With the 221st overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select Ted Karras, guard, Illinois:
Patriots 6th Round pick Ted Karras is not a stranger to the Big Ten as he was the seventh player from his family to play in the power conference, and he's the fifth Karras to play in the NFL, with the most decorated being Alex Karras, his uncle. Alex played for the Detroit Lions, appearing in four Pro Bowls. Alex Karras also was known for being suspended for gambling and going into acting after his career, starring in the classic 1980's sitcom "Webster".
Ted's grandfather, Ted, played in the NFL for nine years, with the highlight of his career coming in 1963 when he won the Wold Championship with the Bears. His father, Ted Karras Jr. had a short career in the NFL, playing with the Redskins after an excellent career playing defensive tackle at Northwestern. Ted's great uncle Lou played for the Redskins for three seasons too, so it is safe to say that the NFL doesn't put a scare into young Teddy Karras.
Karras played his high school years for Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana where he was coached by Rick Streiff. Karras was ranked as a two-star recruit by Scout.com and rated on of the Top 25 guards by ESPN, who had him ranked higher than Scout as a three-star. Karras was named All-Midwest Region by Prepstar, Indiana Digest Top 15, Indiana Football Coaches Top 50 All-State Team, and he was also named to the Catholic All-American Team. Karras was also selected to the Indiana Associated Press Class 4-A All-State in 2009 and 2010. Karras is a proven winner too, leading Cathedral two state championships in four years (2008, 2010).
After being redshirted as a freshman in 2011, Karras stepped into a starting role in 2012, starting all 12 games for the Illini. Karras was also named to the Academic All Big Ten Team, something he did consistently in college and another trait that will help him in the NFL. Football is a thinking mans sport, and the intelligent Karras is able to process things quickly and eliminate mistakes in his own game.
Karras continued his consistent ways in 2013, starting 10 games (missed one due to injury) and was named the winner of the Illinois Point Award, the award given to the top offensive lineman on the team. Karras helped spearhead a huge improvement in the Illini offense, a season that was highlighted by two games with over 600 offensive yards. They had 601 total offensive yards vs. Miami (Ohio), 289 of them on the ground, and they also went wild vs. Indiana, racking up 612 yards in front of the Hoosiers home crowd.
2014 would prove to be a challenging season for Karras, but he's mentally tough and he proved it. After starting the first nine games of the season and putting up some dominating performances, Karras went down with a knee injury vs. Ohio State and was forced to miss the remaining four games of the season. Although he missed four games, his contributions helped the Illini reach the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl, and he was also recognized as a Big Ten Honorable Mention.
2015 team captian Karras put it all together as a senior, being named All-Big Ten third team by the Associated Press and All Big Ten Honorable Mention by the Big Ten coaches. He started 12 games at guard and was part of an offensive line that allowed just 20 sacks all season. Karras was honored by the team as he was named the Illini Warrior Effort Award Winner. In five years at Illinois, Karras started 43 of a possible 48 games, and the only games he didn't start were due to injury.
New England fans are going to like Karras, a player who plays the game with a mean streak and isn't afraid to mix it up when called upon. He does need to get a little more flexible in his base, but he has rare upper body strength, an ability which will allow him to at least stick on NFL rosters as a backup. If he does happen to improve his base and footwork, he could become a starter in the NFL. The Patriots are going to get back to basics in 2016, and one of the most basic things is a power running game. If New England does decide to deploy this qb-saving weapon, Karras could see playing time right away.
College Statistics Provided by FightingIllini.com
Video Provided by Illini Inquirer.com
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