By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is getting a lot of love for the 2022 season and its talent following a 9-4 campaign in 2021, but ESPN Senior Writer Todd McShay isn’t among them.
McShay is one of ESPN’s NFL Draft analysts and he recently released his Top 50 prospects for 2023 as well as grades for 200 others. McShay had no Razorbacks among his Top 50 prospects and only two among the 200 he gave grades for.
McShay rated redshirt junior Jalen Catalon the No. 4 safety in the 2023 NFL Draft. He gave Catalon a grade of 76. Georgia transfer senior Latavious Brini is the No. 13 safety according to McShay and has a grade of 38. Oddly enough, Brini is one spot ahead of No. 14 Christopher Smith who is Georgia’s top-ranked safety. Smith has a grade of 36. Alabama’s Jordan Battle (89), Notre Dame’s Brandon Joseph (86) and Texas A&M’s Antonio Johnson (79) are the trio ahead of Catalon.
But that is where McShay’s thoughts on Arkansas players ended. McShay gave grades for 24 quarterbacks including six from the SEC but no KJ Jefferson. McShay ranked Alabama’s Bryce Young (2), Kentucky’s Will Levis (3), Florida’s Anthony Richardson (5), South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler (9), LSU’s Jayden Daniels (10) and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker (13).
McShay ranked eight centers, but didn’t have senior Ricky Stromberg on his list. Georgia’s Sedrick Van Pran (2) and Auburn’s Nick Brahms (6) are among the eight from the SEC.
McShay ranked 13 outside linebackers and 10 inside ones, but no Bumper Pool on the list. Alabama’s Henry To’oTo’o (2) and Auburn’s Owen Pappoe (6) were inside linebackers from the SEC.
Arkansas has other players who could hear their names called in the 2023 NFL Draft and it appears McShay isn’t too high on them. Hopefully the long list of NFL scouts who have made their way to Arkansas practices this preseason feel differently.