CHAMPAIGN — Kendrick Green almost certainly will hear his named called between April 29 and May 1, when the NFL draft is conducted in Cleveland.
The former Illinois offensive lineman knows it, too.
“I feel like the league knows,” the Peoria native said Tuesday, less than 24 hours before participating in the Illini’s Pro Day in Champaign on Wednesday. “Just from hearing around and stuff, I think I’ll be in a pretty good situation going into this draft.”
Green boasts a fourth-round draft grade from Pro Football Focus. Writing for PFF last month, Mike Renner — a Uni High graduate who is PFF’s lead draft analyst — ranked Green eighth among draftable interior linemen.
But not everyone is completely sold on the 2020 consensus All-Big Ten first-team choice, who also earned Associated Press All-Big Ten first-team honors and USA Today All-America second-team statusafter splitting time between left guard and center during his junior season at Illinois.
Green’s name isn’t among CBS Sports’ top-150 rankings for this year’s draft class. Fellow Big Ten offensive linemen Rashawn Slater (Northwestern), Jalen Mayfield (Michigan), Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers (both Ohio State) do appear on that list.
“I don’t really pay attention to that stuff too much,” Green said. “But I’d say I definitely have a chip on my shoulder, for sure.”
Wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, linebacker Milo Eifler and cornerback Nate Hobbs will join Green at Wednesday’s event, which is closed to the public and media.
Green is back in town after spending roughly 2 1/2 months in McKinney, Texas, training with Duke Manyweather at the Michael Johnson Performance Center. Manyweather has worked with the likes of Mekhi Becton, a former Louisville offensive tackle who the New York Jets selected in the first round of last year’s draft.
“I’m really confident going into it,” Green said. “I’ll have a great day and really showcase what I’m ultimately capable of.”
The 6-foot-4 Green most recently was listed at 315 pounds when he last played for Illinois this past December. The latter figure may have changed a bit since Green announced almost three months ago he would forgo his final year of college eligibility to focus on going pro.
“I’ve become more explosive. I feel a little bit lighter on my feet,” Green said. “That trainer gave me the confidence.”
On March 8, Manyweather visited Twitter to post one of Green’s latest feats.
A short video shows Green with his knees on the ground, his shins on a foam roller and his feet being held in place by a spotter, toes pointing to the floor. With arms at his sides, Green proceeds to slowly lurch forward until his chest nearly hits the ground before slowly rising upward to his starting position.
The exercise offers an extreme test of an athlete’s hamstring strength, and Green was proud of completing the task.
“I was kind of working on it since I got there,” Green said. “We got really close the first time and could never come all the way back up to the final thing. But I finally got it. It was fun.”
Green said he’s not entirely sure how Wednesday will progress from a scheduling standpoint beyond having his body measurements charted at 8 a.m. and performing the 40-yard dash shortly afterward.
The main events of the NFL Combine — which isn’t happening this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating more NFL scouting focus on pro days — are the 40, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press and shuttle run.
“I’m just here for the ride,” Green said. “There’s really no preparing for this type of stuff. ... You’ve got to go through it and just take it day by day.”
Green said NFL scouts have spoken with him about playing at both his natural left guard position and at center.
“Wherever I’m needed is where I’m going to go. I’m 100 percent, 10 toes into it,” Green said. “I want to be able to slot myself in the starting lineup and (the) organization’s not going to have to worry about that position for years down the line.”
When asked if any of those aforementioned scouts represent the Chicago Bears, however, Green didn’t offer good or bad news in regards to his home state’s NFL franchise.
“My agent told me not to speak on those things,” Green said with a laugh.