Checking In On Razorbacks In The NFL

Hunter Henry

With one week of NFL football in the books, we’ve gotten a first look at the pro landscape, including which Arkansas Razorbacks are going to be a part of it. Not every Arkansas player in the league is putting up stats since some are on the fringes of rosters. Still, below are the #ProHog standouts as the NFL season gets going. 

Jarius Wright (WR) – Carolina Panthers

Jarius Wright has been a sort of role-playing receiver in his NFL career -— never a star or featured skill player but often a reliable third or fourth option. And it looks early on like that’s the kind of role he may fill for Carolina as well. The Panthers’ passing attack was almost entirely stymied by a tough Los Angeles Rams defense in Week 1, but Wright caught his lone target and looked like Cam Newton’s third-best receiving option after DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel. He played well enough to generate a bit of buzz as a deep fantasy sleeper, and – while we’re not getting carried away – could be in line for a reasonably important supporting role this season. 

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Trey Flowers (DE) and Frank Ragnow (C) – Detroit Lions

The Lions had a bit of a disaster in Week 1, blowing a lead and total momentum against the Arizona Cardinals and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. The game ended in a tie, frustrating Lions fans – but the two Detroit Razorbacks acquitted themselves well. Ragnow, who fans will remember was a first-round selection by the Lions in the 2018 draft, played the whole game at center, providing strong protection for Matthew Stafford (to the tune of 45 pass attempts).

He was a welcome sight after injuries affected much of his rookie season. Flowers, meanwhile, had two tackles as part of a Lions defensive effort that was, for a portion of the game, dominant. That said, the defense did implode and the Lions faithful will want more from Flowers moving forward. 

Hunter Henry (TE) – San Diego Chargers

Arguably the most talented Arkansas player in the NFL at the moment, Hunter Henry was part of perhaps the most thrilling game of the week. His four catches for 60 yards helped San Diego to an overtime win over the Colts, and the win only intensified the growing buzz surrounding this team.

Look at NFL picks any given week from here on out and you’re likely to see the Chargers favored in games, and the offense specifically singled out for strong production. San Diego has the early look of a fringe contender, and it may well be that the 60-yard outing represents the low end of what Henry will do moving forward. 

Of course, Henry will need to get healthy first. In the fourth quarter of the Colts win, he suffered a tibial plateau fracture on his left knee (although he kept playing and even caught a 17-yard catch). This fracture shouldn’t require intensive surgery, and isn’t season ending.

“Henry’s fracture is the kind that cannot be seen on X-ray, so it is hard to place any blame on the medical staff for allowing him to return to the game,” according to the San Diego Tribune’s medical correspondent. “And no, there is no indication that he made it worse.”

“The expected return is a minimum of 4-6 weeks, but the team could decide to be safe and use injured reserve with the plan to bring him back,” the doctor added. “There are even some new techniques to inject calcium into the fracture area to enhance healing and allow for earlier return.”

Learn how his absence will affect the Chargers’ season below:

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Jason Peters (OT) – Philadelphia Eagles

Jason Peters is the most experienced player on this list, and is still getting the job done as the veteran anchor of a solid Eagles offensive line. Philadelphia was challenged somewhat unexpectedly by the Redskins in Week 1, but quarterback Carson Wentz was protected well (though Eagles fans would have liked to see more holes opened up for the running attack). With Peters, it’s basically more of the same. He’ll feature for a dynamic offense with a chance to carry Philadelphia deep into the playoffs. 

Deatrich Wise Jr. (DE) and Hjalte Froholdt (OG) – New England Patriots

Deatrich Wise Jr. was part of an all-out defensive beatdown on Sunday night when the Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxboro. While quiet from a statistical standpoint, he did manage a sack, and again, contributed to a full-team scheme that stopped the Steelers in their tracks from the opening whistle.

Wise appears to be part of one of the best Patriots defenses we’ve seen in some time, and needless to say, the team is among the best bets for a Super Bowl appearance – again. Froholdt, meanwhile, was put on injured reserve just before the opening week, and so has seen his rookie season put on hold. It’s expected that he can contribute for this team if and when he gets fully healthy though. 

Dre Greenlaw (LB) – San Francisco 49ers

Last but not least we’ll touch on Dre Greenlaw, the Fayetteville native who played with so much passion and heart even as the teams of the last two years tanked After being selected in the fifth round in this past spring’s draft, Greenlaw debuted with the 49ers’ first team in Week 1 and acquitted himself well, collecting four tackles (three solo) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

To be fair, the Bucs looked unexpectedly awful, and questions linger about the Niners’ long-term strength. But this was a fine start for Greenlaw, and should have San Francisco fans excited about their pick.

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