Since the 2000 NFL Draft, Ohio State leads all NCAA football programs by having 82 of their players drafted during the yearly seven round event. Of those 82 draft picks, 17 Buckeyes have been taken in the 1st round of the draft, which ranks only behind Miami and USC.
The most notable year for the Buckeyes over the past 13 drafts was back in 2004 when they had a draft-record 14 players chosen over the 255 selections. The group of Buckeyes selected in the 2004 draft was a big portion of the nucleus of the 2002 Ohio State that won the BCS title, so in looking back it shouldn't be all that surprising that so many Buckeyes were taken in 2004.
Not to be outdone, just a couple years later Ohio State set another record, when they had 5 players drafted in the 1st round in 2006. A.J. Hawk, Donte Whitner, Bobby Carpenter, Santonio Holmes, and Nick Mangold were all taken within the first 29 picks of the draft in 2006. While Ohio State has had 5 players drafted overall in the same draft 26 times, having 5 players taken in the 1st round alone is an accomplishment that will be awfully hard to match in the future.
While the draft accomplishments of the Buckeyes have been lengthy since 2000, there were many more in drafts prior to then that we shouldn't forget about.
Three times an Ohio State standout has been chosen with the number 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. The first was Tom Cousineau back in 1979 when he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. In 1994 Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson was chosen by the Cincinnati Bengals, while just a few years later Orlando Pace was chosen first overall by the St. Louis Rams.
In the 1995-1998 seasons Ohio State went 43-7 and won the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Their drafts during that time period magnified the type of talent that was coming to Columbus. Between the 1995 and 1999 draft, Ohio State had 11 players hear their name called in the first round, including standouts like Joey Galloway, Eddie George, Pace, and Antoine Winfield.
The Buckeyes trail only USC in the count of first round picks in NFL Draft history, with USC claiming 73 and Ohio State having 66 first round picks.
The first Buckeye to come off the board should be defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, but the question is whether he will hear his name called on Thursday or Friday. The second to last SB Nation 2013 NFL Mock Draft had Hankins being scooped up by the Colts with the 24th pick, while their final one (and most other mock drafts) has Big Hank sliding into the 2nd round. While this is a far cry from a few months ago when it was thought that Hankins might go in the top 10, it seems par for the course for what is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable NFL Drafts in history.
The next two players from Ohio State to come off the board should be defensive end John Simon and tight end turned offensive tackle Reid Fragel. A popular landing spot for Simon seems to be Pittsburgh, who has made a habit of bringing Buckeyes into the fold, drafting four Buckeyes in the last three drafts.
Fragel has been making some noise recently, and there is a possibility that we could hear his name called before Friday night's portion of the draft is over. In his only season on the offensive line at right tackle, Fragel still earned honorable mention accolades on the All-Big Ten team. With his already quick adjustment to the position, with a couple more years of tutelage Fragel could be a diamond in the rough for some team that is willing to take a chance on him.
Other Buckeyes that will be hoping to hear their named called this weekend are Jake Stoneburner, Zach Boren, Travis Howard, Garrett Goebel, Orhian Johnson, and Nathan Williams. Signs are pointing to the latter of those players having to catch on with a team via the undrafted free agent route, but it isn't out of the question for them to slide into the last round or two and hopefully make some team very happy someday.