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Can't Wait For Saturday | Lesson learned: Never be surprised by the NFL draft

Apr. 26—The money won't be quite as good. Not initially. And he won't be able to say he was a first-round pick.

But Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton is going to be fine whenever he is selected in the NFL draft. And the team that selects him — likely early in the second round Friday night — is getting a player who now has an extra layer of motivation.

Multiple times during Thursday's first round, I said to myself "this will be the team."" But it wasn't.

Many NFL mock drafts had Newton going in the first round. The reporters who cover the team believed it would be the case.

But the NFL is 32 independent organizations, They are going to what they do.

Six of them took quarterbacks before the first round was half over. That tied a record with the stellar 1983 draft class. Is there a Dan Marino in this group? Or a John Elway or Jim Kelly? Time will tell.

It was a great day for the Chicago Bears, who have their quarterback and a great receiver to go with him. At the top of my Biletnikoff ballot, I put Rome Odunze, not Marvin Harrison Jr.

My prediction: The Bears are making the playoffs next season thanks to the rookie quarterback and receiver, and a scary good defense.

I will be back Saturday morning after Newton is selected. And any other Illini picked in the second or third rounds. Offensive lineman Isaiah Adams has a a chance to be picked before the final day.