April 23, 2011; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini offensive lineman Hugh Thornton (72) and Graham Pocic (76) block defensive lineman Austin Teitsma (44) during the annual Orange and Blue spring game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Heinz-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFL Draft Illinois Player Profile: Hugh Thornton

Few players have grown in their time with the Illinois Fighting Illini as much as Hugh Thornton has.

Jan 26, 2013; Mobile, AL, USA; Senior Bowl north squad offensive lineman Hugh Thornton of Illinois (72) prior to kickoff of a game against the Senior Bowl south squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Thornton played only seven games as a frehsman, but would play the rest of the games in his time at Illinois (42 games).  He was a second team All-Big-Ten selection by the coaches, and an honorable mention by the media.  Hugh helped the team have the best rushing attack in the Big Ten and set school records for points in a season and points per game in 2010.

Despite the mistakes he made in the past, such as being arrested for underage consumption and trying to use a fake ID, Thornton has really turned it all around and has become one of the better offensive linemen for the Fighting Illini.

Thornton has a lot of upper body strength, as well as very good grip, as he is able to really latch onto the guys on the other side of the line.  His height, 6’3″, are a big plus on the line, as that will help him to reach out to block for his runners.

The height, however, does not make up for his limited lateral movement. Thornton is not as stellar as you would like to see in a lineman for outside runs and screen passes.  Although, he could, with a little polishing, really pan out as a solid lineman for an up and coming team with a veteran to teach him some things.

Hugh Thornton could easily be picked by a team with a good line, that may be looking for cheap backups.  I could see him going to the San Francisco 49ers or the Seattle Seahawks in a late round.  I expect Hugh to be drafted on the third day of the NFL Draft.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Hugh Thornton Illinois Fighting Illini NFL Draft San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks

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