The first week of the NFL regular season will feature 18 former Razorbacks who earned their place on a 53-man roster.
Here are three things to watch for in the opening week of regular season action:
1. #ProHog Defensive Linemen
Arkansas saw seven defensive linemen make a 53-man roster, which ranks third in the SEC and tied for fifth in the country. Headlining that group is third-year defensive end Trey Flowers, who is coming off a Super Bowl Title in his second season with New England.
Last year, Flowers recorded 61 total tackles including 16 in three postseason games. He tallied 9.5 sacks, none more important than the 12-yard sack on Falcon’s quarterback Matt Ryan late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI. The sack forced the Falcons into a third-and-long situation that they could not convert, giving Tom Brady a little over three minutes to manufacture a game-tying drive to send it to overtime, where the Patriots would claim their fifth Super Bowl Championship.
Other defensive line #ProHogs on rosters are Deatrich Wise Jr. (New England), Jeremiah Ledbetter (Detroit), Mitchell Loewen (New Orleans), Darius Philon (Los Angeles Chargers), Chris Smith (Cincinnati) and Robert Thomas (NY Giants).
2. Rookies To Watch
All three rookies to get drafted this season, made their respective 53-man roster.
— Razorback FB Recruit (@RazorbackFBRec) September 5, 2017
Two rookies to keep an eye out for are Patriots’ defensive end Deatrich Wise and the Lions’ defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter.
When Lions’ defensive tackle Jordan Hill went down with a bicep injury in the preseason, it opened the door for Ledbetter to make the 53-man roster and provide another solid interior option in the rotation.
Wise is also expected to get some playing time and might even line up opposite of Flowers, putting two former Razorbacks on the Patriots line at the same time.
3. The Receiving End Of The Torch
Coming off a stellar rookie campaign, tight end Hunter Henry made the move to Los Angeles this summer, along with all of his Charger teammates when the organization relocated from San Diego. One thing that is not expected to change for Henry is his productivity this season. Henry played limited snaps as a precaution in the preseason, starting the first three games and hauling in three receptions for 47 yards. Henry is listed unofficially as the No. 2 tight end behind the 15-year veteran Antonio Gates, but many expect Gates to “pass the torch” to the second-year tight end, as the future hall-of-famer is nearing the end of his playing days.
Last season, Henry led the NFL in touchdown percentage per pass target with 17.0% among tight ends.
Hunter Henry was a TD machine last season pic.twitter.com/So5DS0U0hw
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 2, 2017
|MATCH UP||TIME (CT)||TV||PROHOGS|
|Thursday, September 7|
|Kansas City at New England||7:30 PM||NBC||New England - Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise Jr., Cody Hollister^|
|Sunday, September 10|
|NY Jets at Buffalo||12:00 PM||CBS||NY Jets - Chris Gragg*|
|Atlanta at Chicago||12:00 PM||FOX||NONE|
|Baltimore at Cincinnati||12:00 PM||CBS||Baltimore - Ryan Mallett|
|Cincinnati - Chris Smith|
|Pittsburgh at Cleveland||12:00 PM||CBS||NONE|
|Arizona at Detroit||12:00 PM||FOX||Detroit - Travis Swanson, Jeremiah Ledbetter|
|Jacksonville at Houston||12:00 PM||CBS||NONE|
|Oakland at Tennessee||12:00 PM||CBS||Oakland - Denver Kirkland*, Keon Hatcher^|
|Philadelphia at Washington||12:00 PM||FOX||Philadelphia - Jason Peters|
|Washington - Martrell Spaight, Jeremy Sprinkle|
|Indianapolis at LA Rams||3:05 PM||CBS||Indianapolis - Tevin Mitchel*|
|LA Rams - Brandon Allen|
|Seattle at Green Bay||3:25 PM||FOX||Green Bay - Brett Goode|
|Carolina at San Francisco||3:25 PM||FOX||NONE|
|NY Giants at Dallas||7:30 PM||NBC||NY Giants - Robert Thomas|
|Dallas - Darren McFadden, Dan Skipper^|
|Tampa Bay at Miami||POSTPONED||FOX||Miami - Drew Morgan^|
|Monday, September 11|
|New Orleans at Minnesota||6:10 PM||ESPN||New Orleans - Mitchell Loewen|
|Minnesota - Jarius Wright|
|LA Chargers at Denver||9:20 PM||ESPN||LA Chargers - Hunter Henry, Darius Philon|
|Denver - AJ Derby, Jonathan Williams^|
|As of Sept. 6, 2017 | Times are central; check local listings|
|* Reserved/Injured | ^ Practice Squad|