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Recap of first round of 2020 NFL Draft, what holes Young, Okudah, Arnette fill for their NFL teams

You’re welcome, NFL

Teradja Mitchell via Twitter (@teradja_)

The first round of the 2020 Ohio State football commercial NFL Draft is over and done with. Here are a few quick thoughts on the event so far:

  • Despite being in the comfort of his own home, and typically only having a sentence or two to say every ten minutes, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remained painfully awkward and corny. Watching him egg on the fans on the screen behind him became more and more painful with each pick. He also had around four months to learn how to pronounce Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s name, but decided not to, I guess?
  • The production of the broadcast went a lot more smoothly than I was expecting. Sure, there was a teleprompter mishap here and there and the entire show could literally be completed in 45 minutes but nonetheless, I’m pretty impressed with the directors/producers who are navigating this craziness.
  • Getting to peer into coaches’, GMs’, and players’ homes was one of my favorite parts of the entire broadcast. Not only does this satisfy my ever-present nosiness, but I loved watching these kids receive life-altering news from their parents’ living rooms.
  • Joe Burrow may have won the Heisman trophy and went No. 1 overall due to his performance at LSU, but he’s an Ohio boy through and through.
  • Ohio State is DBU. Not reading replies.
  • And if you want to be in the league, you commit to Ohio State. End of story.

That being said, three Buckeyes heard their names called on Thursday evening— Chase Young, Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette. Technically, four Buckeyes were selected if we include Joe Burrow. Okay fine, let’s entertain that for a minute.

With Joe Burrow, Chase Young and Jeff Okudah selected No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, they became the first three former teammates to ever get selected with the first three picks. All three were recruited by Urban Meyer.

“You know, Joe Burrow, the year he had and obviously LSU did an incredible job. And he did an incredible job of being developed and working hard and taking advantage of the situation that became available to him,” Meyer said of Burrow on Columbus’ 610 WTVN.

Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. But, because the official, technical, scientific NFL draft rulebook says LSU are the one’s who get to claim him as their draft pick, I guess I’ll digress.

So anywho, with Young at No. 2 and Okudah at No. 3, the Buckeyes have now had two players selected in the top-five of the NFL Draft three times, which is the most of any program in draft history. And adding Arnette to the mix at No. 19, Ohio State has now had 84 all-time first-round draft picks, which is also the most of any program in draft history.

Ohio State is NFLU. Not reading replies.

Let’s take a look at the Buckeyes we’re allowed to claim (per the rulebook) and what they’re bringing to their respective NFL teams.

Chase Young

Pick No. 2 — Washington Redskins

Original Photo: Jamie Sabau — Getty Images
Edit by Gene Ross

Chase Young was/is the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft, and so it was unsurprising when the Redskins took him No. 2 overall. The edge rusher put up a school-record and nation-leading 16.5 sacks in 2019, along with 21 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles and three pass breakups.

Let’s just cut to the chase— you know he’s dominant, I know he’s dominant, we all know the kid is dominant. You can read more about him in our scouting report here:

So now the question is, how will Washington use their new star defensive end? Especially considering they don’t have an obvious need for another defensive end, with four-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat, a 2019 first-round pick, at the position. In nine NFL seasons, Kerrigan has only missed four games.

According to John Keim of ESPN, what the Redskins need is a player who can be elite.

“The Redskins’ defense hasn’t finished in the top 10 in points or yards allowed since 2009. But they will switch to a 4-3 style under (head coach) Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. Their goal is to build a strong defense, and they have touted their front as the main building blocks. With Young, the Redskins now have five first-round picks along the front. One of them, Kerrigan, could end up as a reserve with Sweat and Young starting.”

Redskins head coach Ron Rivera told Keim that Young completes the “dynamic group.”

“Chase is one of the big pieces you need, a dynamic outside edge guy. Coupled with another young dynamic guy [Sweat] and the tackles, that creates a push so the quarterback can’t step up. It’s not just about the one guy, it’s about putting the final piece in place.”

And Young is about as good of a final piece as you can get. Last season, the Redskins ranked 21st in sacks per pass attempt on third down and ranked last overall on third down. If I was a betting man, I’d put $1,000 on those numbers improving next season.

Jeff Okudah

Pick No. 3— Detroit Lions

Original Photo: Jay LaPrete — AP Press
Edit by Gene Ross

The consensus top cornerback in the NFL Draft, Okudah racked up three interceptions, 34 total tackles, nine pass breakups and a forced fumble in his last season at Ohio State. If these numbers seem low, it’s because quarterbacks were too scared to throw his way.

Again, for more about his abilities and what he brings to the table, read the following:

As for what he brings to Detroit, specifically? A replacement for the Lions’ former star cornerback, Darius Slay, who they traded to Philadelphia.

Although they signed CB Desmond Trufant in free agency, and “feel good about the long-term prospects of Amani Oruwariye,” ESPN Lions reporter Michael Rothstein wrote, “Okudah has the potential to be a shutdown corner sooner than later.”

“He can be a man-press corner, which fits coach Matt Patricia’s defense. Okudah also has good speed (4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, 12th among all corners) and closing ability to stay with almost any receiver. He’s as ready to play right away as any corner in the draft, and at a position where rookies usually struggle.”

Okudah will likely start right off the bat, opposite Trufant. However, it will still be an adjustment for the rookie, Rothstein added.

“Without offseason workouts against wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., it could be a situation in which Okudah will be learning on the fly throughout portions of the season. Considering the receivers he might be asked to cover (Davante Adams in Green Bay and Adam Thielen in Minnesota) and the quarterbacks he probably will face (Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Drew Brees are all on the schedule), he could have some rough moments as he figures out the pro game.

He’ll figure it out, Rothstein. Also, if you do nothing else today, this is a must-watch.

There’s something in my eye.

Damon Arnette

Pick No. 19— Las Vegas Raiders

Original Photo: Joe Robbins — Getty Images
Edit by Gene Ross

Not that I was shocked Arnette went relatively high in the first, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t gasp when I heard his name called. The cornerback opposite Okudah finished his Ohio State career with one interception in 2019, which he took 96 yards to the house, along with eight pass breakups, a forced fumble and 35 total tackles.

As you may or may not be aware, Arnette was considering declaring for the draft after the 2018 season, until Buckeye legend Cris Carter convinced him otherwise. He decided to return for his senior season to hopefully improve his draft stock— and improve his draft stock, he did.

You know the drill:

“A need.”

According to ESPN Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez, Arnette simply fills a need, due to the fact that the Raiders and fellow former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple couldn’t agree on their free-agent deal. And thus, the Raiders need someone to line up with last year’s second-rounder, Trayvon Mullen.

And at risk of making you think that the Raiders reached when they drafted Arnette, that’s simply not the case. Here’s what Raiders general manager Mike Mayock had to say about Arnette during a post-draft conference call:

“What distinguishes him is, No. 1 he can run. No. 2, he’s tough as nails, and when you talk about competitors, he played most of the season with a cast on his arm. He can play outside, he can play inside, he can play left, he can play right. We feel like this is one of the most competitive football players in the entire draft. So, to answer your question, we don’t feel, at all, like this is a reach.”

I, for one, believe Arnette is on the cusp of reaching his full potential, and that the Raiders made a hell of a choice in grabbing him before someone else does.

Be sure to catch rounds two and three of the draft at 7 p.m. ET tonight. Or, if your bedtime is 8 p.m. like mine is, you can check everything you missed in our Ohio State 2020 NFL Draft tracker.