Who goes first ... in 2013?

News-Gazette football beat writer Bob Asmussen says this year's Illinois draft class is the second best in school history (behind 1996). There's a chance for more Illini first-rounders in next year's draft. Here are four with a chance:

TERRY HAWTHORNE

Cornerback

East St. Louis product showed his potential with game-winning play against UCLA. If he puts up big interception/tackle numbers in 2012, he's getting an early call.

MICHAEL BUCHANAN

Defensive end

His goal is to get a sack a game in 2012, which will certainly draw the attention of pro scouts. He's got a better resume going into his final season than Whitney Mercilus had before 2011.

AKEEM SPENCE

Defensive tackle

Don't bet on redshirt junior to be back in 2013. Coming off an overlooked 2011 (blame Mercilus), he's got the body and the motor to climb into the first round.

GRAHAM POCIC

Center

NFL has shown a willingness to take centers in the first round. Loads of experience helps. So does the ability to play multiple positions.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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bendsen1 wrote on April 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm

What about my good man Jonathan Brown or Hugh Thorton? They both seem like they are great athletes and could be taken high in the draft maybe as soon as next year