Arkansas football has two selected in 2023 NFL Draft

FILE - Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders (42) celebrates after making a big play against...
FILE - Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders (42) celebrates after making a big play against Cincinnati during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. Sanders was selected to The Associated Press All-America team released Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Woods, File)(Michael Woods | AP)
Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 8:01 PM CDT
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The Arkansas streak continues. The Razorbacks have had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft every season since 1995, and 2023 was no different.

Drew Sanders was the first Razorback to hear his name called during the NFL Draft, being selected in the third round (67th overall) by the Denver Broncos on Friday night to extend Arkansas’ streak to 28 consecutive drafts with at least one Hog being called.

Sanders became the first Arkansas linebacker to be selected since Dre Greenlaw in 2019 and the highest selected since Quinton Caver was taken 55th overall by Philadelphia in 2001. Sanders is the first Razorback taken by Denver since McTelvin Agim was also taken in the third round in the 2020 draft. Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Razorback Steve Atwater was the first ever Hog taken by Denver in 1989.

In his lone season at Arkansas, Sanders was phenomenal in 12 games that earned him unanimous All-America status and became the first Arkansas linebacker to be named First-Team All-America by the Associated Press since Ronnie Caveness in 1964. Sanders is the first linebacker and eighth player in program history to achieve unanimous All-America status – earning honors from all five outlets used to determine unanimous All-Americans: Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation. He is the first Razorback to earn the nod from all five since running back Darren McFadden in 2003, and the first Arkansas defender to do so since defensive end Billy Ray Smith Jr. in 1982.

Sanders led the Hogs in tackles (103), tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (9.5) while forcing three fumbles, recovering one and picking off one pass. The junior led the team in tackles in seven games during the 2022 campaign and registered double-digit tackles six times. Sanders jumped onto the national scene in just his second game on The Hill in a victory over South Carolina, making 11 tackles to go with three tackles for loss, including two sacks, to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors along with national recognition as the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Bednarik Award Player of the Week. He was later named the Butkus Award Linebacker of the Month for September.

Ricky Stromberg was picked by the Washington Commanders in the third round (97th overall) of the NFL Draft on Friday night joining Sanders as Hogs taken in the third.

Stromberg is the first Arkansas center selected since Frank Ragnow was the first pick (20th overall) of the Detroit Lions in the 2018 Draft and first offensive lineman drafted since 2019 when New England took Hjalte Froholdt in the fourth round. The Commanders made Stromberg their first Arkansas pick since taking Kam Curl in the seventh round of the 2020 draft.

A staple of the Arkansas offensive line during his four seasons, Stromberg started his final 25 straight games with 44 overall starts during his career. His senior season capped an impressive career as he became the fourth Razorback to earn the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy – given annually to the league’s top offensive lineman – joining Shawn Andrews (2002, 2003), Jonathan Luigs (2007) and Sebastian Tretola (2015). Stromberg was named an honorable mention All-American by Pro Football Focus and picked up First-Team All-SEC status from the Associated Press, the league’s coaches, PFF and USA Today. He helped pave the way for an offense that gained 6,128 yards – second-most in school history – and running back Raheim Sanders to rush for 1,443 yards. Stromberg helped the Hogs’ running game eclipse 3,000 yards for the 10th time in school history, powered by nine games of 200+ yards on the ground. He picked up a pair of SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week accolades after helping Arkansas rush for 295 yards and gain 457 total yards in a win over South Carolina and a second for blocking for an offense that gained 503 total yards, including 335 rushing, in a victory vs. Ole Miss.

After the draft ended, several key members from the 2022 Liberty Bowl Champions inked deals as undrafted free agents: