Illinois DE Michael Buchanan the Token Illini First Round Pick in 2013?


In recent years, the Illinois Fighting Illini have seemingly had one or two players come out of nowhere to have dominant seasons and wind up being first round picks. In 2011, it was Corey Liuget, and he was followed by Whitney Mercilus and A.J. Jenkins in 2012.

This year, the player that Illinois is going to put out there who could very well be the next in a line of great prospects is defensive end Michael Buchanan, who is entering his senior season as one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the country.

I was checking out my new Pro Football Weekly NFL preview magazine, and they noted in the 2013 Draft feature that Buchanan, despite having just 6.5 sacks last year, was the one opening up space for guys like Whitney Mercilus to make plays.

He has excellent length and a frame to grow into a dominant defensive end or maybe even a hybrid rush linebacker. Keep an eye out for this guy to break out in 2012 as one of the top pass rushers in the country, even though Illinois may be inconsistent on the field otherwise. They’ve been a pipeline for some top NFL talent in the last couple of years, and in a talent stocked full of pass rush talent, Buchanan stands out.