The NFL draft began Thursday with a flood of Ohio State Buckeyes.
It ended Saturday with a long wait, then a late rush.
It took more than 4½ hours for a Buckeye to be picked on the final day of the draft, which started with the fourth round. The drought finally ended when the Los Angeles Rams took senior safety Jordan Fuller in the sixth round, the 199th overall pick.
K.J. Hill, Ohio State’s leader in career catches, went to the other Los Angeles team — the Chargers — in the seventh and final round with the 220th selection. Later, the Detroit Lions selected defensive lineman Jashon Cornell at No. 235 overall, giving the Buckeyes 10 overall picks.
The long wait on Saturday was a contrast to Thursday, when the draft began as practically a commercial for Ohio State. LSU’s Joe Burrow, whose career began in Columbus, as you may have heard, went first overall to the Bengals.
Defensive end Chase Young then went to Washington and cornerback Jeff Okudah to Detroit, as expected.
"To see three guys that have been in our program go 1-2-3 like that, it's kind of surreal," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Saturday on ESPN radio.
Young and Okudah, both juniors in 2019, were projected as high future draft picks before they ever enrolled at Ohio State.
Most of the other OSU draft picks took longer, more winding paths. Only running back J.K. Dobbins, who went in the second round to Baltimore on Friday, was an underclassman.
Cornerback Damon Arnette, a surprise first-round pick at No. 19 by the Las Vegas Raiders, intended to turn pro last year before changing his mind.
Two local products, defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton of Pickerington Central and linebacker Malik Harrison of Walnut Ridge, were below-the-radar recruits who blossomed late in their Ohio State careers and were third-round picks. Jacksonville took Hamilton with the 73rd pick.
After Detroit took OSU offensive lineman Jonah Jackson two picks later, Harrison went as the No. 98 selection, to the Ravens.
Even as they developed at Ohio State, Harrison and Hamilton tended to be overshadowed. Hamilton played nose tackle, a position with more grime than glory.
"I’m just trying to create as much disruption in the backfield as possible — even without the tackle or sack or anything," Hamilton told Jaguars reporters. "That was my role at Ohio State, and hopefully I can continue that in the league."
Hamilton probably wasn’t on most teams’ draft radar before his final season. He had 10½ tackles for loss last year, including six sacks.
The 6-2½, 247-pound Harrison led the Buckeyes with 75 tackles and trailed only Young in tackles for loss, with 16½.
"Malik’s just different," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. "You don’t get a lot of big linebackers anymore in college football. He’s almost 250 pounds. He’s got long arms. He takes on guys really well. He’s really strong in the box. He’s a guy that really looks like an NFL linebacker."
Day contrasted the path of his seniors with that of Young and Okudah.
"There are the guys like Chase and Jeff," Day said. "They came in, they played for three years and they get drafted like they did. Those are guys who are just very, very talented and have potential, and in their third year really came on."
The journey was longer for the others.
"These guys were in our program for multiple years, and our strength and conditioning program with Mick Marotti, I think, is the best in the country and just the way that we develop guys," Day said. "A lot of it is physically, but a lot of it is emotionally and mentally."
That mental toughness probably was necessary as the hours dragged on Saturday. The Buckeye drought finally ended with Fuller’s selection. Fuller was a two-time captain and three-time Academic All-American.
He flourished last year as the sole deep safety in Ohio State’s revamped defense. Fuller finished with 224 career tackles and five interceptions.
"Honestly, I’m speechless at the moment," he told Rams media. "It’s a bunch of hard work going into this, and I know it’s the first step in a long journey. But I’m just so, so thankful that they gave me this opportunity.
"I’m so excited to be an LA Ram and being in LA. My brother (Devin) went to UCLA. I’ve got family out there."
Fuller was the 12th Ohio State defensive back drafted since 2014.
Hill was expected to be the first Buckeye to be picked on Saturday. The slot receiver, whose 201 career receptions broke David Boston’s school record, was expected to go in the middle rounds. But he had a longer wait than expected.
After Fuller, Hill and Cornell were picked, receivers Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, as well as offensive lineman Branden Bowen and defensive tackle Robert Landers waited for their names to be called as the final picks were made.