After two former Ohio State players heard their names called during the second day of the 2015 NFL draft, a trio of other members of the national championship roster joined them Saturday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected cornerback Doran Grant in the fourth round with the 121st overall pick, making him the third former OSU player selected.
Grant, a product of Akron, Ohio, started each of OSU’s 29 games in his junior and senior seasons. He accumulated 121 total tackles and eight interceptions in that time.
His five interceptions last year were good for a tie for third in the Big Ten. Forty percent of those came in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin, when he picked off Badgers quarterback Joel Stave twice, returning them for 60 yards.
Grant got off to a slow start in 2014 but emerged as OSU’s true No. 1 corner after holding Michigan State’s Tony Lippett — a first-team All-Big Ten selection at wide receiver — to just five receptions in OSU’s 49-37 victory in East Lansing on Nov. 8.
He was later matched up against Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Though Cooper scored two touchdowns, he accumulated just 71 yards — well below his season average of 123.4 yards per game.
Grant is set to become teammates with a quartet of fellow former Buckeyes — offensive lineman Mike Adams, defensive end Cameron Heyward, linebacker Ryan Shazier and safety Will Allen — in Pittsburgh.
In the sixth round, the next former OSU player went off the board when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Michael Bennett with the 180th pick.
The 6-foot-2, 293-pound defensive tackle saw the field during all four of his years at OSU, transforming himself from a freshman with the potential to contribute regularly for the Buckeyes to a team leader with the ability to play at the next level. Bennett was selected as a third-team All-American in 2014. Additionally, he was second-team All-Big Ten in both 2013 and 2014.
He was an integral part of the defensive squad that helped the Buckeyes capture the program’s eighth national championship this past season. Bennett recorded a tackle in 13 of OSU’s 14 games last season, finishing his senior campaign with 40 total tackles.
He had a large impact in two of the Buckeyes’ biggest games last season — against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. He registered five tackles and two sacks versus the Badgers, as well as four tackles and a sack against the Crimson Tide.
Seven picks after Bennett’s selection, wide receiver Evan Spencer became the fifth former OSU player selected. Spencer was taken by the Washington Redskins with the 187th pick.
Spencer fitted primarily as a possession receiver in OSU coach Urban Meyer’s offense, catching 37 passes for 365 yards in his junior and senior seasons. He also added six touchdowns, three apiece in each of his final two seasons.
Although he only caught one pass total in OSU’s two games in the College Football Playoff — a seven-yard grab against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl — the receiver showed off his arm against the Crimson Tide with a 13-yard touchdown pass on a trick play late in the first half.
The Vernon Hills, Ill., product also made highlight reels with an acrobatic one-handed touchdown catch against Rutgers on Oct. 18.
He finished his OSU career with 52 catches for 579 yards and seven touchdown receptions.
Wide receiver Devin Smith was the first former OSU player selected when he was picked early on Day 2 at No. 37 overall. He was followed in the third round by tight end Jeff Heuerman at No. 92.
Three other former Buckeyes entered in the draft — linebacker Curtis Grant, defensive lineman Steve Miller and offensive lineman Darryl Baldwin — did not hear their names called during the draft and will look to sign as undrafted free agents.