Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, April 22, 2018
When it comes to producing NFL linebackers, no Big Ten school can match Ohio State.
In the last 10 NFL drafts, Ohio State has had 13 linebackers picked. Penn State has lived up to its billing as ?Linebacker U,? having seven picked to ranked No. 2 to the Buckeyes. Wisconsin comes in third with six linebackers being selected since 2008, while Iowa and Nebraska each have had five.
Since 2008, the Big Ten has had 40 linebackers picked. But only five have been first-rounders: Ohio State?s Vernon Gholston in 2008 to the Jets; Ryan Shazier in 2014 to the Steelers; Darron Lee in 2016 to the Jets; Illinois? Whitney Mercilus in 2012 to the Texans and Wisconsin?s T.J. Watt in 2017 to the Steelers.
The highest picked Nittany Lion linebacker has been Sean Lee, a second-rounder in 2010 to the Cowboys. Iowa?s highest picked linebacker has been LB Pat Angerer in 2010 to the Colts. Nebraska has had two second-rounders: Lavonte David in 2012 to the Buccaneers and Randy Gregory in 2015 to the Cowboys.
And then there is Indiana, which hasn?t had a linebacker drafted since 1988 when Van Waiters was selected in the third round by the Browns.
The Big Ten should have several linebackers taken in this year?s draft. Ohio State?s Jerome Baker could be the first league linebacker picked, going as a second-fourth-rounder; Iowa?s Josey Jewell, Indiana?s Tegray Scales, Michigan?s Mike McCray and Les; Penn State?s Jason Cabinda look like mid-round picks. Wisconsin?s Garrett Dooley, Ohio State?s Chris Worley, Jack Cichy, Wisconsin?s Leon Jacobs and Indiana?s Chris Covington look like late-rounders.
Here is a look at Big Ten linebackers selected by school since 2008.
1. Ohio State: 13
2. Penn State: 7
3. Wisconsin: 6
4. Iowa; Nebraska: 5
6. Illinois: 4
7. Michigan; Minnesota: 3
9. Purdue; Rutgers: 2
11. Maryland; Michigan State; Northwestern: 1
14. Indiana: 0
First-round Big Ten linebackers since 2008
- Ohio State?s Vernon Gholston, Jets (6)
- Illinois? Whitney Mercilus, Texans (26)
- Ohio State?s Ryan Shazier, Steelers (15)
- Ohio State?s Darron Lee, Jets (20)
- Wisconsin?s T.J. Watt, Steelers (30th overall pick)