FAYETTEVILLE — Former Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith has been invited to attend the 2014 NFL Draft in New York City.
Smith announced via Twitter he had received the invitation.
He’s the first Razorback invited to attend the draft since 2008, when running back Darren McFadden was selected fourth by the Oakland Raiders. Smith received the invitation to attend the 2014 NFL Draft after a senior season in which he collected 8 ½ sacks and finished his Arkansas career with 21 ½.
Smith, who also participated in the 2014 Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year, is considered among the top 10 players at his position in this year’s draft. He recorded a 4.71-second 40-yard dash, bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times and had a 37-inch vertical leap at the NFL Combine.
The 6-foot-1, 266-pound Smith also worked out as an outside linebacker during Arkansas’ on-campus pro day, trying to show he could play in a 3-4 defense.
“I think it was real important,” Smith said after the March 5 workout. “I can rush the passer from the two-point stance and three-point stance. I think they wanted to see more of the drop and stuff. I did a little bit of that at Arkansas, but I think they wanted to see that. So hopefully I’m getting good feedback.”
The list of players invited to attend the NFL Draft has expanded in recent years.
There were 23 players who accepted invitations in 2013. Nineteen of those players became first-round selections, while the remaining four were second-round picks. The 23 players who attended the 2013 NFL Draft were among the first 61 selections.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau