Arkansas' All-Decade Team: NFL Draft picks dominate Razorbacks' defensive lineup
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South has selected an all-decade offensive and defensive team for all 14 SEC programs. Our series stays in the SEC West with Arkansas. Coming Wednesday: Auburn.
It hasn’t exactly been a stellar decade for Arkansas defensively. The Razorbacks rose to as high as a No. 2 ranking in the SEC in total defense in 2014. But aside from that, and finishing 5th in total defense in 2010, the Hogs have not completed a season ranked higher than 8th and just finished last in the SEC in total defense this season.
Searching for team success is sparse, but 10 Razorbacks defenders were selected in the NFL Draft this decade.
Who were the best of the best?
Here’s how Arkansas’ All-Decade Team stacks up on defense.
DL: Jake Bequette, Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise, Jr., Chris Smith
Bequette was selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft and ranks 3rd all-time at Arkansas in sacks with 24. He recorded 10 in 2011. Flowers was chosen in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He is tied for 7th all-time at Arkansas with 18 career sacks. Wise was a 4th-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He recorded 8 sacks in 2015.
Smith was taken in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He is 4th on Arkansas’ all-time sacks list with 22, including 9.5 during the 2012 season and another 8.5 the following year.
Backups: Robert Thomas, Darius Philon, Jeremiah Ledbetter, Armon Watts
Philon (2015), Ledbetter (2017) and Watts (2019) were all selected in the 6th round of the NFL Draft.
LB: Jerry Franklin, Brooks Ellis, De’Jon Harris, Dre Greenlaw
Franklin (2008-2011) led the Razorbacks in tackles 3 consecutive seasons. He is 2nd on the all-time tackles list at Arkansas with 382.
Ellis led the Razorbacks in tackles 2 consecutive seasons, including 102 stops in 2015, after finishing 2nd the year before.
Harris (2016-19) led the team in tackles over the past 3 seasons. He totaled 115 tackles in 2017, 118 last season and 101 this season. Greenlaw was chosen in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Backups: Martrell Spaight, Terrell Williams, Alonzo Highsmith, Bumper Pool
Spaight was selected in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Williams (2009-12) recorded more than 100 tackles over his career while Highsmith collected 130 tackles over 2 seasons (2011-12). Pool, the name alone gets him honorable mention, but he has proven to have more going for him than just a catchy name. He was among the team’s top 10 tacklers his freshman year and has followed that with as outstanding sophomore season in which he finished 2nd with 94 tackles.
Secondary: Tevin Mitchel, Tramain Thomas, Jerico Nelson, Alan Turner
Mitchel was selected in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Thomas (2009-2011) led the team in interceptions 3 consecutive years and is tied for 3rd all-time at Arkansas with 12 interceptions. Nelson (2008-11) piled up 268 tackles, 27 for loss, including 10.5 sacks. He also intercepted 4 passes, returning 1 for a touchdown. Turner (2011-14) led the team in tackles in 2013 with 97 and finished his career with 180 total tackles.
Backups: Josh Liddell, Kamren Curl, Greg Gatson, Ross Rasner
Liddell (2014-17) recorded 177 total tackles during his career at Arkansas while Curl, a junior, has been among the top 6 on the team in tackles his first 3 seasons at Arkansas. Rasner (2009-12) led the Razorbacks in tackles with 92 in his senior year.
RELATED: Arkansas’ All-Decade Offense