The Ohio State Buckeyes shined as usual in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday.
Three Buckeyes — Chase Young, Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette — heard their name called from Commissioner Roger Goodell’s basement as the draft was conducted remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, and an Ohio State graduate, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 1 pick.
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In the past five years alone, 15 Buckeyes have been selected in the first round. Former Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas, a second-round pick who led the NFL in receiving yards last season in his fourth season with the New Orleans Saints, summed up what everyone from Ohio State was thinking.
“Ohio State is a POWERHOUSE,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “If you have the opportunity and think you have what it takes, go there. They have the formula year after year. Take notes, recruits. Then watch how it translates to the next level — but only if you have what it takes cause it might not go as planned at first!”
Here’s are five things to know about Thursday’s first round:
1. All-time leader: Ohio State entered the draft with 81 first-round picks, tying it with USC for most in college football history. It now leads the way with 84.
“It’s been a wonderful night,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “It’s one of those nights where you see dreams come true for families and young men.”
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The Washington Redskins drafted the junior defensive end Young with the No. 2 pick. Okudah, a junior cornerback, went to the Detroit Lions with the No. 3 selection. The Las Vegas Raiders drafted Arnette, a fifth-year senior cornerback with the 19th pick.
2. Second again: This was the second year in a row an Ohio State defensive end has been taken with the second pick. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Nick Bosa at that spot last season.
“I’ve dreamed of going to the NFL since I was about 6 years old,” Young told reporters on a conference call Thursday night. “Like they say, you put the blood, sweat and tears into it. I believe I’ve done that all my life. It feels good to be in this moment.”
3. Defensive Back University: Okudah and Arnette were the 30th and 31st Ohio State defensive backs drafted since 2000. No other school has had more than 24 drafed in that span. Every Ohio State starting cornerback since 2013 has been drafted.
4. Columbus connections: Okudah joins another first-round pick from Ohio State, Vandalia Butler graduate Taylor Decker, who’s entering his fifth season on the offensive line, on the Lions roster.
“It feels great,” Okudah said. “I feel blessed beyond belief. Being in the NFL has always been a lifelong dream, so now that I’m here, I’m just really excited to get to work.
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By picking Young, the Redskins drafted a Buckeye in the first round for the second straight year. They picked quarterback Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 in 2019. Young joins a roster that also includes former Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin, a third-round pick last year, and former tight end Marcus Baugh, who signed in March.
Two former Buckeyes will be on the roster in Las Vegas with Arnette: defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who’s entering his eighth season, and running back Rod Smith, a six-year veteran.
5. Strong choice: Arnette’s decision to return for a fifth year paid off. He graduated from Ohio State in 2019. He started 38 games the last three seasons.
“I chose to go back to school to rewrite my legacy at Ohio State,” Arnette told reporters on a conference call Thursday night. “I feel like I wasn’t the best player I could be on or off the field. I decided to come back and regather myself and start over.”
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