Arrelious Benn To Tampa Bay In NFL Draft

Former Fighting Illini wide receiver Arrelious Benn was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the seventh pick in the second round of the NFL draft Friday. While he was surprised he wasn't taken in the first round, he is excited by the opportunity in Tampa Bay.

Arrelious Benn spoke with Illinois media shortly after being selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It feels good. With all the things I've dealt with the last two years, it feels real good right now."

Tampa Bay traded up with the Oakland Raiders to obtain the rights to Benn with the 39th overall pick in the draft. Despite not fulfilling his dream of being a first round pick, does he consider it a compliment?

"Definitely. I believe I'm a first round guy, and I'll play like that, with a chip on my shoulders to show them that. But I'm just interested in trying to play football on the next level. I got picked, and I'm ready to show my true talent."

He denies being upset about the first day slight.

"I wasn't disappointed. I was a little shocked by what guys got selected, but that doesn't matter right now. What matters is I got picked by Tampa Bay, I'm a Buccaneer and I'm ready to go and play."

Benn had an occasionally brilliant career at Illinois with definite highlights. He helped the Illini earn a Rose Bowl berth as a freshman and had an outstanding sophomore campaign. But he played with a separated shoulder his first year and played on teams with losing records his next two years. He played hurt his entire junior season.

He was asked, if he could do it differently, would he still select Illinois.

"I may have done it differently, but I'm glad, I'm excited that I went to Illinois. People doubted me, and they're still doubting me. It proves that I can do it."

Benn had contact from Tampa Bay before the draft, so he wasn't suprised by their interest. He watched the draft with close friends and family. He's looking forward to making a connection with Buccaneer quarterback Josh Freeman.

"It's real big. I'm gonna get down there as soon as possible, get that connection with him. I'll give him a call when I get off the phone with you guys. I'm gonna do everything he wants me to do."

As he did at Illinois, Benn will work to make his team better while improving his own game.

"I plan to go in there and do anything I need to do to help the team. I want to do everything I need to do to make everyone better."


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