Drew Sanders talks Pro Day, 2023 NFL Draft

By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — Drew Sanders is projected to be picked early in the 2023 NFL Draft and on Wednesday he worked in front of scouts from 24 teams at the Arkansas Pro Day. 

He participated in many of the drills including the 40-yard dash where times between 4.55 and 4.59 were heard. Sanders is rated the No. 1 inside linebacker by ESPN’s Mel Kiper for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“It went all right,” Sanders said. “Going through the drills I got stuck on a couple of things, but other than that it was pretty solid I’d say.”

Did you feel good with how you ran today?

“Not quite, but I’ll take it I guess,” Sanders said. 

Sanders did wow observers with a 37-inch vertical jump on Wednesday. While he was one of the Razorbacks chosen to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, he liked the Pro Day better given all the extra individual attention.

“Yeah, that was pretty important, just to show my dropping capabilities, that I can move in space,” Sanders said. “I think that was a pretty important part of today.”

Sanders spent one season at Arkansas after previously playing at Alabama. The former five-star recruit from Denton (Texas) Ryan had 103 tackles, 40 solo, 13.5 for loss, 9.5 sacks, an interception, five pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and one recovery. Sanders enjoyed his season at Arkansas.

“Oh yeah,” Sanders said. “Being able to experience playing that stacked position, middle linebacker, kind of helped me a lot obviously. It was very valuable time here and I’m thankful for all the experiences I’ve had here.”

Most NFL projections have Sanders going in the first or second round. Certainly expected to be drafted by the end of Day 2 (second-third rounds). 

“Yeah, I mean you can look at that stuff,” Sanders said. “Of course I was looking at it in the beginning, getting excited about it. I just kind of stopped. Just kind of quit focusing on that. It’s really in God’s hands now. I mean I can’t really change too much. So why worry about it when you can’t affect it that much.”

Sanders admits the months leading up to the NFL Draft can be stressful and full of hard work, but it’s also something he’s enjoying.

“Yeah, you only go through this once,” Sanders said. “You have to enjoy the little moments like this. It was good being back here with all the guys and seeing them. Just little experiences like that you’ve got to learn to enjoy them.”

Sanders is working at home in Denton and his parents were in Fayetteville on Wednesday to support him. Sanders talked about his plans for the NFL Draft which begins on Thursday, April 27, and ends on Saturday, April 29. 

“Yeah, we’re just having a bunch of my family over, extended family,” Sanders said. “We’re just having it at my house.”

Sanders was one of 14 athletes at Arkansas’ Pro Day.

Photos Courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3 Action Sports

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