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D.J. Williams' guidance sets Gragg's course for NFL

Feb. 26, 2013
 
Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday.
Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday. / Dave Martin/AP

INDIANAPOLIS — Any time Green Bay Packers tight end D.J. Williams returned to Fayetteville, Ark., the past two years, Chris Gragg made sure he carved out the time to meet with the former Arkansas star.

Before his redshirt senior year with the Razorbacks, Gragg spent his early years in the program shadowing Williams, who reset a multiple of school records while becoming Arkansas’ first John Mackey Award winner for best collegiate tight end in 2010.

Williams was a fifth-round pick by the Packers the next spring, and the Little Rock native still spends a lot of time in the Fayetteville area with several on-campus stops.

Built almost identically to Williams’ 6-foot-2, 245-pound frame, Gragg always tried to take in as much as possible from his predecessor whether it was during their three seasons as teammates or unexpected visits to campus.

When Williams left, Gragg developed into a go-to option in the Razorbacks’ offense in 2011 with 41 receptions and 518 yards in 13 starts, but suffered a sprained MCL last September that limited him to only five games his senior year.

Speaking Thursday at the NFL combine, Gragg was confident his injuries were past and was hoping to follow in Williams’ footsteps to the next level.

“He taught me a lot about watching film. How to prepare myself and get prepared for games,” Gragg said.

“Just how he approached the game. He’s a guy who always had a good attitude. That’s one thing I’ve always tried to go and have myself, every day at practice, every day in the film room, just have a good attitude. If you’re a good player, everything else will work out.”

Gragg, who made the conversion from wide receiver after his freshman year, helped answer some questions about the health of his knee with an impressive showing at the combine.

Along with registering the best 40-yard dash of the tight-end class (4.50 seconds), Gragg had the best broad jump (10½ inches) of the weekend, 6 inches better than second-place Tyler Eifert, the highly touted prospect out of Notre Dame.

Measuring in at 6-2 ¾, 244 pounds, Gragg was projected by NFLDraftScout.com as a possible fifth- or sixth-round pick, but his performance could help his case if the knee isn't an issue going forward.

“Everything I’ve heard today has been fine,” Gragg said about his knee. “It’s an MCL sprain. That’s an injury that heals on its own. It doesn’t require any surgery. I sat those games out. That was one of the toughest things I’ve done, but ever since December it’s been 100 percent. I haven’t had any hindrance in my training.”

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