Favorite

NFL baffling for Hogs 

Each year, the NFL Draft's escalation/descent toward a more audacious and ludicrous spectacle becomes more obvious, but amid this backdrop of pomp and bluster is a troubling, inane trend.

Each year, the NFL Draft's escalation/descent toward a more audacious and ludicrous spectacle becomes more obvious, but amid this backdrop of pomp and bluster is a troubling, inane trend.

Hunter Henry predictably left Arkansas after three solid years in which everything that made him one of the country's most coveted prep tight end prospects was enhanced. Statistically he was easily the best in the nation in 2015, and the Mackey Award went to him almost by default. But the subtle upticks from year to year in every measureable were in play. Henry's junior year revealed a much different, hungrier player than the one who had been an appreciable asset over 2013-14. He was more aggressive and versatile as a route runner, better in the blocking phase, and far more visible at crunch time.

Ergo, it made perfect sense for the former Pulaski Academy product to go 35th overall to the San Diego Chargers. The choice had "logical fit" all over it: entrenched Antonio Gates is winding down his Hall of Fame-caliber career and the second option, LaDarius Green, capitalized on free agency to sign with Pittsburgh. Henry will produce immediately, barring injury, and should theoretically thrive early for the Chargers' ingrained tradition at that position.

The rest of the Draft, though, was baffling if you were tracking the Razorback prospects. In the fifth round, a running back who just lost his entire senior season to injury (Jonathan Williams) went ahead of his early entrant compatriot whose third 1,000-yard season was easily his best to date (Alex Collins). As the first four rounds went by without Collins' name being called, many wondered if he had made a mistake declaring early. Some even could muse similarly about Williams' decision to bolt, considering he could have redshirted and returned for 2016 healthy and energized.

But those decisions weren't made in a vacuum. Collins had just run for nearly 1,600 yards against the most vicious array of defenses in the country, and scored a single-season school record 20 touchdowns. When Williams took an August practice foot injury, that put the onus on Collins to handle more touches and produce better against SEC competition: He answered that with 10 games of 100 yards or more, and five contests in which he logged 25-plus carries. After taking some knocks for a perceived lack of breakaway speed, he tore off a 70-yard run against UTEP in the opener and ripped off a brilliant 80-yarder in a road demolishing of LSU.

Collins falling to the fifth round would've made more sense had Ohio State's mercurial Ezekiel Elliott not been taken by the Dallas Cowboys with the fourth overall selection. Sure, Elliott was regarded as the genuine can't-miss guy at the position, but he also made some questionable comments last year after Ohio State got bounced from the national championship picture by Michigan State. Thereafter, several running backs with arguably lesser credentials than Collins went — DeAndre Washington, Wendell Smallwood, Jordan Howard and Paul Perkins all went in the fifth round ahead of both Collins and Williams — and it seemed so bizarre to think that a shifty, proven and durable guy would find himself lagging behind that company.

Conventional wisdom of late is that running backs must be rare talents to be taken that high. Yes, the Cowboys demonstrate a general sense of teeming illogic when it pertains to personnel decisions; but my goodness, Collins and Williams, two guys who have generated five 1,000-yard rushing seasons between them against the fastest and hardest-hitting defenders in the country didn't merit anywhere near the plaudits that were extended to other guys with arguably lesser credentials. Is Ezekiel Elliott going to be a full four-plus rounds better as a pro than Collins or Williams?

It's a rhetorical question because, well, he likely will be if for no other reason than he'll be afforded the requisite latitude. The fourth overall pick will have the leash to succeed or fail, and this is not to denigrate Elliott at all, but to note that Williams and Collins fell victim to the malaise that now plagues this damnable three-day exercise. If you grade out as an nth-round product by scouts, then that information is every bit as useful to you as a potential draftee as advice on what watchband best complements your suit.

