Scouting the SEC Arkansas

It seems Razorback coach Houston Nutt often does it with smoke and mirrors as last season was the third in four years the Hogs played on New Years' Day. Arkansas occasionally throws a good prospect into the first day of the draft but are more noted for solid middle round picks. The senior class is adequate but the brilliance in this program lies with its' underclassmen.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Where to begin with the offense? Cedric Cobbs was the talk of the draftnik world after his amazing freshman campaign of '99 but a shoulder injury kept him on the sidelines the following season and minor nicks dogged him in '01.  Coupled with off the field incidents the talk turned to mere mutterings as a result.  At the top of his game Cobbs displays vision, footwork and great power carrying the ball. He's nifty, nimble, possesses a little shake at the line that helps him avoid defenders and power in the lower body which enables him to drag opponents for extra yardage. Cobbs has the size/speed numbers to be a big time player at the next level with the overall running skills to match but is being labeled "soft" by many based off last season. Cobbs needs to salvage the next two seasons in college to get back to "par"; par being the top running back prospect in the nation. Senior Fred Talley is a hard working ball carrier that also displays vision and patience but does not own the size/speed numbers to be anything other than a free agent. Like the running back position the rest of the prospects on offense come in two's. Arkansas has a pair of tight ends to watch; Nathan Ball an efficient senior that does a nice job as a pass catcher and in-line blocker but has only marginal athleticism, which will push him out of the seven rounds and sophomore Jason Peters. A former defensive lineman recently moved to tight end, Peters plays every bit his listed 290-pounds as an in-line blocker but also shows surprising athleticism and the ability to make positive plays down the field as a pass catcher. He'll need to shed a few pounds and improve his quickness but has a decent upside to his game. Likewise there are a pair of receivers being watched by the scouting concerns; Sam Breeden and Sparky Hamilton, both of whom must significantly pick up their play before receiving any serious draft consideration. There is also a duo to watch on the offensive line; center Josh Melton returns to the starting center slot after showing flashes of ability in the past while true-sophomore Shane Andrews looks to be a future star at right tackle.

Defensively the talent is rather ordinary except for one prospect, that being safety Ken Hamlin. Hamlin, a terrific athlete with exceptional range, strength and abilities to intimidate opponents, plays a relatively smart brand of football and to his credit does not mindlessly run around the field chasing the play or get caught out of position. Except for an occasional hesitation to his game Hamlin has continually progressed and has a great future ahead of him, unless he screws it up. His off the field exploits are well documented and Hamlin needs to focus all his attention on the field and in the classroom; if he does he will be a very high pick in the future. Up front Jermaine Brooks is a hard working tackle with some size and deceptive strength. He collapses the pocket and plays a relatively athletic game but needs to add a little more bulk if he's to move into the middle frames. Raymond House is also a solid athlete but must really pick up the tempo of his game if he's to be considered for even the later rounds.

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