Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 5, 2015

The Big Ten saw 35 players selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, highlighted by three first-round selections in Iowa?s Brandon Scherff (No. 5), Michigan State?s Trae Waynes (No. 11) and Wisconsin?s Melvin Gordon (No. 15).

[ MORE: Get all of our 2015 NFL Draft coverage ]

It will take some time, perhaps a couple of years, to know how all of the draft picks pan out.

For fun, I decided to take a look back at the previous 10 drafts and select a best and worst pick for each Big Ten team, including Maryland and Rutgers, which saw Stefon Diggs and Tyler Kroft, respectively, become their first draft picks as members of the conference.

Here is my take at the best and worst pick from each school since 2005.

Best pick:
CB Vontae Davis, 1st, Dolphins, 2009. A 2014 Pro Bowler, Davis has picked off 17 passes, recorded 69 passes defended and totaled 287 tackles in six seasons.
Worst pick: WR Arrelious Benn, 2nd, Buccaneers, 2010. Benn, who has missed the last two years, caught 59 passes for 862 yards and five TDs in three seasons for Tampa Bay.

Best pick:
CB Tracy Porter, 2nd, Saints, 2008. You remember Super Bowl XLIV, right? It was Porter's interception of Peyton Manning and 74-yard return that sealed New Orleans' first and only Super Bowl.
Worst pick: WR James Hardy, 2nd, Bills, 2008. Hardy, in four NFL seasons, amassed just 10 receptions, 96 yards and two touchdowns.

Best pick:
LB Chad Greenway, 1st, Vikings, 2006. A tackling machine with 992 tackles to his name, in addition to 15.5 sacks and nine interceptions, Greenway is a two-time Pro Bowler and a 2012 second-team All-Pro.
Worst pick: SS Amari Spievey, 3rd, Lions, 2010. Spievey had a couple nice years in his first two seasons, totaling 99 tackles and five interceptions, but he hasn't done anything since.

Best pick:
LB Shawne Merriman, 1st, Chargers, 2005. A three-time Pro Bowler and NFL All-Pro and the AP's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Merriman notched 45.5 sacks, including an NFL-best 17 in 2006.
Worst pick: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, 1st, Raiders, 2009. Bay has averaged 28 receptions, 402 yards and two touchdowns in six seasons for three teams.

Best pick:
LB LaMarr Woodley, 2nd, Steelers, 2007. Woodley, a 2009 Pro Bowler and XLIII Super Bowl champion, has totaled 57 sacks, five interceptions and nine forced fumbles in eight seasons.
Worst pick: LB Jonas Mouton, 2nd, Chargers, 2005. Injuries and ineffectiveness limited Mouton to three games and one tackle in his career.

Best pick:
RB Le?Veon Bell, 2nd, Steelers, 2013. Bell exploded in 2014, totaling 2,215 yards and 11 touchdowns, on his way to being a Pro Bowler, first-team All-Pro and AFC Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Worst pick: WR Devin Thomas, 2nd, Redskins, 2008. In six seasons, Thomas totaled 43 receptions, 482 yards and three touchdowns, almost all of which came in 2009.

Best pick:
RB Laurence Maroney, 1st, Patriots, 2006. Maroney rushed for 2,504 yards and 21 touchdowns in six seasons, to go along with 459 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Worst pick: DT Anthony Montgomery, 5th, Redskins, 2006. In four seasons with Washington, Montgomery racked up 78 tackles and three sacks.

Best pick:
DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions, 1st round, 2010. One of the game's elite defensive tackles, Suh, a four-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro, already has 239 tackles and 36 sacks.
Worst pick: NT Adam Carriker, Rams, 1st round, 2007. Carriker, in four-plus seasons, owns just 125 tackles and nine sacks, 5.5 of which came in 2011.

Best pick:
OT Zach Strief, 7th, Saints, 2006. Strief has played in 125 games, including 61 starts, for New Orleans, and he was a member of the XLIV Super Bowl championship team.
Worst pick: DE Corey Wootton, 3rd, Bears, 2010. Wootton, best known for ending Brett Favre's career on one of his 12 career sacks, has posted just 86 tackles in 60 games.

Best pick:
LB A.J. Hawk, Packers, 1st, 2006. Hawk, an XLV Super Bowl champion and 2006 first-team All-Rookie, totaled 922 tackles, 19 sacks and nine interceptions in his first nine seasons, all with Green Bay.
Worst pick: RB Maurice Clarett, 3rd, Broncos, 2005. Clarett, the one-year Ohio State standout, never played a down in the NFL.

Best pick:
DE Tamba Hali, 1st, Chiefs, 2006. One of the game's top pass-rushers, Hali, a five-time Pro Bowler and 2010 AFC sacks leader, owns 79.5 sacks, 512 tackles and 30 forced fumbles.
Worst pick: DE Aaron Maybin, 1st, Bills, 2009. Maybin, out of the NFL since 2012, ended up with 36 tackles and six sacks in four seasons.

Best pick:
DE Rob Ninkovich, 5th, Saints, 2006. An XLIX Super Bowl champion and two-time AFC champion, Ninkovich has amassed 376 tackles, 35.5 sacks, five interceptions, eight forced fumbles and eight fumbles recovered.
Worst pick: DT Alex Magee, 3rd, Chiefs, 2009. Magee spent three seasons in the NFL, finishing with 18 tackles and four sacks in 25 games.

Best pick:
CB Devin McCourty, 1st, Patriots, 2010. McCourty has won a Super Bowl (SB XLIX), made a Pro Bowl (2010) and is a two-time NFL All-Pro. Stats-wise, he's registered 388 tackles, 17 interceptions and seven forced fumbles.
Worst pick: RB Brian Leonard, 2nd, Rams, 2007. Leonard, a pass-catching running back, has totaled 1,836 yards and just one touchdown in 88 games, spanning eight seasons.

Best pick:
DE J.J. Watt, 1st, Texans, 2011. Watt's accolades are very lengthy, twice being named AP Defensive Player of the Year and AFC Defensive Player of the Year and finishing as NFL MVP runner-up (2014). He's the only player to record multiple 20-sack seasons, too, owning 57 sacks in just four seasons.
Worst pick: DE Erasmus James, 1st, Vikings, 2005. In four seasons, three with Minnesota and one with Washington, James went for 37 tackles and five sacks.


More fun: Here's a look at how Big Ten teams stack up when it comes to NFL draft picks since 2005.

Ohio State: 57

Wisconsin: 44

Iowa: 42

Nebraska: 40

Penn State: 39

Michigan: 36

Michigan State: 29

Illinois: 23

Rutgers: 23

Maryland: 22

Purdue: 20

Minnesota: 15

Indiana: 13

Northwestern: 13


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.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.