FAYETTEVILLE — Linebacker Drew Sanders is projected by some to go in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
It appears the things he did on Wednesday at the Arkansas Pro Day should have helped his stock. Sanders, 6-foot-4, 236-pounds, ran a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 37-inch vertical jump.
“It went all right,” Sanders said. “Going through the drills I got stuck on a couple of things, but other than that it was pretty solid I’d say.”
Sanders talked about his performances in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump (9-10). Sanders was asked if he ran like he had hoped?
“Not quite, but I’ll take it I guess,” Sanders said. “I felt pretty good on that (vertical). Felt good jumping. Broad I didn’t do so hot but felt good on the vertical.”
In his one season at Arkansas after previously being at Alabama, Sanders had 103 tackles, 40 solo, 13.5 for loss, 9.5 sacks, an interception, five pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and one recovered. Sanders was pleased for his season under Michael Scherer.
“Oh yeah,” Sanders said. “Being able to experience playing that stacked position, middle linebacker, kind of helped me a lot obviously. It was very valuable time here and I’m thankful for all the experiences I’ve had here.”
As far as the first-round projections, Sanders talked about his feelings on those.
“Yeah, I mean you can look at that stuff,” Sanders said. “Of course I was looking at it in the beginning, getting excited about it. I just kind of stopped. Just kind of quit focusing on that. It’s really in God’s hands now. I mean I can’t really change too much. So why worry about it when you can’t affect it that much.”
The process from the end of the 2022 season to the NFL Draft April 27-29 is a long one.
“Yeah, you only go through this once,” Sanders said. “You have to enjoy the little moments like this. It was good being back here with all the guys and seeing them. Just little experiences like that you’ve got to learn to enjoy them.”
Sanders was among the Razorbacks who went to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.
“Yeah, just a ton of interviews,” Sanders said. “You spend hours in the interviews. It was a good time talking football with different coaches, see the NFL side of how they do things. But I mean, a lot of talking.”
On Wednesday at Arkansas, the athletes got much more attention and that was something Sanders noticed.
“Yeah, that was pretty important, just to show my dropping capabilities, that I can move in space,” Sanders said. “I think that was a pretty important part of today.”
The drills were important on Wednesday since some scouts have mentioned to Sanders a few concerns about only playing linebacker one season. He was more of an edge person at Alabama.
“Really just a lack of experience at the position,” Sanders said. “So I mean you kind of have some experience issues there, where it’s just like reading something or something like that.
“Yeah, this is really kind of that last step before the draft. You always have meetings and that kind of stuff but this was my last thing of showing what I could do workout-wise. So I’m kind of over that last hump now.”
Sanders said his plans for the draft are just at his home in Denton with his parents and some extended family.