PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — This week figures to be a special week for Peoria’s Kendrick Green and Washington’s Christian Uphoff.
They’ve been thinking about playing in the National Football League since they were very young.
“It’s been my dream and goal since I was a kid,” said Uphoff. “I’ve always had a a feeling this was going to happen to me.”
“Been a dream my whole life,” Green added. “I’m ready for it, ready to go play ball.”
Green had a standout career at Illinois and was an All-American last season. He is bypassing another season in college to start his pro career.
The offensive lineman, who led Peoria High School to a 2016 state championship, figures to be selected on the second day of the draft, in either the second or third round.
Uphoff was a standout at Illinois State. The defensive back opted out of his senior year to get ready for this week’s draft.
He thinks he may be picked Saturday, when the draft wraps up with rounds 4-7. Both think they’re ready to play in the NFL.
“I want to show the NFL I’m a dependable guy, durable guy,” said Green. “A guy that, whoever drafts me, I want to slide myself into the starting lineup. And the organization won’t have to worry about that position for years down the line.”
Uphoff’s has seen his stock rise since being named one of the top players at the Senior Bowl in January. He believes intangibles, such as being a good teammate, are in his favor.
“That’s what I tell scouts. They say, give me a pitch of why we should draft you. I tell them I have everything and I’m a great teammate,” Uphoff said. “It’s something I pride myself in.”
Both players have worked out in Texas since December. yet both are proud to be from central Illinois. Their paths never rewally cross in high school or college but they did as they prepared for the draft.
“On my way back to Dallas after Christmas, Kendrick was on my plane,” Uphoff said. “We were talking at the airport. Kendrick’s a great player. I’m happy for him.”