Ohio State made NFL draft history on multiple fronts Thursday night and it started right from the get-go. As had been projected, the Cincinnati Bengals took LSU quarterback, and Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow number one. That was followed by two more Buckeye selections as defensive end Chase Young was taken second by Washington and defensive back Jeff Okudah, third by Detroit. It marked the first time ever that former college teammates were taken with each of the first three picks in the same draft.
Burrow, from The Plains, Ohio, will become the Bengals franchise quarterback. He's expected to take over for Andy Dalton and should bring excitement to a Cincinnati fan base searching for new life. He also will get reacquainted with several of his former Ohio State teammates like Sam Hubbard, Billy Price and Vonn Bell.
For Young, his selection is a homecoming in more ways than one. He's an Upper Marlboro, Maryland native, which is just 20 miles away from Washington D.C. Like Burrow, Young will also reunite with Buckeye teammates. In fact the Redskins, the last two years, have gravitated to Ohio State prospects. Just one year ago, quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who also grew up near D.C, was Washington's first round selection with receiver Terry McLaurin going in round two.
The Buckeye trifecta at the top of the draft was completed when Detroit stayed with the pre-draft projections and took Okudah, who was rated as the clear number one defensive back available. The All-American, who had plenty of success playing in the state of Michigan, winning in Ann Arbor twice and East Lansing once in his college career, now will play for Michigan's professional team.
The selections of Young and Okudah were expected. What happened later in the first round was not. Most draft projections had Buckeye defensive back Damon Arnette listed as a second rounder. On Wednesday's Joel Riley show here on WTVN, we talked with former Buckeye coach and Fox analyst Urban Meyer, who did not agree.
"People say Damon Arnette is a 2nd round corner...He’s not a 2nd round corner," Meyer told us...and he was right. Arnette, who had a breakout year playing opposite Okudah in the Buckeye secondary, became the third Buckeye taken in the first round, when he was selected 19th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders.
The three first round picks this year helped Ohio State make more NFL draft history. The Buckeyes entered the night with 81 first round picks all time. That was tied with USC for the most for any program. The Trojans had one first rounder, in offensive lineman Austin Jackson who went No. 18 to Miami raising their total to 82, but with the selections of Young, Okudah and Arnette, the Buckeyes now stand alone on the all-time list with 84.
The draft rolls on with rounds two and three Friday night and rounds four through seven Saturday. Ohio State figures to continue to set the pace in producing draft picks. Since 2000, the Buckeyes have had 134 players selected in the draft--more than any other school. Alabama, which had four first round selections Thursday night, is second with 122.
Running back J.K. Dobbins is likely to be next Buckeye selected but others could go Friday as well. Linebacker Malik Harrison, defensive lineman Davon Hamilton, wide receiver K.J. Hill and offensive lineman Jonah Jackson also could be day two selections. Other Buckeyes hoping to hear their names called this weekend include safety Jordan Fuller, receivers Austin Mack and Ben Victor, defensive lineman Robert Landers and Jashon Cornell and offensive lineman Brandon Bowen. Friday night's draft coverage on ESPN and the NFL Network starts at 7:00 p.m with Saturday's festivities beginning at 12:00 p.m.