As QB Ryan Mallett goes through his paces at his pro day at the University of Arkansas, you cannot help but reflect on some of the great players who played for the Razorbacks. Because let’s be honest, given Mallett’s 40 time, we have plenty of time to reflect.
Arkansas has had some considerable contributions to the NFL. Not only on the field, but the University also proudly claims Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former coach Jimmy Johnson as alumni — as both played for Arkansas’ 1964 national championship team with Jones serving as co-captain.
But who were the best NFL players who played at the University of Arkansas? We have the top six.
6. K Pat Summerall
Summerall is obviously best known as a broadcaster, teaming with the legendary John Madden, but he had an extensive playing career as a kicker. Summerall’s shining moment came when he kicked the 49-yard winner in the snow against the Browns in 1958 to force a playoff rematch against Cleveland.
5. LB Billy Ray Smith, Jr.
Following in the footsteps of his father, who played for the Rams, Steelers and Colts, the younger Smith was selected by the Chargers with the fifth overall pick in 1983, was the anchor of the defense for 10 years, and was voted team MVP in 1987.
4. RB Barry Foster
Foster was one of the top running backs in the early 1990s before injuries cut his career short. Foster set the Steelers’ single-season rushing record with 1,690 yards in 1992, earning the first of his two Pro Bowl selections.
3. DT Dan Hampton
Hampton was one of the anchors of the famed Bears defense that helped capture Super Bowl XX. Hampton was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
2. S Steve Atwater
Atwater was one of the most dominating safeties in the NFL during the 1990s, a decade in which he was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Atwater was a two-time Super Bowl champion and a member of the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1990s.
1. WR Lance Alworth
Nicknamed Bambi, Alworth made his mark with the Chargers before finishing his career with the Cowboys. Alworth was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 (he was inducted by his Chargers position coach Al Davis) and is the only player selected the NFL’s 75th anniversary team and the all-time AFL team.
Now it’s your turn, meaning Raiders fans now will get a chance to ask, “where is Darren McFadden on this list?”