Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 4/24/13
The Illini don’t win on most college football Saturdays, but they do always win: NFL Draft night and 2nd-3rd tier bowl games. Please don’t bring up the Illini in the Rose Bowl or the BCS. Nevertheless, April sees a “March” of Illini to the NFL every year, despite how poorly the team performs on the field. Illini football boasts the most 1st-round NFL Draft picks of any Big Ten program since 2008. Not bad for a college basketball school! And SHOCKING when you consider the team has gone 24-38 the past five years. However, that number can be misleading. If you throw out the 2-10 train wreck of last year (and please, can we throw that out? and burn it to ashes and never speak of it again?) And you add in the fluky Rose Bowl year of 2007 (record 9-4) the 5 year overall record ends up at 31-32. Using the 2007-11 record is much more accurate than ’08-’12 for NFL Draft pick evaluation purposes. However, that’s still WAY TOO  much talent to be under .500. Because we’ve also heard plenty of Illini names being called in the second and third, and later rounds of the NFL Draft as well these past five years. These facts and numbers just verify what we already know. Ron Zook is to recruiting what Amanda Bynes is to drinking. He’s also to coaching what Amanda Bynes is to avoiding legal issues. To have that much pro talent and win so little….SMH. It’s enough to make you listen to Whitney Houston’s “Didn’t we almost have it all?” on repeat. As for Tim Beckman. He’s like the Bernie Madoff of NFL Draft stock- he’ll devalue yours. DE/OLB Michael Buchanan was once considered a borderline first round pick. You won’t hear his name until the third round at earliest next week. CB Terry Hawthorne could have been a Friday pick, but I’m guessing round four or five now. OL  Hugh Thornton and Graham Pocic should be later round picks too. And that SHOCKS me, because the 2012 Illini offensive line really struggled with run blocking. And pass blocking. Other than that though, the O line was quite stellar!  The Champaign News Gazette lists all five Illini who went in round one. And here’s ranking the Big Ten programs in NFL first round picks since ’08: School    No. of first-round picks Illini    5 Ohio State    4 Hawkeyes   3 Badgers    3 Wolverines    2 Cornhuskers    2 Penn State    2 Purdue    2 Hoosiers   0 Michigan State    0 Gophers    0 Northwestern    0 Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks) The post Illini 1st in Big Ten for NFL 1st round picks since ’08 appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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