NFL Draft: A look at Big Ten first-round picks since 2005

The Big Ten had three first-round picks last night to kick off the 2015 NFL Draft. That brings the Big Ten school’s total first-round picks to 57 in the last 11 drafts. Ohio State leads the way with 13 first-round picks, almost twice as many as No. 2 school Wisconsin which has had seven.

On Thursday, Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff went No. 5 to the Redskins, Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes went No. 11 to the Vikings and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon went No. 15 to the Chargers.

It is a bit of a surprise to see Illinois No. 4 with five first-round selections. Credit Ron Zook. And it’s also revealing to see Michigan State with just two first-round picks since 2005—with each coming in the last two drafts.

The highest Big Ten player drafted since 2005? Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, who went No. 1 overall in 2008 to the Dolphins. Other top-five picks since 2005 have been Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas No. 3 to the Browns in 2007; Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh No. 2 to the Lions in 2010; Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards No. 3 to the Browns in 2005; Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk No. 5 to the Packers in 2006; Scherff; Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown No. 5 to the Cardinals in 2007.

Here is a look at how each Big Ten school has fared in the first round since 2005. Remember: Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers joined the Big Ten after 2005. I’m familiar with the debate – we’ve had it many times, and it’s a good one. But we include those three schools in these kinds of compilations because they are now Big Ten programs and we respect their history, too.

Ohio State: 13

  • First-rounders: 1 LB A.J. Hawk, Packers, 2006; S Donte Whitner, Bills, 2006; LB Bobby Carpenter, Cowboys, 2006; WR Santonio Holmes, Steelers, 2006; C Nick Mangold, Jets, 2006; WR Ted Ginn, Jr., Dolphins, 2007; WR Anthony Gonzalez, Colts, 2007; LB Vernon Gholston, Jets, 2008; CB Malcolm Jenkins, Saints, 2009; RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals, 2009; DE Cameron Hayward, Steelers, 2011; LB Ryan Shazier, Steelers, 2014; CB Bradley Roby, Broncos, 2014
  • Highest pick: No. 5 overall, LB A.J. Hawk, 2006/Packers

Wisconsin: 7

  • First-rounders: DE Erasmus James, Vikings, 2005; OT Joe Thomas, Browns, 2007; DE J.J. Watt, Texans, 2011; OT Gabe Carimi, Bears, 2011; G Kevin Zeitler, Bengals, 2012; C Travis Frederick Cowboys, 2013; RB Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 2015
  • Highest pick: No. 3 overall, OT Joe Thomas, 2007/Browns

Michigan: 6

  • First-rounders: WR Braylon Edwards, Browns, 2005; DB Marlin Jackson, Colts, 2005; CB Leon Hall, Bengals, 2007; OT Jake Long, Dolphins, 2008; DE Brandon Graham, Eagles, 2010; OT Taylor Lewan, Titans, 2014
  • Highest pick: No. 1 overall, OT Jake Long, 2008/Dolphins

Illinois: 5

  • First-rounders: RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers, 2008; DB Vontae Davis, Dolphins, 2009; DT Corey Liuget, Chargers, 2011; LB Whitney Mercilus, Texans, 2012; WR A.J. Jenkins, 49ers, 2012
  • Highest pick: No. 18 overall, DT Corey Liuget, 2011/Chargers

Iowa: 5

  • First-rounders: LB Chad Greenway, Vikings, 2006; OT Bryan Bulaga, Packers, 2010; DE Adrian Clayborn, Buccaneers, 2011; OT Riley Reiff, Lions, 2012; OT Brandon Scherff, Redskins, 2015
  • Highest pick: No. 5 overall, OT Brandon Scherff, 2015/Redskins

Nebraska: 4

  • First-rounders: CB Fabian Washington, Raiders, 2005; NT Adam Carriker, Rams, 2007; DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions, 2010); CB Prince Amukamara, Giants, 2011
  • Highest pick: No. 2 overall, DT Ndamukong Suh, 2010/Lions

Penn State: 4

  • First-rounders: DE Tamba Hali, Chiefs, 2006; OT Levi Brown, Cardinals, 2007; DE Aaron Maybin, Bills, 2009; DE Jared Odrick, Dolphins, 2010
  • Highest pick: No. 5 overall, OT Levi Brown, 2007/Cardinals

Maryland: 3

  • First-rounders: LB Shawne Merriman, Chargers, 2005; TE Vernon Davis, 49ers, 2006; WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders, 2009
  • Highest pick: No. 6 overall, TE Vernon Davis, 2006/49ers

Purdue: 3

  • First-rounders: LB Anthony Spencer, Cowboys, 2007; TE Dustin Keller, Jets, 2008; LB Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins, 2011
  • Highest pick: No. 16 overall, LB Ryan Kerrigan, 2011/Redskins

Rutgers: 3

  • First-rounders: WR Kenny Britt, Titans, 2009; OT Anthony Davis, 49ers, 2010; CB Devin McCourty, Patriots, 2010
  • Highest pick: No. 11 overall, OT Anthony Davis, 2010/49ers

Michigan State: 2

  • First-rounders: CB Darqueze Dennard, Bengals, 2014; CB Trae Waynes, Vikings, 2015
  • Highest pick: No. 11 overall, CB Trae Waynes, 2015/Vikings

Minnesota: 1

  • First-rounders: RB Laurence Maroney, Patriots, 2006
  • Highest pick: No. 21 overall, RB Laurence Maroney, 2006/Patriots

Northwestern: 1

  • First-rounders: DT Luis Castillo, Chargers, 2005
  • Highest pick: No. 28 overall, DT Luis Castillo, 2005/Chargers

Indiana: No first round selections since 205

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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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Former Big Ten Fan on 5/1/2015 @ 4:47pm EDT Said:

Too funny. Ohio State has had twice as many players as Wisconsin but half of them are busts or close to busts.