Highest NFL draft picks from Ohio

Written by:
February 8, 2022
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Highest NFL draft picks from Ohio

Since the first draft was held in 1936, the National Football League (NFL) has used its annual culling of the top college talent in the country to grow its ranks, renew the popularity of the sport, and to increase competitive parity among all football teams. Though the draft process has undergone several iterations since that first draft took place, it remains true to its original design as an equalizer. In its current arrangement, the draft consists of seven rounds, whereby each of the 32 NFL teams receives one pick per round. The order of selection takes place in reverse order of how each team finished the previous season—in other words, barring any trades between teams, each round starts with the team that had the worst overall record and ends with the Super Bowl champions.

There is a long and storied history of teams coming out of the dustbin of failure to resurrect themselves through strategic drafting of top college players. In 1989, for example, the Dallas Cowboys finished 1-15, the worst record in their franchise history. But after drafting Emmitt Smith, who would go on to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, first-round No. 1 pick Russell Maryland, and No. 1 pick and future Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, “America’s team” transformed itself into a powerhouse that won three Super Bowls throughout the 1990s.

And while for every top draft pick that went on to gridiron glory—such as 7-time All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning—there are equally storied accounts of star players who almost didn't make it out of the draft at all, let alone make a team’s top pick, the NFL’s annual strategic raffle has retained, for teams and colleges alike, its power to change the face of the game with a single draft pick. To this, one need look no further than the 2017 draft, when nine teams passed over Patrick Mahomes, who has gone on to take the once-flailing Kansas City Chiefs to three Super Bowl appearances.

With the 2022 draft slated to be held April 28-30 in Las Vegas, Stacker compiled a list of the highest NFL draft picks born in Ohio since 1970 using data from Pro Football Reference. Ties were broken by the most recent year drafted.

#20. Ross Browner (DE)
- Born: Warren, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- University: Notre Dame
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (0 Pro Bowls)

#19. Joey Galloway (WR)
- Born: Bellaire, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 1995
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 11 (0 Pro Bowls)

#18. Donte Whitner (DB)
- Born: Cleveland, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #8 overall in 2006
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (2 Pro Bowls)

#17. Todd Blackledge (QB)
- Born: Canton, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1983
- Drafted by: Kansas City Chiefs
- University: Penn St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#16. Terry Glenn (WR)
- Born: Columbus, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #7 overall in 1996
- Drafted by: New England Patriots
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 9 (1 Pro Bowls)

#15. Curtis Enis (RB)
- Born: Union City, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 1998
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- University: Penn St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 2 (0 Pro Bowls)

#14. A.J. Hawk (LB)
- Born: Kettering, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #5 overall in 2006
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 10 (0 Pro Bowls)

#13. Chris Ward (T)
- Born: Cleveland, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 1978
- Drafted by: NY Jets
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 6 (0 Pro Bowls)

#12. Art Schlichter (QB)
- Born: Washington Court House, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 1982
- Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#11. Desmond Howard (WR)
- Born: Cleveland, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 1992
- Drafted by: Washington Football Team
- University: Michigan
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (1 Pro Bowls)

#10. Charles Woodson (DB)
- Born: Fremont, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 1998
- Drafted by: Oakland Raiders
- University: Michigan
- Years as a starter in NFL: 16 (9 Pro Bowls)

#9. Denzel Ward (CB)
- Born: Macedonia, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #4 overall in 2018
- Drafted by: Cleveland Browns
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (2 Pro Bowls)

#8. John Hicks (G)
- Born: Cleveland, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #3 overall in 1974
- Drafted by: NY Giants
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#7. Steve Niehaus (DT)
- Born: Cincinnati, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1976
- Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks
- University: Notre Dame
- Years as a starter in NFL: 1 (0 Pro Bowls)

#6. Tony Mandarich (T)
- Born: Kent, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 1989
- Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
- University: Michigan St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#5. Mitchell Trubisky (QB)
- Born: Mentor, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #2 overall in 2017
- Drafted by: Chicago Bears
- University: North Carolina
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (1 Pro Bowls)

#4. Tom Cousineau (LB)
- Born: Fairview Park, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1979
- Drafted by: Buffalo Bills
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 4 (0 Pro Bowls)

#3. Dan Wilkinson (DT)
- Born: Dayton, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1994
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (0 Pro Bowls)

#2. Ki-Jana Carter (RB)
- Born: Westerville, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1995
- Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals
- University: Penn St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 0

#1. Orlando Pace (T)
- Born: Sandusky, Ohio
- Draft pick: Round 1, #1 overall in 1997
- Drafted by: St. Louis Rams
- University: Ohio St.
- Years as a starter in NFL: 12 (7 Pro Bowls)

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