Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Examining the Big Ten in the NFL draft
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The 2009 NFL draft was a fairly forgettable one for the Big Ten, which didn't have a top-10 pick for the first time since 2002 and had fewer first-round picks (4) than the SEC, ACC and Big 12. Michigan didn't have a player drafted until the fourth round (defensive tackle Terrance Taylor), while hoops powerhouse Connecticut already had four players drafted by that point.
The Big Ten had 28 players drafted overall and 15 in the first three rounds, the second-highest total for a league.
Here's the team-by-team breakdown of draft picks, which looks pretty good if you're an Ohio State fan.
- Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Saints (1st round, No. 14)
- Running back Chris Wells, Cardinals (1st round, No. 31)
- Linebacker James Laurinaitis, Rams (2nd round, No. 35)
- Wide receiver Brian Robiskie, Browns (2nd round, No. 36)
- Cornerback Donald Washington, Chiefs (4th round, No. 102)
- Wide receiver Brian Hartline, Dolphins (4th round, No. 108)
- Linebacker Marcus Freeman, Bears (5th round, No. 154)
- Defensive end Aaron Maybin, Bills (1st round, No. 11)
- Wide receiver Derrick Williams, Lions (3rd round, No. 82)
- Wide receiver Deon Butler, Seahawks (3rd round, No. 91)
- Guard Rich Ohrnberger, Patriots (4th round, No. 123)
- Center A.Q. Shipley, Steelers (7th round, No. 226)
- Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, Raiders (3rd round, No. 71)
- Linebacker DeAndre Levy, Rams (3rd round, No. 76)
- Guard Kraig Urbik, Steelers (3rd round, No. 79)
- Tight end Travis Beckum, Giants (3rd round, No. 100)
- Defensive tackle Terrance Taylor, Colts (4th round, No. 136)
- Cornerback Morgan Trent, Bengals (6th round, No. 179)
Northwestern, Minnesota and Indiana did not have any players drafted this year.
Notable Big Ten players not drafted included: Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King, Ohio State offensive tackle Alex Boone, Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer, Penn State defensive end Maurice Evans, Purdue running back Kory Sheets, Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton, Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill and Michigan State safety Otis Wiley.
A few final thoughts from the draft.
- Wells entered the 2008 season as a sure-fire top-10 pick, but his injury history dropped his stock a bit. He still ended up in a pretty good spot and should have an excellent pro career if he stays healthy.
- The draft reiterated how bad the Big Ten is at the quarterback spot, with only one signal-caller selected (Painter).
- The Giants will get a steal in Beckum if the former All-American stays healthy. I also liked Seattle's move to land Penn State's Butler, a reliable and quick target. The Bears could get a steal at linebacker with Freeman, who would have been the top defender on most college teams.
- It will be fascinating to see how Greene and Ringer perform in the pros after carrying their respective college teams last fall.
- I was shocked not to see Iowa's King get drafted. He might not fit the NFL "measurables," but he creates havoc in the middle of the defensive line and might have been the Big Ten's defensive MVP last fall.
- As I wrote in November, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio deserved Big Ten Coach of the Year honors more than Joe Paterno. Fitzgerald guided Northwestern to a 9-4 mark without a single NFL draftee on his roster, while Dantonio posted the same record with only one draftee (Ringer).