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Jonathan Brown's Senior Bowl Selection Bodes Well For Draft Stock

The traditional Illini pattern takes players from the Senior Bowl and into the NFL Draft. Will Jonathan Brown follow suit?

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois LB Jonathan Brown accepted his invite to the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl this week, officially claiming a place in the Jan. 25 game.

Brown finished top 20 nationally in tackles this season with 119, while also tallying 15 tackles for loss, which ranks him fourth best in the Big Ten. His 45.5 career tackles for loss is third best in school history. Brown is the only Illinois player to receive an invite.

Per the Senior Bowl's official website, the game is, "the nation's most unique football game and football's premier senior showcase event." Basically, it's an all-star game for scouting purposes.

Brown's NFL potential became clear during his sophomore season, when the Illini jumped out to a 6-0 start and Brown shined on the defensive side of the ball. That potential inches closer to reality with this Senior Bowl selection, especially considering the history of Illini draft picks.

The last nine Illini players to play in the Senior Bowl all heard their name called on draft day. Last year, OL Hugh Thornton and DE Michael Buchanan jumped from Illinois to the Senior Bowl to the NFL, with OL Jeff Allen and WR A.J. Jenkins following that pattern the year prior.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 230 lbs, CBS Sports projects Brown as 7th round draft selection.