The 2023 NFL Draft has just concluded. Illinois Football alums have all found new homes.
Typically, the NFL draft is a quiet time for Illinois Football. After Ron Zook left, it seemed like a rarity whenever an Illinois football player was mentioned. Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit had some forgetful years in this regard and in their coaching tenures. As Lovie Smith’s tenure progressed, it seemed a little more common as players like Nate Hobbs, Kendrick Green, and Nick Allegretti all found their ways onto NFL rosters.
However, these past few days, Bret Bielema’s Illini have hit unprecedented territory. A total of four players were drafted. 3 of these players were drafted in the first 3 rounds. Devon Witherspoon made history after being selected fifth overall.
The Draftees New Homes.
Devon Witherspoon became the pride and joy of Illini Football. The Seattle Seahawks drafted Witherspoon fifth overall. Witherspoon will have the pleasure of playing for a hall of fame, defensive minded coach in Pete Carroll. The Washington Commanders drafted Jartavius Martin at the 47th spot. Martin joins former Illini, Milo Eifler who has found a spot on the team despite being undrafted.
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Sydney Brown in the 3rd round. The Super bowl runner-ups drafted Brown 66th. The Eagles have a loaded roster and added arguably the most talented prospect, Jalen Carter. The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Chase Brown in the fifth round. The Chicago Bears unfortunately passed on Chase Brown, who could have made a huge fan pleasing decision to draft Brown.
However, the Bengals have a loaded roster. Additionally, they may plan on moving on from starting running back, Joe Mixon. This move would allow Brown to grab some field time and show his worth.
The Undrafted Free Agents
Though these are always tough to mention because most undrafted Free Agents end up cut, there is hope for the Undrafted Free Agent. Former Illini undrafted free agents, Milo Eifler and Tony Adams found their ways to a full-time roster spot on the Washington Commanders and New York Jets respectively.
Alex Palczewski landed with the Denver Broncos. Isaac Darkangelo will try to join Kerby Joseph on the Detroit Lions. Kendall Smith will try to add to the Illini crew on the Washington Commanders. Calvin Avery will attempt to join Vederian Lowe on the Minnesota Vikings. Alex Pihlstrom will vie for a spot on the New Orleans Saints. Finally, touchdown Tommy DeVito will return to Jersey as he hopes to make the New York Giants Roster.
More NFL homes for the Illini
These are exciting times for the University of Illinois. Bret Bielema has certainly proven that he can build a staff that can develop young athletes. Players like Keith Randolph, Johnny Newton, Isaiah Adams and Seth Coleman are all names that jump off this roster in terms of NFL hopefuls.
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