Six Big Ten players drafted Friday night

The second and third rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft were more kind to the Big Ten than the first round when only Wisconsin center Travis Frederick was chosen No. 31 overall by the Dallas Cowboys. On Friday night, six Big Ten players were picked – and there are plenty of good players left for Saturday’s final day of the draft.

Here’s how it went.

ROUND 2 – OVERALL PLAYER, SCHOOL, POSITION NFL TEAM
44 Kawann Short, DT, Purdue Carolina Panthers
48 Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State Pittsburgh Steelers
49 Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State New York Giants
58 Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin Denver Broncos
ROUND 3 PLAYER, SCHOOL, POSITION NFL TEAM
86 Hugh Thornton, G, Illinois Indianapolis Colts
87 Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State Seattle Seahawks

Short was the first Big Ten player off the board tonight, the first of four Big Ten players selected in the second round. Short’s selection marks the 16th consecutive year at least one Purdue player has been chosen in the pro draft. He is the ninth defensive lineman from Purdue drafted in the last 10 years and the third defensive tackle in the past five years.

Bell, who came out early, was next to go. He becomes the highest-drafted offensive player from Michigan State since wide receiver Devin Thomas was selected in the second round (No. 34 overall) by the Redskins in 2008. Michigan State has had at least one player chosen every year since the inception of the common NFL Draft in 1967.

Hankins was picked next, making it three Big Ten players selected in a six-pick window. Ball followed soon after, closing the league’s second-round picks.

Bell and Ball went were most felt—but maybe a bit high. Ball considered coming out after last season. Did he improve his draft stock? It seems debatable.

It also was a bit of a surprise to see Bell go before Hankins, who early in the process was projected by some to be a late first-round pick.

The biggest surprises were seeing Thornton and Hill go in the third round—the Big Ten’s lone third-round selections. Most draft analysts felt each would be selected on Saturday in the sixth or seventh rounds.

Who will be the first few Big Ten picks on Saturday? I say they will be Ohio State defensive end John Simon; Michigan State defensive end William Gholston; Illinois defensive tackle Akeem Spence; Ohio State offensive tackle Reid Fragel; Michigan State tight end Dion Sims; Illinois defensive end Michael Buchanan; Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges.

Here’s a look at the top Big Ten players (alphabetical) remaining on the board, as rounds fourth through seventh will take place Saturday beginning at noon ET.

  • Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State
  • Brian Arnfelt, DE, Northwestern
  • Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
  • Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
  • Will Campbell, DT, Michigan
  • Will Compton, LB, Nebraska
  • Marcus Cromartie, CB, Wisconsin
  • Glenn Foster, DT, Illinois
  • Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State
  • Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois
  • Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
  • Tyler Hoover, DE, Michigan State
  • Travis Howard, CB, Ohio State
  • Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa
  • William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
  • Josh Johnson, CB, Purdue
  • Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska
  • Eric Martin, DE, Nebraska
  • Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
  • Stephon Morris, CB, Penn State
  • Graham Pocic, C, Illinois
  • Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
  • Craig Roh, DE, Michigan
  • Etienne Sabino, LB, Ohio State
  • John Simon, DE, Ohio State
  • Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
  • Devin Smith, CB, Wisconsin
  • Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois
  • Daimion Stafford, S, Nebraska
  • Matt Stankiewitch, CB, Penn State
  • Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska
  • Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State
  • Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
  • Anthony Rashad White, DT, Michigan State
  • Nathan Williams, DE, Ohio State

***

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Doug on 4/26/2013 @ 11:06pm EST Said:

Poor Tom and Mark, your boy Denard didn’t get drafted yet….