Headline says it all; several former Big Ten players had their dreams come true last night, many more will experience the same thing today but with a four-year initial contract term instead of five.
Pick 1:2 - Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson (Detroit Lions)
Sweet, merciful heavens, I no longer have to listen to the pros and cons of this selection being made on Detroit sports radio anymore. In a draft lacking anything resembling a franchise QB, and with a very good offensive line in place already, it was a foregone conclusion the Lions would take a defensive lineman. After the Jags went ahead and Jags’d all over themselves with a big ol’ reach for Georgia DL Travon Walker, the beloved local boy and Wolverine hero fell into the Lions’ collective lap. He’ll probably be perfectly good as a pro, but picking at #2, I think you want somebody with a higher ceiling than “Kyle Vanden Bosch, but with good hair”.
Pick 1:10 - Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson (New York Jets)
This offseason has seen greater value than ever before being placed on wide receivers, with a number of star pass catchers forcing their way off of teams that wouldn’t pay them what they wanted. After trying and failing to get in on a number of those sweepstakes for guys like Tyreek Hill and Deebo Samuel, the Jets spent their second top-ten pick on Wilson, who’s seemed destined for a first round slot since arriving in Columbus. The Jets’ offense has been terrible forever, but with Elijah Moore’s quasi-breakout last year, Wilson doesn’t have to play the part of a true #1 immediately, and can instead focus on producing Wilson-2-Wilson, a webseries we presume he’s scripting out with his new QB.
Pick 1:11 - Ohio State WR Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints)
I don’t follow the NFL closely enough to know all the possible explanations for this, but the Saints’ offseason moves puzzle a bit. They re-signed QB Jameis Winston, who was actually quite good before a season-ending injury last year, but spent some resources to move up in the draft anyway, but not high enough for any of the truly premium offensive or defensive linemen, so here they are taking Olave. Depending on what happens with their other Buckeye receiver, Michael Thomas, Olave could be in for a prominent role as a rookie, as there’s nobody else in that room who’s anything more than Just A Guy.
Pick 1:16 - Penn State WR Jahan Dotson (Washington Commanders)
Still such a stupid team name when Redtails was right there. On the one hand, this is a higher draft position than I think I saw anywhere for Dotson, so good for him; on the other, it’s the most dysfunctional organization in the NFL, and his new quarterback has been defenestrated from two teams in barely over a year. He should have some space and time to adjust, as former Buckeyes Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel are on the team as more-proven options.
Pick 1:25 - Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum (Baltimore Ravens)
We’re fighting the urge to cliche, but it’s just really difficult not to spout them in the NFL Draft context, and there’s no better way to phrase this than a hand-meets-glove, great...hoarrgh...value pick. Plenty of mocks had the Ravens taking Linderbaum at #14, so that they were able to get him at 25 instead is yet another example of that team’s savvy drafting. Our totally uninformed opinion is you can probably pencil him in for a solid 10-year run making the line calls in the black and purple.
Pick 1:30 - Purdue DE George Karlaftis (Kansas City Chiefs)
This offseason has been an interesting pivot point for the Chiefs, who have the unicorn in Patrick Mahomes but have watched their conference and in particular their division get a lot tougher as teams decide not to just watch them dominate for a decade. Ergo, they converted speed demon Tyreek Hill into a boatload of picks, and spent their own first rounder on the one part of their defense they make a serious effort on by adding Karlaftis to their pass rush entourage. With Chris Jones and Frank Clark commanding major attention, Karlaftis could make a real splash as a rookie.
Pick 1:31 - Michigan DB Daxton Hill (Cincinnati Bengals)
We say “defensive back” here because it’s not entirely clear how the Bengals will deploy Hill, who played a number of roles at Michigan but seemed to be at his best in a sort of nickel hybrid role working in the slot. Expect him to be a day 1 starter, as he has the athletic ability to keep pace with anyone you want to have him cover and he holds up OK in the run game as well.
Guys You May/Ought To See Drafted Tonight
- Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III
- Purdue WR David Bell
- Michigan DE David Ojabo
- Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie
- Minnesota DE/LB Boye Mafe
- Penn State S Jaquan Brisker
- Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
- Wisconsin LB Leo Chenal
- Nebraska OL Cam Jurgens
- Nebraska CB Cam Taylor-Britt
- Illinois S Kerby Joseph
- Maryland S Nick Cross
- Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert
- Minnesota OT Daniel Faalele