As the 2012-2013 season rolls out, a new era is being heralded in for the Razorbacks.
The Arkansas fanbase will be spending a greater part of the upcoming season figuring out their feelings toward the Hogs’ new head football coach Bret Bielema.
Bielema’s whole 2010 starting offensive line were drafted in the last three years, beginning with a first-round pick in 2011 with offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, who went 29th to the Chicago Bears.
Offensive guard John Moffitt was picked the same year in the third round, going to the Seattle Seahawks as the 75th pick.
In 2012, guard/center Peter Konz was sent to the Atlanta Falcons in the second round and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler went in the first round to the Cincinnati Bengals.
This brings us to this year’s draft. Rick Wagner, an offensive tackle, was snatched in the fifth round to the Baltimore Ravens.
But that wasn’t all of Wisconsin’s 2013 draftees. A redshirt guard/center during the 2010 season, Travis Frederick was the 31st pick in the first round this year to the Dallas Cowboys, who also selected running back Montee Ball in the second round.
That sounds quite ideal when you look at our top four draftees from 2013: third-round pick Knile Davis, fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson, sixth-round pick Cobi Hamilton and seventh-round pick Chris Gragg.
These are the same players we thought surely would all be gone in the first three or four rounds at some point long ago, back when Bobby Petrino didn’t wreck motorcycles.
Can you remember the last time Arkansas had a first-round pick?
It was five years ago, 2008, when Darren McFadden and Felix Jones both went in the first round at picks four and 22 overall. This was the final draft before Petrino took over.
Surprisingly enough, there were no first-round picks under Petrino. The highest pick under his tenure at Arkansas was quarterback Ryan Mallett, going to the New England Patriots in the third round as pick 74 overall.
Of course, Petrino played a passing game while Houston Nutt, head coach of Arkansas during the McFadden era, ran the ball a lot.
Any Hog fan against Nutt would hesitate to say that a similar era is heading Arkansas’ way as Bielema, a coach that leans more toward a running offense.
However, if a goal for the fanbase is to see multiple highly ranked, low-ranked and even unranked high school recruits develop into first-through-third-round picks in the NFL Draft, that kind of era is exactly what the Hogs would need.
The Hogs don’t just need a great coach; the Hogs need a coach that will recruit, take any and all the recruits he receives and then train and grow those players into top picks that Hog nation will be proud to see go in the draft.
Tamzen Tumlison is a writer for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every other Wednesday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.