Illinois Fighting Illini
2020 NFL Draft Prospects
Oluwole Betiku Jr, DE
Career Snapshot: Transfer from USC who started his lone season at Illinois. Made 36 tackles (13 for loss) with nine sacks as a junior in 2019. Missed the 2018 season after he underwent offseason hip surgery.
Positives: Athletic defensive front-seven player who flashes pass-rushing skill. Very quick, plays with proper pad level and works his hands. Rarely off his feet, moves well about the field and chases hard to get involved in the action. Displays a solid inside move and nicely collapses laterally to get to the action.
Negatives: Handled by blockers and gets ragdolled at the point. Will be a liability against the run. Outpositioned from the action by tight ends. Disappears for stretches.
Analysis: Betiku Jr. displayed flashes of brilliance at times this season, but his play was very streaky. He’s a situational pass rusher who is best standing over tackle, and Betiku Jr. plays with a special-teams mentality.
Reggie Corbin, RB
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter who was named Third Team All-Big Ten in both of those seasons. Rushed for 1,085 yards and nine touchdowns and led the conference with 8.5 yards per rush as a junior in 2018. Carried 143 times for 675 yards and seven TDs in 2019.
Positives: Somewhat productive college running back who projects as a third-down specialist at the next level. Patient, quick-footed and displays excellent vision. Finds a way to squeeze through the small openings of the defense, works runs hard and effectively uses blocks everywhere on the field. Has a shifty style, can bounce it to the outside, and shows the ability to create his own yardage. Effectively helps the quarterback sell ball fakes. Very quick in the initial five yards. Runs with good lean and possesses the agility necessary to turn the corner.
Negatives: Won’t pick up much yardage off initial contact or break tackles. One-speed ball carrier who cannot beat defenders into the open field. Inconsistent pass catcher.
Analysis: Corbin comes off a somewhat disappointing senior campaign, but he flashed enough ability the past three years to get a look in camp this summer as a third-down back and situational runner. He was solid during the week of Shrine Bowl practices, but he must really produce as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and punt returner this summer to make a roster.
Dele Harding, ILB
Career Snapshot: First-year starter who earned Third Team All-Big Ten honors and led the conference with 153 tackles as a senior in 2019. Added 14.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Missed 10 games due to injury during his career — three in 2018, four in 2017 and three in 2016.
Positives: Tough, run-defending linebacker who comes off a tremendous senior season. Instinctive, breaks down well and effectively uses his hands. Makes the defensive calls and gets teammates in proper position. Patient, stays with assignments and wraps up tackling. Gives effort against the run, gets depth on pass drops and plays heads-up football. Shows good awareness in zone coverage and possesses solid hands for the interception.
Negatives: Short with a thin build, gets caught up in the wash and must improve his strength. Marginally productive until his senior season.
Analysis: Harding was nonexistent on the scouting radar before the 2019 season, but he put himself firmly in late-round consideration with a great senior campaign. He’s relatively athletic and has the tools to develop into a three-down defender, but Harding must add strength and bulk to his frame.
2020 NFL Draft Prospects
Hunter Littlejohn, C
Career Snapshot: Two-year starter at center. Started every game as a sophomore in 2017 and as a senior in 2019. Made four starts as a junior.
Positives: Solid, hard-working center who is very quick in all his actions, keeps his feet moving and keeps his head on a swivel. Bends his knees and blocks with proper leverage. Shows good intelligence and can adjust and redirect to pick up the blitz. Solid with the shotgun snap.
Negatives: Average athlete. Displays no outstanding physical characteristics. Strong at the point but does not finish blocks.
Analysis: Littlejohn was a terrific center for Indiana, and while he lacks great athleticism and upside, his approach to the game and feel for blocking could help him make a practice squad this fall.
Simon Stepaniak, G
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter at guard who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten as a senior in 2019. Made 30 starts at right guard and one at left guard during his career. Missed six games due to injury in 2017.
Positives: Tough, nasty offensive lineman who is best in a small area. Stays square, keeps his knees bent and sets with a wide base. Fires off the snap into blocks, plays with terrific lean, and quickly gets his hands into opponents. Anchors at the point, keeps his feet moving and always looks for someone to hit.
Negatives: Not effective far off the line of scrimmage. Rumbles around the field. Not an agile blocker.
Analysis: Stepaniak was a terrific player at Indiana the past two seasons as a wide-bodied, nasty lineman, but he must be used in confined quarters.
Nick Westbrook, WR
Career Snapshot: Three-year starter who was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and caught 54 passes for 995 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016. Suffered a torn ACL on the first play of the 2017 season. Combined to catch 84 passes for 1,162 yards and nine TDs during his junior and senior seasons.
Positives: Tall, big-bodied receiver with average speed and quickness. Smoothly releases off the line of scrimmage, knows where he is on the field and competes to come away with the difficult catch. Sells routes, uses his frame to shield away defenders and plays to his size. Extends his hands to offer the quarterback a target and makes the reception away from his frame. Gets vertical over defenders, high points the pass and plays with both balance and body control. Works to pick up yardage after the catch. Terrific downfield blocker.
Negatives: Plays to one speed and lacks a burst. Minimally quick off the line, doesn’t run sharp routes and really cannot separate from defenders.
Analysis: Westbrook is a hard-working receiver with terrific size who flashes the ability to take over games. He’ll need to show the ability to physically separate from defenders with his hands and be more than just a contested-catch receiver to make an NFL roster.
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