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Illinois Football 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Jihad Ward is poised to be the program's first selection since 2013

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Six former Illinois players could hear their names called this weekend.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL Draft has finally arrived and, while Illinois likely won't have any first round selections on Thursday night, the program will produce their first picks since 2013. Led by defensive lineman Jihad Ward (who may go as early as the second round), there are six members of the Fighting Illini who have legitimate shots at hearing their name called.

Myself and a few other writers will be hanging out in the comments throughout the evening to discuss the inevitable first round drama. Feel free to join us! One last thing -- here is the official TCR projection for the first five picks:

Illinois Prospects to Watch

Jihad Ward (DE): 2nd - 3rd round

Josh Ferguson (RB): 5th - 7th round

Clayton Fejedelem (S): 6th - 7th round

Ted Karras (OG): 7th round

Geronimo Allison: 7th round - Undrafted

V'Angelo Bentley: 7th round - Undrafted

NFL Draft Schedule

Round 1: Thursday at 7:00pm CT on ESPN, WatchESPN, and NFL Network

Rounds 2-3: Friday at 6:00pm CT on ESPN, WatchESPN, and NFL Network

Rounds 4-7: Saturday at 11:00am CT on ESPN, WatchESPN, and NFL Network

Other Resources

SB Nation's Live Draft Tracker

Complete 2016 NFL Draft order

Complete list of traded draft picks