Alabama vs. Arkansas looked like one of the best matchups of the year on paper prior to Arkansas losing a nail-biter to…Louisiana Monroe? Arkansas’ first loss of the season was expected to be to Alabama if anybody, but it turned out to be ULM who pulled off the upset over our pre-season number nine team in the country.
Even worse for the Hogs, they will be without star quarterback Tyler Wilson for their early-season matchup against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and that always stellar defensive unit.
Neither team has a class like Alabama did last year going into the 2013 NFL Draft, but both teams boast plenty of potential NFL talent. One of my favorite, more underrated prospects in this game is Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg, a 6’3″ 236 pound hybrid player who has 14 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns through the team’s first two games. Here is our scouting report on Gragg from before the season:
Gragg is an interesting tight end prospect who broke out as a receiver in 2011 with 41 receptions for 518 yards and two touchdowns, doubling his career touchdown total. In terms of his blocking, he uses his hands well and extends his arms with a good base, and does a solid job of sealing the edge for backs. However, he will really get noticed by scouts for his ability to catch the ball and make plays down the field. Gets off the line really quickly and does a good job of making plays after the catch. Big target who can play in-line as a tight end, out wide as a receiver, or in the backfield as a fullback. I like his upside at the next level, and he looks like a great athlete who could be a starting tight end in the NFL. Doesn’t have great overall size in terms of being a full-time tight end, but he can be an excellent and very dangerous H-back option for some team. He will be an interesting weapon at the next level.
Check out the full report on all of our Arkansas players by following this link.
Alabama once again is littered with NFL prospects, most notably on their offensive line. There could be four or maybe even all five guys with a top 64 selection status in their near future. The beast among this group of men is guard Chance Warmack, who is currently sitting at number two overall on Todd McShay’s big board. He thinks he should be a top ten selection. Here is my projection prior to the season on Warmack, though my guess of where he could wind up in the draft is dated, and probably way off base already:
One of the best offensive guard prospects in the country. Honorable mention All-American as a junior in 2011, and a durable starter over the last two years for Alabama at left guard. Athletic player with fantastic size and strength, and a huge (literally) reason why Alabama’s running game has been so successful the last two seasons. Warmack plays with excellent technique and is rarely penalized, and is consistently one of the top graded offensive linemen on a team full of top NFL prospects. Offensive guards are not valued highly on draft night (see David DeCastro) so expect Warmack to go in the second or third round unless he simply cannot be passed on. This is the kind of guy who will undoubtedly start in the NFL for a long time provided he can stay healthy.
Here is my full write up on Alabama’s prospects that are eligible for the draft this year, 14 reports in all.