WCIA — The NFL Draft is wrapped up and ten former Illinois football players are headed to the pros to live out their dreams.

Kerby Joseph opened things up, going in the third round to the Detroit Lions, offensive linemen Vederian Lowe and Doug Kramer followed on Saturday going in the sixth, and seven Illini signed with teams as undrafted free agents:

  • QB Brandon Peters, K James McCourt sign with the Los Angeles Chargers
  • LB Jake Hansen signs with the Houston Texans
  • DB Tony Adams signs with the New York Jets
  • EDGE Owen Carney signs with the Miami Dolphins
  • LB Khalan Tolson signs with the Carolina Panthers
  • DT Rod Perry signs with the Cleveland Browns

The three draftees are staying close, going to the NFL North. But none will be closer to home than Kramer, who’s headed to his favorite team the Chicago Bears.

“Dream come true for sure,” Kramer said. “I don’t think I’ve fully wrapped my head around the fact that the Bears just took me. It’s crazy to think just growing up a diehard Bears fan, this means the world to me and my family.”

Three is the most Illini drafted in a single year since 2013. All of the players this season were recruited under Lovie Smith and his staffs, but it is still a time to take a victory lap if you are Bret Bielema. He had a message for his former players as they got ready to experience the draft process.

“Enjoy your moment, I’ve seen so many people who have been misled or given information that’s not real,” Bielema said. “They have an agent that’s telling them something that they want to hear and not what they need to hear. What I’ve told all of them is, ‘When that opportunity comes, it doesn’t really matter how you got there it’s a matter of what you’re there for,’ and they’re there to make a great impression and hopefully make a lasting impression that lands them on a roster. It’s kind of like in recruiting, you don’t get mad about the journey or the process, just enjoy the result. So if they are fortunate enough to get drafted or earn a free agent contract, to just really enjoy the moment and make the best of it.”