the size and length to be impactful in multiple phases of the game. Sanders also boasts special teams experience from his two seasons with Alabama.
Bumper Pool, LB
Not content with boasting possibly the best name in the SEC, Bumper Pool led the conference with 80 solo tackles last year. Furthermore, the Arkansas linebacker has more solo tackles (212) than any other player in the conference since 2005. As you’d expect from someone with such gaudy production, Pool excels with play diagnosis against the run. He may not possess the prototypical physical or athletic profile of an NFL linebacker. However, Pool gets the business done between the tackles while having coverage ability.
Dalton Wagner, OT
At 6’9″ and 337 pounds, Arkansas right tackle Dalton Wagner might draw 2023 NFL Draft interest based on size alone. However, he’s also shown some flashes of potential. For his size, Wagner actually plays with decent pad level. Meanwhile, he’s demonstrated the requisite nastiness to punish opponents both in the run game and as a pass protector. He’ll be a fun player to watch on Saturdays this fall.
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