<
>

Looking ahead to Big Ten in second round of NFL draft

5/1/2015

The Big Ten had a relatively forgettable first round in this year's NFL draft.

Looking ahead to Big Ten in second round of NFL draftOnly three players were taken Thursday night -- Iowa OT Brandon Scherff, Michigan State CB Trae Waynes and Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon -- when, in March, ESPN.com's Mel Kiper projected as many as eight Big Ten players would come off the board on Day 1. The B1G also had at least four first-round selections in four of the past five drafts.

Still, it's not exactly time to panic. As a matter of fact, the Big Ten could be in for quite a memorable second round on Friday night.

Eight current B1G players are ranked within the top 30 remaining athletes. And, if those projections hold up, it would be the conference's most second-round selections in at least the past five draft classes. (The Big Ten had seven such picks in 2012.)

There are no guarantees, of course, and there's a chance some players slip past the second round -- or, possibly, some might move up --but here's a closer look at those eight players, where they rank and the teams that need them most based on Todd McShay's top draft needs:

No. 1 -- OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska: Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints

No. 4 -- WR Devin Smith, Ohio State: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs

No. 11 -- WR Devin Funchess, Michigan: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs

No. 15 -- RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska: Dallas Cowboys

No. 18 -- OT Donovan Smith, Penn State: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts

No. 20 -- TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota: None (Baltimore Ravens have TE as No. 2 priority, however, behind cornerback)

No. 25 -- DT Mike Bennett, Ohio State: Detroit Lions

No. 26 -- NT Carl Davis, Iowa: Chicago Bears

Follow ESPN.com's 2015 NFL Draftcast for live draft coverage, and click here to read the analysis on each of the first-round Big Ten picks and others.