Feleipe Franks probably won’t be drafted until the third day of the NFL Draft whenever it’s held, but he did what was expected of him at Arkansas.
Plus maybe a little more.
When the graduate transfer from Florida accepted a Senior Bowl invitation last week, the foregone conclusion is the Texas Bowl in Houston on Thursday night is his last college game.
There’s no complaining from Razorbacks fans … or coaches.
“I don’t anticipate him coming back,” Sam Pittman said Monday in his press conference before the team leaves Tuesday.
Coaches can say that and mean several different things. There are times coaches don’t want a player coming back, but that’s not the case with Franks.
He walked into a new team at a position with no stability, calmed things down and been an example to a team that really hadn’t seen a true leader in uniform what that looks like.
“Feleipe has done everything he can do for us,” Pittman said.
He’s not finished, yet. Maybe that shows every player on the team what a leader is. It’s not quitting with a couple of weeks left to prepare for the NFL Draft when you’re probably not even going to be picked like running back Rakeem Boyd did in November.
“I want to finish what I started,” Franks said last week. “I came here to compete for a season and that’s what I’m going to do. At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve gone to work week in and week out with these guys for 10 straight games, so why stop on the 11th?”
Unless something changes and he leaps up the draft boards, Franks won’t be an early pick. Most projects are fifth to sixth round and you don’t see many teams gambling on a pick at quarterback.
For a position that is often the face of a billion-dollar company, NFL teams look at more than how good of an arm quarterbacks have. History shows winning Super Bowls is often a lot more than arm strength.
Franks has those intangibles. His teammates of one year have noticed it.
“It says a lot about his leadership and his want-to,” offensive tackle Myron Cunningham said Monday. “He wants to be here and wants to play with us and finish the season the right way.”
Coming back for another season with the Hogs would probably boost him in the NFL Draft more than playing in the Senior Bowl, but that’s a decision for Franks to make. Pittman sounded confident in the future at quarterback.
Most of that’s because K.J. Jefferson had a big day against Missouri in his only start when Franks couldn’t go because of a rib injury and Malik Hornsby has a ton of potential.
“We feel we’re in good shape there at quarterback,” Pittman said.
Plus, those guys have seen what a leader is at that position.
That’s also why whatever he does after the Texas Bowl, the guess is he’ll be successful. He’s got a key ingredient for that.
“That shows a lot toward his character,” Pittman said of Franks staying with the team all the way through the season. “I’m really proud of him that he decided to play in the Texas Bowl.”