Despite not including any actual play on the gridiron, the NFL Draft is one of the most exciting weekends in football. Fans of NFL teams watch eagerly to find out who will be the next stars of their franchise. However, the Draft is plenty exciting for fans of college football as well. College football fans across the country watch to see how their team shows out in NFL Draft. This past weekend, the Big Ten had a solid number of athletes find their way onto professional rosters.
The Buckeyes led the way for the Big Ten with seven players drafted. Denzel Ward was the first Ohio State player to be drafted, as he went fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns. Cincinnati also took a Buckeye in the first round with center Billy Price. Tyquan Lewis joined Malik Hooker in Indianapolis, and Jerome Baker went to the Dolphins. The Bengals revisited the scarlet and gray by taking Sam Hubbard 77th overall. Jalyn Holmes was drafted 102nd by the Vikings, and Jamarco Jones found his way to Seattle.
Ohio State currently has nine commits with the majority of them being 4-star players. They have had three commits since the draft.
Just behind the Big Ten team from Columbus were the Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State had six players drafted this weekend. First was Saquon Barkley, the star running back who is now heading to Eli Manning‘s backfield. Mike Gesicki was taken early in the second round by the Dolphins, and safety Troy Apke will join the Redskins. Four picks later was DaeSean Hamilton, and Marcus Allen is heading to Pittsburgh. Finally, corner Chris Campbell was taken 182nd by the Arizona Cardinals.
Penn State only has three commits right now, but having a player go second overall in the draft will be a huge boost to recruiting. Penn State has finished second last year in our recruiting rankings and should finish well this year, even with a slow start.
With five picks in the NFL draft were the Big Ten West champion Wisconsin Badgers. The first Badger taken was corner Nick Nelson at 110th by Oakland. Troy Fumagalli was taken 156th by the Broncos, and Natrell Jamerson came at pick number 164. Jack Cichy was drafted by Tampa and Leon Jacobs rounded it out at 230.
Wisconsin is sitting just behind Ohio State with eight total commits, although most of them are 3-star players. A solid draft class after a solid season should give the Badgers a solid kickstart in the recruiting process.
The Hawkeyes had three players drafted last weekend to place fourth on the list of Big Ten draft picks. James Daniels was the first Iowa man drafted, being taken in the second round by Chicago. Star corner Josh Jackson was taken six picks later by Green Bay, and Josey Jewell was drafted 106th by Denver.
Iowa is sitting at six commits so far. They’ll need to do better than they did last year if they want to climb back up to the top of the Big Ten.
Rounding out the list
Four Big Ten teams had two players taken: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Rutgers. The first of this group drafted was Maryland wide receiver DJ Moore. Moore was taken at 24th by Carolina. Then, four more teams had a single player drafted: Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. The highest of these was Michigan State’s Brian Allen by the Los Angeles Rams.
Especially for teams with high numbers of draft picks like Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin, the NFL Draft can serve as a serious recruiting tool. It works, too. Three of the top five recruiting classes in the Big Ten are teams which had three or more players taken during the draft.
Since the draft started on Mar. 26, there have been eight commits to Big Ten schools with three of them going to the draft powerhouse Ohio State. Teams will undoubtedly use their recent draft picks as recruiting tools for the 2019 recruiting season and beyond.
At the end of the day, the goal of a large number of recruits is to get a chance at the NFL. When numbers like these are popping up for these schools, they start to jump to the top of the list for recruits.