By Adam Aniba
Many fans were surprised that Washington waited until pick #97 to select an offensive lineman, especially the fact that they selected a center. Questions remain about the health of center Chase Roullier and his ability to regain his 2020 form, which likely prompted the selection.
Rivera used 4 starting centers in '22 due to injury, which certainly hurt cohesion. Washington added a few o-line pieces in free agency, but 3rd round selection Ricky Stromberg will get an opportunity to compete for starting role immediately.
6'3" 306 lbs | C/G | ARK
Round 3 #97 Overall
Stromberg grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was a star offensive lineman at Union High School. As a sophomore he helped lead Union to a 11-2 record and the Oklahoma State Championship in 2016.
Stromberg played offensive and defensive line during his time at Union, but spent the majority of the time at IOL. Seeing time at every spot along the offensive line, Stromberg became a vital cog for the Redskins.
The Union o-lineman drew interest from Tulsa, Colorado State, North Texas, Utah State and Arkansas among others. Ultimately Stromberg committed to Arkansas.
As a true freshman in 2019, Stromberg started 11 games (active in 12), starting 2 games at left guard and 9 at right guard. He didn't allow a sack in 417 pass protection plays. Stromberg's unit blocked for a Razorbacks offense that finished the season with 4,081 total yards and 28 total touchdowns.
He played in 9 games with 8 starts all at center as a sophomore, allowing 1 sack on 355 pass plays. He also saw time with the field goal blocking unit.
In 2021, Stromberg once again started every game (13 games) at center and anchored an offensive line that led all Power 5 schools in rushing average with 227.8 yards per game.
Stromberg only gave up 3 sacks all season (873 snaps). He was a key member on the Razorbacks offensive line, which led the way with three games of 300+ yards rushing and was named to the 2nd-Team All-SEC.
Last season Stromberg started in all 12 games, which pushed his career starting streak to 25 straight games (44 career starts). He didn't allow a sack or a QB hit all season (allowed 4 sacks over four seasons).
With Stromberg at center, Arkansas produced 9 games of 200+ yards rushing in '22. He was part of a historical Razorbacks season. Arkansas's offense gained 6,128 yards of total offense, which was only the third time in school history that an offense accumulated over 6K yards.
He was named SEC OL of the Week after the Razorbacks rushed for 335 yards in victory over Ole Miss (11/19/22). Stromberg was an Honorable Mention All-America by Pro Football Focus and won the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy (best SEC offensive lineman).
2022 Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner
2022 Honorable Mention All-American
2022 First-Team All-SEC
2022 Preseason First-Team All-SEC
2021 Second-Team All-SEC
2020 SEC Academic Honor Roll
Impressive play strength and anchor
Provides versatility, starting games at center, guard and even tackle in HS
Dominant run blocker, who is at his best blocking on the move and seeking out contact
Excels at making line changes pre-snap
Extremely competitive and displays all the traits of a finisher
Footwork in pass protection needs refinement
Needs to work on overall balance
Too many occasions of lunging, which will need to be an area of focus
Can be overwhelmed/outmuscled at times when facing bigger lineman
Not very athletic and relies on technique
Stromberg will immediately compete with Chase Roullier and Nick Gates for the starting center job. It's possible Rivera could move on from Roullier based on his injury history and salary, but it's likely he'll want to get a better look at his recovery in training camp.
Stromberg's history and experience at guard, could also lead to him being in the mix for LG or RG. Second year G/OT Chris Paul, G/OT Saahdiq Charles and Andrew Norwell will compete for the starting left guard spot.
The right guard situation is a little murkier, with right tackle Sam Cosmi expected to slide inside, after former Chiefs OT/G Andrew Wylie was signed to play RT.
The competition at center will be one to watch this offseason. The ultimate goal is to have the best starting five along the line, even if that means utilizing Stromberg at guard early on.
*Games Watched- 9/24/22 vs Texas A&M, 10/1 vs Alabama, 10/15 vs BYU, 10/29 vs Auburn, 11/12 vs LSU & 11/19 vs Ole Miss