Offensive tackle Jeff Allen and defensive back Tavon Wilson were both drafted on day two of the NFL Draft, making it a grand total of four players drafted from Illinois. Allen was selected with the 44th overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs and Wilson was drafted 48th overall by the New England Patriots.
This year marks the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) that Illinois has had four players drafted in the first two rounds. Last year four Illini were drafted, but not in the first round.
“It’s just like the transition I made from high school to college,” Allen said of joining former Illini Jon Asamoah with the Chiefs. “Jon was one of the guys who took me under his wing, showed me how to work and how to perform at a high level. I see it being the same in the NFL, someone to look to and someone who can give me advice.”
“It’s a dream come true,” Wilson said. “I’m excited to be a Patriot. It’s definitely a relief. I’ve been training since January 10 and it’s been a long road, but now I’m a Patriot and I’m excited to be there. I probably surprised some people by going so high, but I didn’t surprise myself. I had heard anywhere from the second round to free agent (status). I’m just excited to get a chance to play in the NFL.”
With four guys drafted in the first two rounds, that means Illinois had a lot of talent on the team last year, that essentially was wasted. Everyone has always said Ron Zook could recruit, but coaching is another story. It will be nice to see what Tim Beckman can do this year with Zook’s talented guys.