Illinois has four players taken in first two rounds for the first time in program history.
Illinois offensive tackle Jeff Allen went to the Kansas City Chiefs and defensive back Tavon Wilson was chosen by the New England Patriots Friday, marking the first time the Illini had four players taken in the first two rounds.
Allen went with the 44th pick overall and the 12th slot in the second round and "like my versatility,'' said Allen, who will join former Illini teammate Jon Asamoah in Kansas City.
"It's like the transition I made from high school to college,'' Allen said. "Jon was one of the guys that took me under his wing when I got to Illinois, showing me what it took to perform at the college level. It's the same thing in the NFL.''
At best, Wilson was projected as a sixth-or-seventh-round prospect, but he fell into coach Bill Belichick's plans to revamp the Pats' defense with the 48th pick overeall. ESPN Scouts Inc. rated Wilson as the 24th safety in this draft, and he grabbed only one interception last season and wasn't invited to the NFL combine.
"I feel like there are only a certain amount of spots that people get invited to the combine,'' Wilson said. "I was confident in my ability. I wish I was there. I just looked at it as more opportunity to get ready. Everybody else had six weeks, and I had eight.''
Once Wilson reached the Illinois pro timing day, "I felt I was in my best possible shape,'' Wilson said.
The National Football Post's scouting report says Wilson has natural power "but his lacking closing gear shows up in both the run and pass game."
John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnSupinie.