FAYETTEVILLE -- A couple of months after training in the San Diego area in his preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine, Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry was back in southern California last weekend after being the No. 35 pick of the NFL Draft on Friday night by the San Diego Chargers.
Henry spent nearly two months training in Carlsbad, Calif., a northern suburb of San Diego.
"I loved it," Henry told Chargers.com. "The weather is amazing. You're near the ocean, near the beach. What more could you ask for, coming from Arkansas? I'm looking forward to living out here and making it my home."
Henry is expected to learn the NFL ropes from Antonio Gates, one of league's most prolific tight ends ever, before winning a starting job.
Henry told Chargers.com he planned to bring a dual-threat package to the NFL.
"In college, I was asked to block a ton," Henry said. "I was in a true Pro-style offense where I had to block to set up my receiving. So really I like to be physical in the run game and also create mismatches with linebackers and safeties, so I look forward to bringing that to this level."
Seattle Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said the team was happy to be adding former Razorback Alex Collins to their running back room.
"Alex is just a hard-charging, quick feet, instinctive [back]," Schneider said at his post-draft news conference of one of the Seahawks' fifth-round picks. "The guy just shows up on Saturday and competes his tail off."
Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting wrote of Collins, "Another RB steal for Seattle. He'll be [their] 2nd best RB this year."
J-Will the Bill
Former Razorback Jonathan Williams has been viewed as a fifth-round steal for Buffalo by most analysts, most of whom gave the Bills an A-minus draft grade.
"Jonathan Williams will outplay his draft slot if he's healthy, although he enters a crowded backfield," wrote SI.com's Chris Burke.
"Williams would have been a second- or third-round pick without the injury, so that was a good pull," wrote NFL.com's Chad Reuter.
He's the one
Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson provided an anecdote that summed up why the Titans chose former Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola with their sixth-round pick in the draft.
"One thing that impressed me with the defensive linemen we talked to at the combine and at the Senior Bowl: Who's the one offensive lineman you had a tough week against? And it was unanimously Sebastian Tretola,'" Robinson said at the Titans' post-draft news conference.
"He's a heavy handed guy who was tough to get off of. ... Big, strong, physical, tough. We had him in here for a pre-draft visit. He played on that Arkansas line where they run the football pretty good."
Reporters in Seattle asked the Seahawks brass whether they were concerned about Alex Collins having a fumbling problem.
"There's no question that's one of the reasons that he slid a little bit," Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said.
"We're counting a little bit on coaching that," Seattle Coach Pete Carroll said. "He won't play unless he hangs on to the football. Nobody will. Yes, it's a big deal to us, but we think we can fix that."
Collins had more fumbles as a freshman and sophomore than he did as a junior, when he lost two of his four fumbles.
Aiming for Allen
The Jacksonville Jaguars had their eye on quarterback Brandon Allen, particularly after coaching him on the South squad in the Senior Bowl, and nabbed him a their sixth-round pick Saturday.
"We're just real excited after getting a chance to coach him in the Senior Bowl," Jacksonville offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "He's someone that we targeted early in the process."
Alex Collins won't be the only running back with an Arkansas tie trying to make the Seattle roster. The Seahawks also drafted running back Zac Brooks of Clemson, a former Jonesboro High School standout.
According to Brooks' bio on Clemson's web site, he is the first player from the state of Arkansas to play in a game for the Tigers. Brooks rushed for 234 yards as a backup this season and had a career-high four catches for 39 yards against Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game.
Arkansas used guard Sebastian Tretola as a pulling lead blocker with solid results, but draft analysts say his strength is in smaller areas.
"He's powerful and can open the holes," NFL.com's Lance Zierlein said. "Now he is a phone booth dude, but don't ask him to be in space and be the same guy because he's not going to do that. You've got to have him in that phone booth, got to have him fire out in a power-scheme system, and that's what Tennessee does."
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said, "When he plays with good hand placement, he was able to dominate. The problem was leverage issues for Sebastian Tretola. ... [Coach] Bret Bielema was very high on him and raved about his ability."
When Paul Roell, the Jacksonville Jaguarss assistant director of college scouting, was asked why the team added a third quarterback behind Blake Bortles and Chad Henne in the draft, Roell said the Jags' draft board was speaking loud and clear.
"He's basically sticking out to us, and at some point you can't ignore your board," Roell said during a Saturday news conference. "We went over this thing for a month, putting this thing together. You can't overlook the fact that you're not really looking for a certain position, but there's a guy up there that's standing out to you and there's a reason why he's standing out.
"The fact we had him in the Senior Bowl was a big bonus. Our coaches had a chance to work with him one-on-one. ... It wasn't something we set out to do. Right now he was just too good to let go by in our team room.
"This is a class kid. Tremendous family. You don't have any worries off the field with him. He's a team-first guy, not a me guy."
In his first interview with Chargers.com, San Diego second-round draft pick Hunter Henry was asked what else he knew about the Chargers beyond quarterback Phillip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates.
"Well, there are two Arkansas guys I was teammates with, so I'm looking forward to seeing Javontee [Herndon] and Darius Philon," Henry said. "I'm looking forward to reconnecting with those guys."
Philon, a defensive tackle, was San Diego's sixth-round pick last year and had five tackles as a rookie. Herndon spent 2014 on the Chargers' practice squad, then had 24 catches for 195 yards and 1 carry for 13 yards last season. He re-signed with the Chargers on Dec. 29.
Henry, who wore No. 84 at Arkansas, has been given jersey No. 86 by the Chargers.
Former Arkansas offensive tackle Denver Kirkland signed a free agent deal with the Oakland Raiders, a move Kirkland announced with glee on Twitter while tagging Raiders receiver Amari Cooper on the post.
The New Orleans Saints have secured a free agent pact with Mitchell Loewen and are listing the multi-position player at Arkansas as a tight end. Loewen caught a touchdown pass as a tight end against Samford in 2013 before moving to the defensive line.
Former Hogs safety Rohan Gaines announced on Twitter he had signed with the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent.
Sports on 05/03/2016
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