Get to know your NFL pros

Get to know your NFL pros

Several former Illini are making or aiming to make careers in the NFL. Take a quick look at where they are heading into team training camps.

Jeff Allen, OL, Chiefs
Former second-round pick entering third season and is a fixture at left guard, having made 28 starts in first two seasons

Jon Asamoah, OL, Falcons
After spending first four seasons with Kansas City, recently-married Asamoah signed five-year deal this offseason with Atlanta that will pay him $4.5 million a year

Alan Ball, CB, Jaguars
Veteran might have found a fit after he made career-best 47 tackles and managed 14 pass deflections to go along with two interceptions last year during his seventh NFL season

Arrelious Benn, WR, Eagles
If healthy and fully recovered from ACL injury that kept him out all of last season, have to think Benn is a good fit for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense

Jonathan Brown, LB, Cardinals
Illini’s best NFL draft hope, the undrafted free agent is vying for a roster spot after he did not hear his name called in May

Michael Buchanan, DL, Patriots
Nine tackles and one fumble recovery in rookie season last fall as he looks to see the field more in his sophomore campaign

Jack Cornell, OL, Raiders
Bounced back and forth between practice squad and active roster last season, appearing in one game, but solid work ethic and dynamic personality should help

Jeff Cumberland, TE, Jets
Two straight steady seasons with Jets (55 combined catches for 757 yards, 7 TDs) netted him a three-year deal worth $5.7 million this offseason to resign with New York

Vontae Davis, CB, Colts
Colts locked him up with four-year, $39 million deal in March after sixth-year pro made 46 tackles, 12 pass deflections and one interception last season,

Derek Dimke, K, Saints
Most accurate kicker in Illinois history hoping to stick with New Orleans after preseason stints with Tampa Bay (2013) and Detroit (2012)

Glenn Foster, DE, Saints
Undrafted free agent made splash in training camp before making three sacks in limited playing time last season as a rookie

Justin Green, DB, Patriots
Played in two games as rookie last year as he tries to make his way off practice squad

Kelvin Hayden, CB, Bears
Hayden could help give added depth to Bears secondary after torn hamstring forced 10-year veteran to miss all of 2013

Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, Patriots
Fifth-year pro about to enter third season with Patriots and could start after hauling in 12 catches for 136 yards, one TD last season

Steve Hull, WR, Saints
Former safety turned in best season by an Illini wideout last fall and will now try to land a roster spot after surviving a tryout and then signing as undrafted free agent

A.J. Jenkins, WR, Chiefs
Illinois’ single-game record-holder for most receiving yards still trying to distinguish himself as he enters third NFL season and second with Chiefs

Ryan Lankford, WR, Colts
Rookie about to embark on first training camp after dislocated shoulder ended senior season prematurely

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions
Crowded backfield with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell leaves Centennial product fighting for carries heading into this season

Corey Liuget, DT, Chargers
Look for a breakout season from fourth-year pro who has compiled 13 1/2 sacks and 13 pass deflections in first three seasons

Brandon Lloyd, WR, 49ers
After not playing last season, 33-year-old is back with Jim Harbaugh’s team and, if he makes roster, only needs 305 receiving yards to hit 6,000 for his career

Whitney Mercilus, LB, Texans
Can tell Big Ten stories with new Texans coach Bill O’Brien after Mercilus started all 16 games last year, finishing with 47 tackles and seven sacks in second season

Akeem Spence, DT, Buccaneers
Started 14 games and made 29 tackles in his rookie season, but made news with offseason arrest on marijuana charges

Justin Staples, LB, Browns
Grew up near Cleveland in Lakewood, but didn’t take part in any games during his rookie season for his hometown Browns after landing as an undrafted free agent

Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
Versatile veteran needs only 247 rushing or receiving yards this season to reach 6,000 yards of total offense in his career

Hugh Thornton, OL, Colts
Third-round pick in 2013 didn’t disappoint during rookie season, making 14 starts as he protected Andrew Luck at left guard and helped Colts reach playoffs

Steve Weatherford, P, Giants
Firmly entrenched as punter and holder for Tom Coughlin’s team after he booted a career-high 91 punts last season for an underachieving New York squad

Martez Wilson, DE, Cowboys
Late pickup by Dallas last season didn’t record any tackles, but fourth-year pro is looking to not play for three teams this year like he did in 2013

Tavon Wilson, DB, Patriots
Numbers dipped in his second year (three tackles, one INT) after solid rookie season (41 tackles, four INTs)

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