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Six Illini accept invites to NFL Combine

Illinois has a chance to be well-represented once again this April.

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Illinois v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Six former Illinois football players will get a chance to prove themselves in front of scouts at the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine.

That mark sets a program record for most Illinois players invited to the Combine in one year. In total, Bret Bielema and his staff have had 14 players invited to the Combine since arriving in Champaign in 2022 after the Illini were represented just 13 times combined from 2013-2021.

Usually, invites to the Combine are an indicator that a player has legitimate draft interest from NFL teams. Illinois is looking to have three or more players drafted for the third consecutive season.

Here’s the list of invitees from the orange and blue:

Johnny Newton was a lock to be invited after his dominant First-Team All-American season in Champaign. He has a chance to become the Illini’s second first-round draft pick in as many seasons, following Devon Witherspoon’s selection by the Seattle Seahawks at No. 5 overall in 2023.

Currently, Newton is projected as the 30th overall pick to the Baltimore Ravens by both CBS Sports and NFL.com. Pro Football Focus ranks him 10th on its Big Board.

The Combine will be important for Isaiah Williams as he looks to build his draft stock. The First-Team All-Big Ten wide receiver could be a dynamic weapon with the right franchise. He was named to the East-West Shrine Bowl All-Practice team last week.

Pro Football Focus currently ranks Williams 157th on its Big Board.

Isaiah Adams is firmly on the NFL’s radar despite a tumultuous 2023 season that saw him move out to right tackle after starting the season at left guard. He projects as a guard at the next level, which is where he played during the Senior Bowl last week.

Pro Football Focus currently ranks him 165th on its Big Board.

The other half of the Law Firm, Keith Randolph, has been getting looks from NFL teams for the last few years. Randolph’s stock has fallen some after a down 2023 that was significantly impacted by an ankle injury, but he should still have a good chance to be selected in April.

Pro Football Focus currently ranks him 214th on its Big Board.

Julian Pearl has the measurables and athleticism to show well at the Combine and make a push to enter the draft mix. The three-year Illini starter participated in the East-West Shrine Bowl last week.

Pro Football Focus currently ranks him 242nd on its Big Board.

Tip Reiman chose to forego his final year of eligibility and make the jump to the next level and the Combine will be an important step. The former walk-on was named to the East-West Shrine Bowl All-Practice team last week.

The NFL Combine will be held from Feb. 29 to March 3 in Indianapolis.