6 things to know about Ohio State’s potential draft picks

Ohio State will enter the NFL Draft on Thursday night with 68 first-round picks, two less than USC’s all-time record in the common era.

Though the Buckeyes could match the Trojans by the time the fourth pick is made, USC has multiple candidates to add to its own list, so that is something to watch from start to finish.

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Here are five more numbers to know about Ohio State and the 2020 NFL Draft:

1. The three positions with the most Ohio State players drafted in the common era should all add to their totals.

Although no linebackers were taken last year, no other position can match the 52 draftees that position has produced since 1967 (the common era).

The next group is receiver (43) followed by cornerback (33).

Malik Harrison is likely to add the list of linebackers, which grew by four from 2016-18 after only one was taken from 2012-15.

For the second year in a row and fifth time in six years, Ohio State could have two receivers drafted, but that’s not all. With K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Ben Victor all hopeful of hearing their names call this week, Ohio State could have three receivers taken in the same draft for the first time since 2007 (Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and Roy Hall).

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With Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette candidates, Ohio State is a lock to have a cornerback drafted for the seventh consecutive year. If both go, that would be the first time two Buckeye cornerbacks were taken in the same year since Malcolm Jenkins and Donald Washington in 2009.

2. The ‘Cornerback U’ claim should get stronger.

If Okudah and Arnette are drafted, every starting cornerback for the Buckeyes since 2013 will have that distinction, a string of nine in a row that already includes Bradley Roby, Doran Grant, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward and Kendall Sheffield.

Okudah is likely to be a top 10 pick, if not top five or even top three.

If he goes third, he will match Shawn Springs as the highest-drafted cornerback from Ohio State in the common era. (Only two other cornerbacks have been drafted that high — Bennie Blades of the University of Miami and Bruce Pickens of Nebraska.)

Okudah is expected to be the fifth Ohio State cornerback taken in the first round in the past five drafts, joining Ward, Conley, Lattimore and Eli Apple.

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According to the NFL, that has not been done before in the common era — except by Ohio State from 2014-18.

3. Chase Young set to join select company.

Ohio State’s All-American defensive end is a near lock to go the the Washington Redskins as the No. 2 pick. With Ward going No. 4 two years ago and Nick Boas taken second overall last year, that would mean OSU would become the first school in the common era to have a defensive player taken in the top five three years in a row.

He is looking to be the eighth Ohio State defensive end drafted in the first round in the common era, including the third in the past five years (Joey Bosa, 2016, and Nick Bosa, ’19).

4. Joe Burrow could join a select group.

The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to use the No. 1 overall pick on Burrow, a quarterback from Southeast Ohio who began his college career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU, where he won the Heisman Trophy last season.

He won’t count as an Ohio State draft choice, but he will join a relatively select group that has been growing recently: Players who started out with Ohio State, played somewhere else and were eventually drafted.

Until 2009, Hamilton High School grad Brandon Underwood was the only member of this group in recent memory, but since 2014 he has been joined by fellow cornerback Jamel Dean and defensive linemen Jonathan Newsome and Noah Spence.

Keandre Jones, a linebacker who transferred from Ohio State to Maryland last year, is also a candidate to be drafted this year.

5. The 2015 class has a chance to make Ohio State history.

Six players from the group that signed national letters of intent five years ago have already been drafted: Dean, Jerome Baker, Dre’Mont Jones, Isaiah Prince, Denzel Ward and Mike Weber.

Burrow is among another six or more who could hear their name called this year, meaning the class could match or break the record for most Ohio State players in one class (12) to be drafted in the past three decades.

That distinction currently belongs to the 2002 class that included Alter grad Nick Mangold, A.J. Hawk of Centerville and Quinn Pitcock of Piqua.

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