Illini in the NFL draft: Quite a run

Illini in the NFL draft: Quite a run

The last four NFL drafts have treated Illinois well. Very well, especially for a program that has posted a 22-28 combined record since 2008. A look at the 15 selections in the last four years:

Whitney Mercilus
First round, Texans
Linebacker finished with six sacks while contributing significantly to Gary Kubiak’s squad, which won the AFC South last year.

A.J. Jenkins
First round, 49ers
Disappointing first season (no receptions) after he caught 90 passes for 1,276 yards in 2011 at Illinois. But, hey, his team went to the Super Bowl.

Jeff Allen
Second round, Chiefs
Former Illini tackle started 12 games last season at left guard for 2-14 team after injury to Chiefs center Rodney Hudson forced reshuffling of line.

Tavon Wilson
Second round, Patriots
A bit of a surprise taken 48th overall, but free safety proved his worth for Bill Belichick after recording 41 tackles and making four interceptions in his first NFL season.  
Corey Liuget
First round, Chargers
Defensive tackle had impressive second season with seven sacks, six more than he accumulated in his rookie campaign.

Mikel Leshoure
Second round, Lions
If he can avoid legal problems and injuries, Centennial graduate could increase his reputation in the league after rushing for 798 yards and nine TDs in 14 games last season.

Martez Wilson
Third round, Saints
Chicago Simeon product is finding a niche role in New Orleans. Poised to have bigger presence in 2013.

Nate Bussey
Seventh round, Saints
Linebacker looking for an NFL team after stints with Saints, Jaguars.

Arrelious Benn
Second round, Buccaneers
Talented career in Champaign never quite caught on in Tampa Bay. After posting 59 catches for 882 yards in three seasons with Buccaneers, former second-round pick is hoping to avoid injury bug in Philadelphia.

Jon Asamoah
Third round, Chiefs
Rich East graduate needs to make five starts in 2013 to equal total number of starts he made at Illinois (37) at guard.

Michael Hoomanawanui
Fifth round, Rams
Tight end and Bloomington native now with the Patriots has six more career catches (25) than letters in his first and last name (19).

Josh Brent
Supplemental round, Cowboys
Defensive tackle now wondering whether he’ll face prison time on charges of DUI manslaughter after former Illinois linebacker Jerry Brown was killed while a passenger of Brent’s last December.   

Vontae Davis
First round, Dolphins
Entering fifth season, corner had 51 tackles and three interceptions in 10 games during his first season with Colts in 2012.

Xavier Fulton
Fifth round, Buccaneers
Left tackle at Illinois had knee injury undercut NFL career. Now playing in Canadian Football League with Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Will Davis
Sixth round, Cardinals
Defensive end at Illinois lasted two seasons with Cardinals before broken leg derailed NFL career.

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