Tom Archdeacon: Decker looks to join area’s first-round NFL Draft club

Taylor Decker, the massive All-America offensive tackle out of Ohio State and Vandalia Butler High will continue a lofty Miami Valley tradition Thursday night should he, as everyone expects, be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

Over the years, 18 area players have been first-round picks.

The first was the late Bob Ferguson, the running back out of Troy High School, who was UPI’s College Football Player of the Year at Ohio State and was selected No. 2 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1962.

The last first-round picks from the Miami Valley were A.J. Hawk and Nick Mangold, both taken in 2005 and now still playing.

Hawk, the Centerville grad who is a Cincinnati Bengals linebacker, was taken by Green Bay with the draft’s fifth overall pick. Mangold, who prepped at Alter, was the No 29 pick by the New York Jets and has spent his entire career as the team’s starting center.

Dan Wilkinson, the defensive lineman from Dunbar and Ohio State, holds the distinction as the Miami Valley’s only No. 1 overall pick in the draft after the Cincinnati Bengals took him in 1994.

There have been five top-five picks from the area: Ferguson, Wilkinson and Hawk, as well as Chris Ward, the OSU tackle out of Patterson Co-Op, who was the No. 4 pick of the Jets in 1978 and running back Curtis Enis, who starred at Mississinawa High and Penn State before the Chicago Bears picked him No. 5 in 1998.

One future NFL Hall of Fame enshrinee will be Ben Roethlisberger, the Miami University quarterback who was the No. 11 pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004. Beginning his 13th season, he’s now No. 13 all time on the NFL career passing yards list (42,955 regular season only,) has accounted for 377 touchdowns passing and rushing (including playoffs) and has piloted his teams to two Super Bowl victories.

Several players spent their entire career with one team: Mangold, Roethlisberger, Enis, Roland James, the Greeneview and Tennessee defensive back who was the No 14 pick of New England and Piqua products Dave Gallagher (No. 29, Chicago, 1974) and Craig Clemons (No 12, Chicago, 1972.)

And then there was Marco Coleman, the standout defensive end from Patterson Co-Op and Georgia Tech, who was the No. 12 pick by the Miami in 1992 and later played for San Diego, Washington, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Denver.

And Coleman stands as one of at least two local first-rounders who has a Hollywood credit.

He had a cameo in the Jim Carrey movie “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” The late Doug France, the offensive lineman from Colonel White and Ohio State who was the No. 20 pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1975, had a small part in “North Dallas Forty.”

Here are a few more by-the-numbers facts on the first-round draft picks from the Miami Valley:

1 – NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Hugh Douglas, the Central State defensive end who was the No. 16 pick of the New York Jets in 1995, started just three games that season, but had 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries.

1 – NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: Roethlisberger, who passed for 3,028 yards and 20 touchdowns (regular season and two playoff games) in 2004 and added 188 yards rushing.

2 – First round picks taken out of St. Henry (Jim Lachey, No, 12 San Diego, 1985 and Jeff Hartings, No. 23 Detroit, 1996); Piqua (Gallagher and Clemons), Patterson Co-Op (Ward and Coleman) and Miami University (linebacker Bob Babich No 18, San Diego, 1968 and Roethlisberger.)

3 – Miami Valley players taken in the first round by the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets. (The Bears got Clemons, Gallagher and Enis) and the Jets (Ward, Douglas and Mangold)

5 – Times in his nine seasons with Green Bay that A.J. Hawk led the team in tackles.

6 – Dayton City League players taken in the first round (Leo Hayden, the Roosevelt High and Ohio State running back taken No, 24 by Minnesota in 1971; Keith Byars, the Roth High and OSU star running back who was the No. 10 pick of Philadelphia in 1986, as well as France, Ward, Coleman and Wilkinson.)

7 – Pro Bowls Nick Mangold has been selected to in his 10 previous NFL seasons.

8 – All-Pro (first team) seasons by Miami Valley players: Lachey and Mangold 3 each, Hartings and Douglas, one each.

14 – Years in the league by Marco Coleman, most by a Miami Valley player.

26 —Super Bowl XXVI: won by Jim Lachey, member of the celebrated offensive line, "The Hogs," that led Washington to a 37-24 victory over Buffalo in the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

40 – Super Bowl XL: won by Roethlisberger and iron-man center Jeff Hartings as Steelers topped Seattle, 21-10, at Ford Field, Detroit.

43 – Super Bowl XLIII won by Roethlisberger and Steelers, 27-23, over Arizona at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.

45 – Super Bowl XLV: won by A. J. Hawk and the Green Bay Packers who defeated Pittsburgh, 31-25, at Cowboy Stadium in Texas.

56 – Rushing and receiving touchdowns by Keith Byars in his 13-year career.

75 – Yards the Patriots' Roland James returned a punt for a touchdown against the Jets in 1980, the longest punt return for TD in NFL that season.

76 – Yards Chicago's Craig Clemons returned an interception for a touchdown against Green Bay in 1975.

84 – Sacks in Hugh Douglas's 10-year career.

156 – Games Nick Mangold has played – and started – in his NFL career.

160 – Starts Jeff Hartings had in his 162-game career.

219 – NFL games Marco Coleman played in his career, most of a Miami Valley player.

340 – Pounds weighed by 6-foot-4 Dan Wilkinson.

992 – Career tackles (including playoffs) by A. J. Hawk

9,298 – Career rushing and receiving yards (including playoffs) by Keith Byars.

47,007 – Passing yards (regular season and playoffs) in Ben Roethlisberger's career.

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