Jeff Okudah is next line to be drafted from “Cornerback U.”
Tim Anderson was the first cornerback drafted out of Ohio State (by the 49ers) in 1971, but the Buckeyes had to wait 20 years before the next one was taken. Since then, the pipeline continues to produce first-round talent at the position.
Okudah, who is projected to be the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in Sporting News’ latest mock, will be the 14th Buckeyes’ cornerback taken in the first round. The standard at the position is high considering the number of active corners to come from Columbus.
Here’s a look at the last 12 Ohio State cornerbacks to be taken in the first round since 1991. It’s an impressive list.
Team: Green Bay
Lowdown: Clark led the Buckeyes with seven interceptions in 1990. The Packers took Clark with the No. 19 pick, and he totaled 13 interceptions from 1991-96 through stops with the Packers, Falcons, Saints and Jaguars.
Lowdown: Springs had six career interceptions at Ohio State. He was a lock-down cornerback and first-team All-American. The Seahawks took Springs with the No. 3 pick. He played 13 seasons in the NFL and finished with 33 interceptions. Springs made the Pro Bowl in 1998, a season in which he finished with a career-high seven interceptions.
Lowdown: He’s the crown jewel on this list. Winfield was a two-time All-American at Ohio State, and the Bills took him with the No. 23 pick. Winfield played 14 seasons with the Bills and Vikings and made three Pro Bowls. He had 1,021 total tackles during that stretch, most of any cornerback in the league. Winfield’s son Antoine, who attended Minnesota, will be in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Team: San Francisco
Lowdown: Plummer had 14 interceptions in three years with the Buckeyes, and he at least four interceptions in each of those seasons. The 49ers took Plummer with the No. 24 pick, and he had seven interceptions in his second season in 2001. Plummer played six seasons with San Francisco from 2000-05 before injuries cut his career short.
Lowdown: Clements, who had six interceptions at Ohio State, was a solid player in the vein of Winfield. The Bills took him with the No. 21 pick, and he enjoyed a 12-year career with Buffalo, San Francisco and Cincinnati. Clements made his lone Pro Bowl appearance in 2004 after a six-interception season. He finished his career with 36 interceptions.
Lowdown: Gamble was a two-way star on Ohio State’s2002 national championship team, and the Panthers took him with the No. 28 pick. He tied for the league lead with six interceptions as a rookie in 2004. Gamble had 13 interceptions in his first two seasons, part of a nine-year career in which he totaled 27 picks. Gamble was a solid player, but he never made a Pro Bowl.
Team: New Orleans
Lowdown: Jenkins was drafted as a cornerback by the Saints, but he moved to safety in his second season. He has split his career between stops there and with Philadelphia, and he is a two-time Super Bowl champion. Jenkins has 17 career interceptions and seven career defensive TDs through an 11-year career, and he returned to New Orleans via free agency this offseason.
Lowdown: Denver grabbed Roby with the No. 31 pick, and he proved them right. He was a key piece on their last Super Bowl-winning team. Roby had an interception of Tom Brady on a two-point conversion attempt in the AFC championship game that year. He spent five seasons with the Broncos before moving to Houston, where head had two interceptions in 2019, including a pick six of Brady.
Team: N.Y. Giants
Lowdown: Apple had an up-and-down three-year stint in New York before moving to New Orleans, where he re-emerged as a solid contributor last season. He had 58 tackles for the Saints and was a valuable contributor.
Lowdown: The Raiders drafted the cornerback in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he had four interceptions in two-and-a-half-seasons before being traded to Houston. Conley had 11 pass breakups in eight games with the Texans last season.
Team: New Orleans
Lowdown: Lattimore earned AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after a breakout season in 2017 with the Saints in which he totaled 52 tackles and five interceptions. He has made the Pro Bowl twice in three seasons and continues to be one of the better corners in the NFL.
Lowdown: Ward had three interceptions as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl, and he followed up with two interceptions last season. He has dealt with injuries early in his career but remains a solid tackler and should continue to be an impact player in Cleveland.
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