Bucs take Illini's Benn
Arrelious Benn might have been a first-round pick if he was able to enter last year's NFL draft, but he was a sophomore and returned to Illinois.
His junior stats slipped, but still the wide receiver was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round, 39th overall, on Friday.
"I wouldn't say I was disappointed," Benn said. "I was a little shocked at the guys who were selected. That doesn't matter now. I got picked by Tampa. I'm a Buccaneer. I'm ready to go play."
Injuries and a lack of quarterback production limited Benn to 38 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns this past season. That comes after he caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards as as sophomore.
"I'm not going to throw anyone under the bus," Benn said. "What happened at Illinois happened at Illinois. I'm a Buccaneer now. I got the right guys around me now, and I'm ready to go play."
Benn did not regret going to Illinois despite the downturn in the program.
"I may do it over differently," he said but added, "I'm excited I went to Illinois. People doubted me. They still doubt. I'll continue to prove them wrong."
And Benn said he will use his drop in the draft to motivate him.
"They passed up on me," he said of other teams. "They're going to wish they got me. It is what it is. It doesn't matter."
The Bucs traded for Reggie Brown in the offseason, knowing that the receiving corps is an issue.
Benn will be on the receiving end of passes by young quarterback Josh Freeman.
"That's the guy I'm going to have to trust in, and he's going to have to trust in me," Benn said. "I'm going to sit down with him as soon as possible. I'm going to call him when I get off the phone."
ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers contributed to this report.
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