Ohio State Buckeyes: Wilson, Olave snap curious NFL Draft drought

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Anyone who walked away from the broadcast of the 2022 NFL Draft’s first round for about 12 minutes might have missed Ohio State’s total involvement.

A pair of Buckeyes were taken, and they went back to back before the first half of the first night of the draft was finished.

The New York Jets got things started by taking Garrett Wilson with the 10th pick, then the New Orleans Saints traded up to choose fellow receiver Chris Olave at No. 11.

The pick of Wilson broke a 14-year streak with no Ohio State receivers being taken in the first round.

The last time was 2007 when a pair of Buckeyes also were taken in the first round — Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez.

“Feel great about Garrett and adding him, the value we were able to get him,” Jets GM Joe Douglass told reporters after the first round was over Thursday night. “His playmaking abilities, explosiveness, ball skills, run after catch — he’s a very talented young man.”

Wilson was a first-team All-American last season when he caught 70 passes for 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns.

He is eighth in Ohio State history with 143 receptions and 10th with 2,213 receiving yards while his 23 touchdown catches rank seventh.

Wilson was the second receiver drafted Thursday night after the Atlanta Falcons picked Drake London out of USC with the No. 8 pick.

“He’s another speed guy,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s got the whole repertoire in terms of the route tree. He’s got great body control and he’s a lot stronger — you see him and he looks a little slight, but he actually plays the game very strong. He’s got great range. He’s got really good speed, so he can win one-on-one.”

That should help him in AFC East divisional play.

“When you look at Buffalo, New England and Miami, they’re man-to-man coverage teams so being able to add him to the rest of our receiving corps along with the tight ends and our backs, it’s a group that is really ascending and a very young group that’s got a chance to grow together,” Saleh said.

Olave is one of the most productive receivers in Ohio State history, having broken the career record with 35 touchdown catches in four years.

He is third in school history with 176 receptions and fifth with 2,711 receiving yards.

“Chris was a guy that we coveted from the very beginning of this draft process,” Saints coach Dennis Allen told reporters Thursday night. “No. 1 because we do feel like he’s our type of guy: tough, smart, competitive, highly productive at Ohio State.”

In New Orleans, he will be able to team up with fellow OSU receiver Michael Thomas, one of six former Buckeyes on the Saints roster last season. The others are cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Bradley Roby, tight end Nick Vannett, linebacker Pete Werner and defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes.

“We’ve had a lot of success with Ohio State players,” Allen said. “He was a guy we had our eye on. Then certainly as the draft progressed, we felt there could be a run on these receivers. We felt like rather than sitting around and waiting to see if a guy comes to us, we’d go get the guy we wanted.”

At least one Ohio State receiver has been drafted in six of the last eight drafts, including two each in 2015, ‘16, ‘17 and ‘19.

A first-team All-American last season and a two-time All-Big Ten first-teamer, Olave is the 11th Buckeye receiver drafted in that time and 21st since 2000.

He is the 46th receiver from Ohio State drafted in the common era, which began in 1967.

Eight of them were first-round picks — Wilson, Olave, Joey Galloway, Terry Glenn, David Boston, Michael Jenkins, Santonio Holmes, Gonzalez and Ginn.

That impressive group does not even include Paul Warfield, who was primarily a halfback at Ohio State but went to the Browns with the No. 11 pick in 1964 and went on to become a Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver.

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