Cook free-falls, Hackenberg soars, Buckeyes roll and B1G DL highlight Day 2
While we waited on Connor Cook to get picked by no one, it felt like every B1G player but him flew off the board.
One after another, B1G players heard their names called. By night’s end, the B1G had 23 players picked through three rounds.
Nobody — not even the almighty SEC — matched that number.
That was in thanks in large part to Ohio State, which set a common-era draft record with a mind-boggling 10 players selected in the first three rounds. Amazingly enough, Joshua Perry and Cardale Jones weren’t part of that group.
Even more amazing, Michigan State — the team that beat Ohio State en route to a B1G Championship — only had two players picked in the first two days. But, as some have learned all too well already, this ain’t college.
Here were the B1G topics of note from an interesting second day in Chicago:
-Hackenberg soars with Jets, Cook free-falls into oblivion
If you would’ve told me that the Jets would take a quarterback in the second round, I would’ve assumed it was Cook. It seemed like an obvious fit. Maybe it was just the green and white similarities, but the Jets seemed like the team that could’ve waited until the second round to grab Cook.
Instead, Hackenberg was their guy.
Here’s a look at the moment Christian Hackenberg’s NFL dream came true. (Via @chackenberg1) pic.twitter.com/IuqbC3c8a1
— Onward State (@OnwardState) April 30, 2016
The other polarizing B1G quarterback was the first signal-caller off the board in the second round. They said they had private workouts with Hackenberg and his skill set appealed to the coaching staff. In other words, they love his talent and think that they can fix him.
It remains to be seen what the Jets will do with the Ryan Fitzpatrick situation, but conventional wisdom says that even if they don’t sign him, Hackenberg will sit at least one year. He needs to. Still, what a tremendous opportunity he has with those skill players. We don’t know what will happen with Hackenberg in the NFL, but the Jets believe they have their guy.
RELATED: Christian Hackenberg picked No. 51 overall by New York Jets
And while the Jets got their guy, Cook is apparently nobody’s guy. It was one of the more shocking falls in draft history considering Cook entered the draft process healthy without any pre-draft setbacks.
There HAS to be something we don’t know. Maybe interviews didn’t go as well as he said they did. Maybe scouts found more red flags about his background. Maybe somebody important didn’t give Cook the two thumbs up he needed to be drafted in the early rounds.
We don’t know. All we know is that a guy who won 34 games — including two B1G Championships and a Rose Bowl — in Michigan State’s pro-style offense is being passed over like he has a contagious disease.
How shocking was this? There was talk that Cook would be the first pick of the second round. It’s one thing that Hackenberg was picked ahead of him, but Jacoby Brissett and Cody Kessler, too? What did Cook do, mutter expletives under his breath in every team meeting?
I can’t accept the fact that not being voted a captain was the sole reason that a guy of Cook’s skill set and college pedigree would fall all the way to the third day.
But hey, if there was ever a reason for a guy to have Mark Dantonio’s patented chip-on-the-shoulder, Cook is it.
-More Buckeye domination
I know, you’re sick of seeing Buckeye after Buckeye picked in the draft. Someone even said it felt like an Ohio State infomercial in the late hours of Round 3. It basically was.
The Buckeyes’ three-round record of 10 players drafted is an incredible accomplishment. Want some perspective? The Big 12 only had nine players TOTAL in the first three rounds. That was after Ohio State tied the common-era record for most players selected in the first two rounds.
Everybody had their eyes on the Buckeyes’ first round, which ultimately fell short of 2004 Miami’s (FL) record of six players drafted. But that Miami team didn’t have another player selected until the seventh round. This Buckeye draft class could easily wind up being the deepest ever.
And look at the variety of positions OSU had selected in the first three rounds:
- Joey Bosa, DE
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB
- Eli Apple, CB
- Taylor Decker, OT
- Darron Lee, OLB
- Mike Thomas, WR
- Vonn Bell, S
- Adolphus Washington, DT
- Braxton Miller, WR
- Nick Vannett, TE
Every single level is represented. It isn’t just a bunch of skill players being picked.
The only question that remains is how many more records will they break? Obviously the one in sight is the 14 players selected in the entire draft. That’s certainly reachable with the likes of Jones, Perry, Jalin Marshall and Tyvis Powell still on the board.
Get ready for some more history.
-B1G defensive linemen dominate Day 2
It took awhile, but when it rained, it poured B1G defensive linemen. Penn State’s Austin Johnson was the first B1G player to come off the board on Day 2 at No. 43 to the Tennessee Titans. That started a Day-2 trend that fueled the B1G’s leading draft pick total.
- Austin Johnson, No. 42 (Titans)
- Jihad Ward, No. 44 (Raiders)
- Carl Nassib, No. 65 (Browns)
- Maliek Collins, No. 67 (Cowboys)
- Yannick Ngakoue, No. 69 (Jaguars)
- Shilique Calhoun, No. 75 (Raiders)
- Adolphus Washington, No. 80 (Bills)
- Vincent Valentine, No. 96 (Patriots)
A whopping eight B1G defensive linemen came off the board on Friday, two of which went to the same team (the Raiders got some versatile studs in Calhoun and Ward). Compare that to the SEC, which only had four defensive linemen drafted on Friday. The Big 12 and Pac 12 didn’t have any defensive linemen drafted on Friday.
So why was that the case? Well, there were some really good B1G defensive linemen this year. Players like Ward — a guy who was playing safety and wide receiver a couple years ago — and Ngakoue are considered projects with tremendous next-level potential.
There was no real surprise in that bunch with the exception of Valentine, who made what many thought was a questionable decision to forgo his final year of eligibility at Nebraska. And go figure, he wound up being picked in the same round as his running mate Collins, who followed Randy Gregory’s footsteps from Lincoln to Dallas.
RELATED: First round flirts with history but still ends up one of B1G’s best ever
If there was one B1G defensive lineman who I thought could work his way into the Day-2 discussion who didn’t, it was Willie Henry. In a draft where defensive tackles were flying off the board, I was expecting to see his name pop up before Valentine’s.
Oh, and one final thing. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after Nassib was drafted that he “had no idea what he was doing” at Penn State. Really? How does someone lead the nation in sacks without knowing what they’re doing? How does someone go from a walk-on to a Lombardi Award winner? That doesn’t happen unless the guy has a clue “what he’s doing.” I’d love to not know how to do something and still do it better than anybody in the country.
I understand that it’s Mayock’s job to break down a player’s weaknesses, but that was an uneducated, incorrect critique about a guy who dominated college football last year.
Mayock is better than that, and frankly, so is Nassib.