For the second time in three years, an Ohio State cornerback is one of the first players off the board in the NFL draft.
The Detroit Lions selected Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday night's first round of the NFL draft, marking the second time in three years an Ohio State cornerback has been drafted within the top five picks.
Okudah becomes the sixth Ohio State cornerback in the last seven years to be selected in the first round, joining Denzel Ward (No. 4 overall in 2018), Marshon Lattimore (11th, 2017), Gareon Conley (24th, 2017), Eli Apple (10th, 2016) and Bradley Roby (31st, 2014).
He becomes Ohio State's sixth top-five overall pick since 2016, joining this year's No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, 2019 No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa, Ward in 2018 and Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott, the third and fourth picks in 2016.
Okudah's the first defensive back to be selected in the top three picks of an NFL draft since former Ohio State cornerback Shawn Springs was the No. 3 overall pick in 1997, which also ties him for the highest selection for an Ohio State cornerback in the modern draft era.
With Okudah joining Young in the top five picks, Ohio State becomes the first school ever to have two players selected in the top five of three separate drafts. It's the second time Ohio State has had two of the top three picks in the draft, as Orlando Pace went No. 1 before Springs in 1997.
|No. 1||1979||TOM COUSINEAU||BUFFALO BILLS|
|No. 1||1994||DAN WILKINSON||CINCINNATI BENGALS|
|No. 1||1997||ORLANDO PACE||ST. LOUIS RAMS|
|No. 2||1938||JIM MCDONALD||PHILADELPHIA EAGLES|
|No. 2||2019||NICK BOSA||SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS|
|No. 2||2020||CHASE YOUNG||WASHINGTON REDSKINS|
|No. 3||1956||HOPALONG CASSADY||DETROIT LIONS|
|No. 3||1974||JOHN HICKS||NEW YORK GIANTS|
|No. 3||1997||SHAWN SPRINGS||SEATTLE SEAHAWKS|
|No. 3||2016||JOEY BOSA||SAN DIEGO CHARGERS|
|No. 3||2020||JEFF OKUDAH||DETROIT LIONS|
Okudah becomes Ohio State's 83rd all-time first-round pick, extending the Buckeyes' lead to two over USC for the most first-round NFL draft picks ever.
He's the first Buckeye drafted by the Lions since 2016, when they used their first-round pick on Taylor Decker, who Okudah will now join in Detroit.
Okudah should be in line for an immediate starting job for the Lions, who traded their No. 1 cornerback from last season, Darius Slay, to the Philadelphia Eagles in March. He'll join Desmond Trufant, who the Lions signed in free agency, as one of two new likely starters in Detroit at the cornerback position.
The first cornerback selected this year, Okudah's high draft selection comes after a 2019 season at Ohio State in which he was earned unanimous first-team All-American honors as the most dominant cornerback in college football.
Now, the former five-star recruit from Texas will look to continue his rise to stardom by following in the footsteps of Ward, Lattimore and many other former Buckeyes to become Ohio State's next star cornerback in the NFL.