Top 10 Illinois football NFL Draft busts of all time

Illinois football has had some talent over the decades, but some of that talent hasn't translated into the NFL ranks. Some NFL teams have taken a chance on an Illini player and have been burnt.

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Williams. . WR David Williams. player. 57. . 3rd Round, #82 Pick. 8. 1986 NFL Draft. WR David Williams

  • 195 yards, 0 TDs
  • 18 games, 2 starts
  • 0 Pro Bowls
  • 3 NFL teams
  • 2 seasons

One of the most electric players in Illinois football history was David Williams. He was a great wide receiver for the program and even made the All-American team twice.

In 1984, Williams had 101 receptions for 1,278 yards and eight touchdowns. He followed that great season up in 1985 with 85 receptions for 1,047 yards and eight touchdowns. Finishing north of 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in the 1980s was an impressive feat. This got the NFL scouts looking, and Williams caught the attention of the Chicago Bears.

The Bears picked Williams in the 3rd round, pick No. 82, in the 1986 NFL Draft. Chicago was just coming off a Super Bowl win, and this could have been a great boost to their roster. Instead, the Bears coaching staff, which was led by Mike Ditka, was not pleased with Williams’ work ethic. Williams was cut before the 1986 season even started.

Williams went on to play two seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Raiders. He had combined 10 receptions for 195 yards and zero touchdowns during his NFL career.

Squirek. 2nd Round, #35 Pick. LB Jack Squirek. . player. 1982 NFL Draft. LB Jack Squirek. . 7. 28

  • 1 INT, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
  • 55 games, 8 starts
  • 0 Pro Bowls
  • 2 NFL teams
  • 5 Seasons

This was a tough one for multiple reasons. Illinois didn’t have a ton of high draft picks who didn’t pan out in the NFL. I am putting Jack Squirek at No. 7 on the list. I want to acknowledge that the linebacker passed away back in January, and he was a sensational player for the Illinois football program.

Squirek played in 22 games for the Illini and had three interceptions. He was a big part of the Illini resurgence, helping the program go from three wins in 1980 to seven wins during the 1981 campaign.

Following his time in Champaign, Squirek was selected in the second round, pick No. 35, in the 1982 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders. In five NFL seasons, he played a total of 55 games but only had eight starts. A near-first-round NFL Draft pick who only starts eight games is why I have Squirek at No. 7 on this list. But that doesn’t take away from a great moment he had in the NFL.

In the 1983 Super Bowl, with the Raiders up 14-3, Squirek intercepted a screen pass and returned it five yards for a touchdown. This all but sealed the game for Los Angeles.