First round flirts with history, but still ends up as one of B1G's best ever
When Darron Lee went No. 20 overall, I was ready for it.
By “it,” I mean history. That was what was at stake in the final 11 picks. We were on the verge of it. History could’ve happened in a couple of different ways.
After five Buckeyes were off the board, we could’ve seen them tie Miami ’s (FL) record of six players selected in the first round. We could’ve seen Connor Cook get picked and end the B1G’s 20-year drought without a first-round quarterback. Maybe we could’ve seen Jason Spriggs become Indiana’s first first-round pick since 1994.
But none of that happened. Instead, it was an uneventful final third of the draft for the B1G.
The B1G still produced six first-round picks, all of whom were green-room invites. Nobody had to wait around like Laremy Tunsil — could he have had a worse night? — and every B1G player went in the top 20. For the first time since 1996, the B1G had four players selected in the top 10. That was as much as every other Power Five school combined.
So besides that, what were the B1G takeaways of the draft’s first round?
-That Buckeye draft was still darn impressive
While Ohio State fell short of Miami’s mark, Ohio State still made a little history. The Buckeyes had three players picked in the top 10 for the first time ever. No, Chris Berman. That wasn’t the first time that’s ever happened in the history of college football.
But still, it was quite the draft for the Buckeyes, who did become the first team since Miami (FL) to have five players selected in the top 20. Amazingly, four of those players were from the same 2013 recruiting class. Even though we expected them all to be picked in the first round, it was still one of the more incredible single-school draft accomplishments ever.
-Joey Bosa was indeed top-three worthy
I’ll admit that I was wrong. I thought the consensus was that Bosa would fall outside of the top five and that DeForest Buckner would be the San Diego Chargers’ selection at No. 3.
As it turned out, the Chargers were high on Bosa and they had him No. 1 on their board since September. Reports surfaced that Chargers CEO and president Dean Spanos talked with Urban Meyer for an hour on Wednesday night about Bosa. We already know that Meyer believes Bosa was one of his best defensive players ever. Obviously it worked because the Chargers grabbed Bosa at No. 3.
Some might’ve viewed that as a mistake for them not to take a left tackle and get some help for Melvin Gordon. But Bosa will be put in position to make an immediate impact, no matter what defensive scheme the Chargers employ in 2016.
-Zeke called his shot
Ezekiel Elliott told Adam Schefter on Wednesday night that he thought the Dallas Cowboys would pick him. He was right on the money.
No Buckeye running back had ever been drafted as high as No. 4. But more importantly, Elliott was drafted in a position to succeed.
Elliott has to be ecstatic to play on a team with an offensive line that made Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle look like stars last year. No skill player in the first round walked into a better situation than Elliott, who figures to move ahead of McFadden and the recently signed Alfred Morris in the pecking order. The Emmitt Smith comparisons will surround him as long as he’s in Dallas.
But Elliott’s never avoided the spotlight. Why would he start now?
-Jack Conklin made Spartan history
When the Tennessee Titans traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams, I thought Conklin was in mind. When they traded to No. 8, I knew Conklin was in mind.
Following the Tunsil fiasco, the Titans reportedly took him off their board. That meant Conklin was an obvious pick at No. 8.
That’s an amazing accomplishment for a former walk-on who didn’t have an FBS scholarship offer. It’s fitting that he was the first player of the Mark Dantonio era to be selected in the top 10. That also extended Michigan State’s streak of three straight years with a first-rounder.
Conklin will now team up with former Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and block for Marcus Mariota. That’s not a bad gig at all.
-The B1G quarterback drought continues
Despite all the reasons why the B1G should’ve ended its 20-year drought, I wasn’t optimistic that it would happen. But there were moments where I thought it would happen.
The New York Jets were a possible landing spot for Connor Cook at No. 20. Instead, they got a steal in Darron Lee and gave the Buckeyes their fifth first-round selection.
When the Denver Broncos traded up to No. 26, there was a chance that it would be to make sure they got Cook. Instead, they chose Paxton Lynch.
I thought it could happen at No. 28 when the San Francisco 49ers — a team that needed a quarterback and had reportedly solid meetings with Cook — traded into the back end of the first round. Instead, they went with Stanford guard Joshua Garnett.
There was even a brief moment in which it appeared the Cleveland Browns traded the Seattle Seahawks for the last pick of the first round. Instead, that was just false reporting. It was probably a good thing for Cook that the Browns didn’t reach into the first round to grab him.
But when the night was over, it was the same story. No B1G quarterbacks came off the board.
Who knows when that streak will come to an end?
-There’s plenty of Day 2 intrigue
As crazy as the first two hours of the draft went for the B1G, there are still some high-profile prospects available on Day 2. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks. Cook, Christian Hackenberg and Cardale Jones could all be selected in the next two rounds, though nobody has any idea when or where.
The Buckeyes are still going after their overall record of 14 players selected in the draft. Between Jones, Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, Braxton Miller, Joshua Perry and Adolphus Washington, it wouldn’t be surprising to see 11-plus Buckeyes off the board by night’s end.
Don’t forget that Michigan State will have a bunch of Day-2 picks. Cook, Shilique Calhoun, Aaron Burbridge and Jack Allen could all go off the board. Outside of Rutgers, every B1G East team could have multiple players picked in the next two rounds.
That would mean that the conference is well on its way to surpassing its record of 44 players selected in a single, seven-round draft.
And maybe, just maybe, the B1G will end the SEC’s run of nine straight years with the most players drafted. Stay tuned.