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • Momentum

    February 23, 2017
    Sure, I'd like to think that Pearls About Swine, that modest batch of haphazard prose, had something to do with motivating Arkansas's beleaguered basketball program to rise from a seemingly inestimable late-season swoon to re-emerge in the NCAA Tournament discussion. /more/
  • Critical stretch

    January 19, 2017
    The minute you take a shine to an Arkansas Razorback team is almost assuredly the same minute you have your sanity tested. /more/
  • Solidly second tier

    January 12, 2017
    It only makes sense that in this numbing era of Razorback slip-and-falls, the Hogs could really put vaunted Kentucky to the test at Rupp Arena for a good 30 minutes of action ... and end up losing by 26 points. /more/
  • Changes needed

    January 5, 2017
    Those who have read this column with some degree of regularity know that I've held fast to the belief that Bret Bielema can and will revive the Arkansas football program. /more/
  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    December 8, 2016
    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte. /more/
  • Woeful

    December 1, 2016
    On Thanksgiving night, Bret Bielema could settle into his bed knowing that after a rather miserable 2013 inauguration, he had slipped comfortably into his job and the results were bearing some small but edible fruits for this ravenous fan base. He was only 25-24, but 18-10 with two bowl wins over his last 28 contests, a smattering of takedowns of ranked teams, and a stabilized roster that showed off the staff's endeavors to enlist and develop a caliber of player that would lead to better days ahead in a rugged conference. /more/
  • Williams shines

    November 24, 2016
    Alternating wins and losses has been the pattern behavior of Arkansas's 2016 season as it draws to its terminus. So after the Hogs gave their most listless and disappointing home effort in a good while against LSU, why wouldn't they just explode all over the cowbell-clanging din in Starkville the next time out? /more/
  • Deflated

    November 17, 2016
    Foolish consistency, per Emerson, is the hobgoblin of little minds. What commentary he would've offered about the Arkansas Razorbacks' 10 weeks of wild inconsistency is for debate, but he might've been more profane than pithy if he had to sit through this madness. /more/
  • Lessons learned

    October 20, 2016
    Picture Bret Bielema pole-vaulting for a minute. Then, once the laughter subsides, hear me out with this absurd analogy. /more/
  • On to Alabama

    October 6, 2016
    With War Memorial Stadium's mystique and alleged efficacy dying by the year, it was at least comforting to watch Arkansas finally devour a purported cupcake there. Bret Bielema boosted his Little Rock record to 2-3, with those two wins coming against Football Championship Subdivision schools, after the Hogs pummeled Alcorn State 52-10 on Saturday. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Beau Wilcox

  • Momentum

    Sure, I'd like to think that Pearls About Swine, that modest batch of haphazard prose, had something to do with motivating Arkansas's beleaguered basketball program to rise from a seemingly inestimable late-season swoon to re-emerge in the NCAA Tournament discussion.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Not worthy

    There's something to be said for an Arkansas basketball team that spends two-and-a-half games looking like quitters before rising off the mat.
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Another disaster

    I swear, y'all, I am trying like hell to come up with a new angle on this tragicomic mess called Arkansas basketball. But every week presents the same dichotomy, and the past few days just qualifies as flat-out bewildering.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Architecture lecture: Sheila Kennedy on "soft" design

    Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
  • Petition calls for Jason Rapert Sewage Tanks in Conway

    A tribute is proposed for Conway's state senator Jason Rapert: naming the city's sewage sludge tanks for him. Petitioners see a similarity.
  • Health agency socked with big verdict, Sen. Hutchinson faulted for legal work

    A former mental health agency director has won a default judgment worth $358,000 over a claim for unpaid retirement pay and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is apparently to blame for failure to respond to pleadings in the case.
  • Religious right group calls for compromise on damage lawsuit amendment

    The Family Council, the religious right political lobby, has issued a statement urging its followers to oppose the so-called tort reform amendment to limit attorney fees and awards in damage lawsuits.
  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.

Latest in Pearls About Swine

  • Momentum

    Sure, I'd like to think that Pearls About Swine, that modest batch of haphazard prose, had something to do with motivating Arkansas's beleaguered basketball program to rise from a seemingly inestimable late-season swoon to re-emerge in the NCAA Tournament discussion.
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Not worthy

    There's something to be said for an Arkansas basketball team that spends two-and-a-half games looking like quitters before rising off the mat.
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Another disaster

    I swear, y'all, I am trying like hell to come up with a new angle on this tragicomic mess called Arkansas basketball. But every week presents the same dichotomy, and the past few days just qualifies as flat-out bewildering.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation