Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Davis, Hamilton sign NFL deals
Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis runs the ball during an NFL football training camp Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
FAYETTEVILLE - Former Arkansas running back Knile Davis signed his rookie contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, becoming the franchise’s highest pick from the 2013 NFL Draft to come to terms.
Davis became the third former Razorback from the 2013 draft class to sign, joining receiver Cobi Hamilton and tight end Chris Gragg.
The Chiefs are hoping Davis, the top-rushing running back in the SEC in 2010 with 1,322 yards, can become a complementary runner to Jamaal Charles, who, like Davis, hails from southeast Texas. Davis, a third-round pick by the Chiefs, is expected to compete with Shaun Draughn and Cyrus Gray for second-team duties.
Charles is a three-time 1,000-yard rusher, including a career-best 1,509 yards last season.
Hamilton, who agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, is reportedly having a strong mini-camp.
Hamilton, a sixth-round pick, told Bengals.com he didn’t feel like a player taken that late in the draft and that his time under former Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino helped him prepare for the NFL.
“With Petrino, a lot of it is the same terminology,” he said. “A lot of the stuff is not a brain freeze for me. It came simply from being around Petrino for four years.”
Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden told Bengals.com that Hamilton has not messed up any plays so far.
“Cobi’s an exciting guy,” he told the web site. “He’s bigger than I thought he was. He’s taller. He’s got good stride to him. He’s got good hands. He’s tough.
“In Arkansas, he ran a lot of crossing routes, so we knew he wasn’t afraid to go across the middle. We like Cobi. We’re impressed with what he’s done so far.”
Gragg, a seventh-round pick by Buffalo, signed with the Bills late last week, just prior to mini-camp. He told Buffalo Bills.com that he felt like the entire draft process was finally complete after signing.
“I’m back to being a football player now,” he said. “I’ve been talking to the coaches and they seem very excited for me to be here and I’m ready to get to work.”
Gragg appears to have an opening for playing time in Buffalo, where tight end starter Scott Chandler is recovering from off season knee surgery.
Former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, a fourth round pick by Oakland, hasn’t yet signed with the Raiders, but he got a strong review from Coach Dennis Allen for his mini-camp performance over the weekend.
“I like the way that Tyler’s commanded the huddle,” Allen told the Oakland (Calif.)Tribune. “I’ve liked the way that he’s gone through his reads. He’s picking up a new system, but I think he’s doing a nice job. I don’t think there’s any question about his arm strength and his accuracy.”
Media members covering the Raiders are wondering if Wilson might not only beat out Terrelle Pryor for the Raiders’ backup job, but also edge Matt Flynn for the starter’s role.
“It’s an opportunity, and obviously there’s a lot I have to learn,” Wilson told Raiders reporters during mini camp. “There’s been veteran guys who have been here that are way ahead of me right now, so I’m playing catch up. … I do think I can bring some things to the table, skill-set wise. I’m going to use this as an opportunity and compete like heck, for sure.
Sports, Pages 17 on 05/14/2013