CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Twenty-two true freshmen played for Illinois football in 2017 but Kendrick Green wasn’t one of them. Four years later, no one in the class is better positioned than Green to hear his name called in the NFL Draft.
“It’s been a dream my whole life,” Green said. “I’m ready to do it, ready to go play ball.”
Green is projected to be just the third Illinois player drafted since 2016, last in the Big Ten in that time. The guard has been challenged in his time with the Illini, including transitioning from defense to offense in his redshirt season. Now he’s ranked as the sixth best interior offensive lineman in the draft according to Pro Football Focus.
“Want to show the NFL that I’m a dependable guy, durable guy,” Green said. “When teams draft me I want to be able to slide myself in.”
Green isn’t the only other former Illini hoping to be picked. Milo Eifler, Nate Hobbs and Josh Imatorbhebhe all worked out at the Illinois pro day in March and have been training since turning pro.
“It’s not like college where you are kind of in control getting recruited and scouted by these teams,” Imatorbhebhe said. “Just the fact that I don’t have as much control as I’ve had in the past, it’s a little nerve-wracking. But if anything it makes me double down and focus on the things I can control.”
Imatorbhebhe is projected in the late rounds, according to several mock drafts. Those same publications have Green as high as the third round. Yet when the Peoria native reflects on his career and time as an Illini, he says he wouldn’t have believed he would have made it this far.
“I would’ve told you you were crazy,” Green added. “I’ve been working for this my whole life so now I feel it’s time to take the shot. It’s exciting but absolutely I would tell you you are crazy.”
Green plans to watch the NFL Draft with family and friends back home in Peoria, hoping to become the first Illini drafted in the top three rounds since Dawuane Smoot went to Jacksonville 68th overall in the third round in 2017.