This is an excerpt of a column I wrote for Sporting Life Arkansas. You can read it in its entirety here.
It's mostly a collection of thoughts regarding different things that happened throughout the weekend. Bits and pieces of it are included in the excerpt.
Between Friday and Saturday there was plenty of reason for both disappointment and celebration, and judging from the reaction I saw, most feelings leaned toward the former.
I’m not one of the people who believes the NFL Draft provides a definitive statement on the status of a program (see: Florida State leading the nation with 11 picks) but I do think there are things we can safely take away from it. Here is a collection of them from the weekend.
At any time during Arkansas’ 21-5 run, if I told you that the highest drafted player on those teams would be a third round pick (Ryan Mallett in 2011), would you have believed me?
I wouldn’t have believed me.
While Razorback football fans should be very proud of the program’s contributions to the NFL Draft in recent years, and similarly excited about Bielema’s output at Wisconsin, what should be clear is that Arkansas and Bielema must improve on defensive player recruitment/development. Since the 2008 draft, Arkansas and Wisconsin combined have had 43 players drafted, but only eight were defensive players.
Rutgers. How come nobody told us Rutgers had seven NFL picks on that team? The Scarlet Knights were already having a decent draft, but then dominated the seventh round with four picks. It’s incredible that Cobi Hamilton set the SEC’s single game receiving yardage record against a team with three NFL defensive backs on its team.
A lot of chatter about the impact of Bobby Petrino on the draft stock of Arkansas’ players, particularly Tyler Wilson. It’s hard to say for certain how much of an impact 2012 really had. If anything, I’d say Wilson’s a victim of circumstance because the NFL just didn’t seem to be as hungry for quarterbacks this year. There were four quarterbacks taken in the first round last year and a fifth taken in the second. This year, just three taken in the first three rounds. If you take the boat where the fish aren’t biting, it’s a lot harder to get a bite.
That being said, what happened to him in 2012 certainly did not help his draft stock. Some of that is a result of Petrino not being around, but some of Wilson’s detractions are the same we saw in 2011 (not just getting hit, but violently hit way too often) or knew were going to happen anyway (the 2012 receiving corps had no chance to equal the quality of 2011).