Razorbacks Have Four 2014 NFL Draftees

Arkansas ends up having four players taken in the NFL Draft as center Travis Swanson, defensive end Chris Smith, fullback Kiero Small and kicker Zach Hocker all get selected.

Arkansas ended up having four players taken in this weekend's NFL draft with a trio getting selected Saturday.

Defensive end Chris Smith was taken in the fifth round by Jacksonville Jaguars while fullback Kiero Small (Seattle Seahawks) and kicker Zach Hocker (Washington Redskins) both went in the seventh and final round.

Those three joined Razorback center Travis Swanson, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round on Friday night.

"The biggest thing I will focus on is to learn as much as I can," Swanson said in a conference call. "I want to contribute whether that's at center or guard. I am just going to come into work every single day and I know if I do that each day then it will take care of itself."

Swanson is viewed as the Lions' center of the future with current starter Dominic Raiola being 35.

"He's got a lot of starts against really good competition," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. "That usually bodes well for guys early, gives those guys confidence when they get here, so that's definitely a factor."

Smith was happy to be chosen by the Jaguars, whose head coach Gus Bradley and his staff were his coaches at the Senior Bowl.

"It helped a lot, especially since Jacksonville is the one that got me," Smith said. "It's crazy. That week, I wanted to come in with a great mindset. The competition level was very high and I just wanted to come in and prove myself. I love Jacksonville's defense. Even when the draft started on Thursday, I was talking about Jacksonville's defense and I'm glad they believed in me and picked me up."

Smith talked about former Arkansas coaches Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith as well as current Razorback head coach Bret Bielema and the adversity of the last two losing seasons.

"Yes, especially I think that helped me," Smith said. "People look at the bad things out of it, I think Coach Petrino is a hell of a coach, but they look at the bad out of it. Coach Petrino was one of those guys that had us mentally tough, Coach John L. Smith just wanted us to go out there and work hard and Coach Bielema, he's a great guy, players' coach and got us big in the weight room. I took good things from all three of those coaches."

Small was picked by the defending Super Bowl Champions.

"The Seahawks are one of my favorite teams with the brand of football they play," Small said on a conference call. "It's a great feeling."

Small summed up his journey from high school in Baltimore, to junior college in California to Arkansas and now to the NFL.

"Humbling and blessed," Small said. "It was a journey — a lot of guys might not have sticked it out. Once I set my mind to it and knew where I wanted to be, I put everything into it. It was a humbling experience going from being a top guy in Baltimore city in football and then working and selling T-shirts."

Hocker went just a few picks later to the Redskins.

"To God be the Glory!" tweeted Hocker. "It's such a blessing and honor to get to live out my dream and get the opportunity to play in the NFL."

Defensive tackle Robert Thomas tweeted he had been signed as a free agent by Washington.

Travis Swanson and Chris Smith at the Senior Bowl.

Kiero Small

Zach Hocker

Hawgs Daily Top Stories