Ohio State has had about as good a track record in the NFL Draft as any program in the country, but a recent trend has seen fewer and fewer Buckeyes taken in the first round than even four or five years ago.
Since 2000, Ohio State leads the country with 82 total draft picks, one more than Miami's 81 and two more than Southern California's 80. The Buckeyes have the third-most first-round picks in that time with 17. USC has 18 and Miami is the runaway leader with 26.
The number of first-round Buckeyes, though, is trending downward. After having five first-rounders in 2006 (A.J. Hawk to the Green Bay Packers, Donte Whitner to the San Francisco 49ers, Bobby Carpenter to the Dallas Cowboys, Santonio Holmes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Nick Mangold to the New York Jets), two in 2007 (Ted Ginn Jr. the Miami Dolphins and Anthony Gonzalez to the Indianapolis Colts), one in 2008 (Vernon Gholston to the New York Jets) and two in 2009 (Malcolm Jenkins to the New Orleans Saints and Beanie Wells to the Arizona Cardinals), only one player from Ohio State has been selected in the first round in the past three years. That was Cameron Hayward, who was taken by the Steelers with the second-to-last first round pick (31st) two years ago.
There were none in 2010, none last year and it'd be a surprise if a Buckeye sneaked into the first round tonight.
Behemoth defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is the only one with a chance. Hankins carried a first-round grade for much of the draft process and was thought to be an option for several teams in the middle of the first round, including the New Orleans Saints at No. 15 and the Steelers at No. 17, but has recently fell into the second round in most mock drafts.
Ohio State's ranking as the team with the third-most first rounders since 2000 is also in serious jeopardy. Florida State, in fourth place with 15, has four possible Seminoles who could be taken in the first round (cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive end Bjoern Werner, defensive end Tank Carradine and quarterback E.J. Manuel).