The Chicago Cardinals selected Ohio State center Gomer Jones with the 15th pick (sixth pick of the second round) in the 1936 NFL Draft. Jones, the Buckeyes’ first-ever pick in the first-ever NFL Draft, launched Ohio State’s run of 62 consecutive years with at least one draft pick.
That run ended in 1998 when, for the first time ever, zero Oho State players were drafted. Not one of the 241 selections in the 1998 NFL Draft came from Ohio State. After the Broncos’ 30th pick concluded the 1998 first round, Ohio State had 47 all-time first-round picks, 11 behind the all-time leader, USC. Twenty-two years later, after their first-ever draft shutout, Ohio State caught USC and sits atop the NFL Draft world thanks to another wave of first-round Buckeyes.
Entering the 2020 draft, Ohio State and USC were tied for the most-ever first-round picks: 81. The tie was broken when the Washington Redskins selected Chase Young with the second pick, and the lead was extended minutes later with the Detroit Lions’ selection of Jeffrey Okudah. USC narrowed the margin with Austin Jackson’s selection at No. 18, though Damon Arnette promptly extended it again with his 19th-overall selection.
Young, Okudah, and Arnette became Ohio State’s 13th, 14th, and 15th first-round picks over the last five years, the most of any college football team over that time. USC’s first-round picks from 2016-20: Three.
“A lot of pride,” Ohio State Day said head coach Ryan Day said when asked about their three first-round picks. “There’s so much that goes into a night like this. It starts off in the recruiting process, going into families’ living rooms and talking to them about our program. This is the dream.”
The dream won’t die anytime soon, nor will Ohio State’s first-round dominance. Cornerback Shaun Wade and quarterback Justin Fields are among the Buckeyes’ potential first-round picks for 2021.