Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 1, 2015

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


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, 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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