Ohio State’s first two NFL draft picks will remain in the Buckeye state.

Seventeen picks after the Cleveland Browns picked Denzel Ward with the fourth selection Thursday night, the Cincinnati Bengals took center Billy Price with the 21st.

“Just an unbelievable feeling right now,” Price said to Bengals reporters. “I’m oozing with emotions right now. This is exactly what I wanted in this draft — to go as high as possible and stay in Ohio and bring the brand of Ohio State football down to Cincinnati.”

Price started a school-record 55 games for the Buckeyes and won the Rimington Award in 2017 as the country’s best center after moving from guard for his senior season. At the NFL combine, Price partially tore a pectoral muscle during the bench press. It was a stunning injury considering his durability on the field and that he was someone whose prowess in the weight room was legendary.

“It was sickening,” Price told. “You don’t think it’s going to happen to you. All the work, and for that to happen at the combine on the biggest stage and the biggest moment of my personal life getting drafted, it was shocking.”

At the time, it looked as if that would jeopardize his chances of being a first-round pick, which Price acknowledged was a goal. But he has made a rapid recovery from surgery — he did his first sets of pushups on Tuesday — and is expected to be deemed fully recovered in June.

With the Bengals, Price will be counted on to anchor an offensive line that was a liability in 2017. Price said his goal is “to set the league on fire from Day 1.”

Price is the first Buckeye drafted by the Bengals since offensive tackle Reid Fragel was a seventh-round pick in 2013. Sixth-round running back Dan “Boom” Herron was a sixth-rounder in 2012. Before Herron, the Bengals hadn’t taken an Ohio State player since defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson was the first overall pick and running back Jeff Cothran in the third round of the 1994 draft.



The 16 Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2018 NFL draft: 

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