Ohio State Set to Build Upon Storied History, Recent Success with 2019 NFL Draft Picks

By Dan Hope on April 22, 2019 at 8:35 am
Nick Bosa and Dre'Mont Jones

Joe Maiorana – USA TODAY Sports

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Prospects from Ohio State have had a major presence in the NFL draft for many years, especially in recent seasons, and that isn’t going to change this week.

The Buckeyes have had at least two first-round picks and at least seven total players drafted in each of the last three years, and Ohio State appears set to hit both of those marks once again in the 2019 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday in Nashville.

At the top of the draft, Ohio State is a sure bet to have at least two first-round picks. Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins are both locks to be selected during Thursday night’s first round of the draft; the only question now is, how high will they go?

Bosa is widely projected to be selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any mock draft that doesn’t project him to be a top-five overall pick.

Barring a stunning slide on Thursday night, Bosa will be Ohio State’s fourth top-five pick in a four-year span. The Cleveland Browns selected Denzel Ward with the No. 4 overall pick in 2018, and Nick’s older brother Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott went back-to-back as the third and fourth overall picks in the 2016 NFL draft.

Ohio State's Draft Picks Since 2016
Year Draft Picks (Round Selected)
2018 DENZEL WARD (1), BILLY PRICE (1), TYQUAN LEWIS (2), JEROME BAKER (3), SAM HUBBARD (3), JALYN HOLMES (4), JAMARCO JONES (5)
2017 MARSHON LATTIMORE (1), MALIK HOOKER (1), GAREON CONLEY (1), CURTIS SAMUEL (2), RAEKWON MCMILLAN (2), PAT ELFLEIN (3), NOAH BROWN (7)
2016 JOEY BOSA (1), EZEKIEL ELLIOTT (1), ELI APPLE (1), TAYLOR DECKER (1), DARRON LEE (1), MICHAEL THOMAS (2), VONN BELL (2), ADOLPHUS WASHINGTON (3), BRAXTON MILLER (3), NICK VANNETT (3), JOSHUA PERRY (4), CARDALE JONES (4)

If Bosa is selected in the top two picks, he will be the highest draft pick from Ohio State since the then-St. Louis Rams selected Orlando Pace with the No. 1 overall pick in 1997. He has a chance to become the fifth Ohio State player ever to be selected in the top two picks of the draft; Dan Wilkinson (1994) and Tom Cousineau (1979) were also No. 1 overall picks, while Jim McDonald was the No. 2 overall pick in 1938.

Joey Bosa is the previously highest selected defensive end in Ohio State history, so Nick Bosa would break that record as well if he is drafted in the top two picks.

Where exactly Haskins will land in the first round is harder to pinpoint. The New York Giants (who hold the No. 6 and 17 picks), Denver Broncos (No. 10), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 11), Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and Washington Redskins (No. 15) are all among the teams that have shown interest in the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, but there’s no consensus among draft experts and NFL insiders on which team will ultimately make the move to draft him.

As long as one team makes the move to draft Haskins at any point on Thursday night, though, he will become the first Ohio State quarterback to be selected in the first round of the draft since Art Schlichter was the No. 4 overall pick in 1982, and the first quarterback from any Big Ten school to be drafted in the first round since Penn State’s Kerry Collins in 1995.

Bosa and Haskins are in line to be Ohio State’s 80th and 81st all-time first-round draft picks, which would tie USC – who is not projected to have any first-round picks this year – for the most first-round picks all-time among all schools.

It’s possible the Buckeyes could even surpass USC’s record this year. Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and wide receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin have each been occasionally projected as first-round picks in mock drafts, as well, though it appears more likely each of them will be selected in the second or third round on Friday.

Schools with Most All-Time First-Round NFL Draft Picks
Rank School Picks
1 USC 81
2 OHIO STATE 79
3 NOTRE DAME 67
4 MIAMI 65
5 ALABAMA 60
6 FLORIDA 52
7 TENNESSEE 45
7 MICHIGAN 45
9 TEXAS 44
9 OKLAHOMA 44
9 FLORIDA STATE 44

Either way, Ohio State appears to be well-positioned to have at least five players selected in the first three rounds for the fourth year in a row. Offensive lineman Michael Jordan, cornerback Kendall Sheffield and running back Mike Weber are also among the players projected to be selected in the middle rounds of the draft, so any of them could end up coming off the board on Day 2, as well.

At the least, all of those players should be selected at some point within the draft’s seven rounds. Add in offensive tackle Isaiah Prince and wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, and all 10 Buckeyes who were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine are projected as potential draft picks. Dixon appears to be the closest to the fringe of being drafted or going undrafted, but the Buckeyes should be safely in position to have at least eight or nine draft picks with the possibility of hitting double-digits.

Offensive linemen Demetrius Knox and Malcolm Pridgeon, linebacker Dante Booker and kicker Sean Nuernberger are also among those hoping to hear their names called this week, though most draft analysts do not project that they will be selected.

Every single one of the Buckeyes’ draft hopefuls would have to be selected for Ohio State to match its own record for players selected in a seven-round draft (14 in 2004), but while that’s not likely, the Buckeyes appear to be in great position to have seven or more players for the 12th time since 1995.

Ohio State's Drafts with Seven or More Picks in Seven-Round Draft Era
Year Total Picks Top Pick
2018 7 DENZEL WARD (No. 4, Cleveland Browns)
2017 7 MARSHON LATTIMORE (No. 11, New Orleans Saints)
2016 12 JOEY BOSA (No. 3, San Diego Chargers)
2009 7 MALCOLM JENKINS (No. 14, New Orleans Saints)
2007 8 TED GINN (No. 9, Miami Dolphins)
2006 9 A.J. HAWK (No. 5, Green Bay Packers)
2004 14 WILL SMITH (No. 18, New Orleans Saints)
2002 8 LECHARLES BENTLEY (No. 44, New Orleans Saints)
1999 8 DAVID BOSTON (No. 8, Arizona Cardinals)
1997 7 ORLANDO PACE (No. 1, St. Louis Rams)
1995 8 JOEY GALLOWAY (No. 8, Seattle Seahawks)

Additionally, Ohio State is in position to once again be among the schools with the most draft choices. The only two schools who sent more players to this year’s combine were the two schools you might expect – Alabama and Clemson – and that’s usually a good indicator of which teams will ultimately have the most players drafted.

Ohio State’s success in annually producing a multitude of draft picks has been a big recruiting tool for the program in recent years, and this week’s draft should prove to be yet another example of Ohio State recruiting and developing players that NFL teams covet after their careers as Buckeyes are over.

Eleven Warriors data analyst Matt Gutridge contributed research to this article. Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors all week for full coverage of the 2019 NFL draft and Ohio State’s draft prospects.

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