The last time Purdue did not have at least one player drafted into the NFL a lot of things were different:
- Jim Colletto had just finished his tenure as coach.
- Bill Clinton was in office.
- I was a junior in high school.
- The Big Ten only had 11 teams.
- Drew Brees had yet to play a down for Purdue.
The answer is the 1997 draft when Purdue was totally shut out. The next year Brian Alford, Mark Fischer, and Edwin Watson would get drafted, starting an 18-year streak in which at least one player from Purdue heard his name called during the NFL draft. It is one of the longest active such streaks in the nation. There have been a few years where only one player has kept it alive:
- In 2003 linebacker Joe Odom was a sixth round selection by the Bears as the only Purdue pick. This was a year before a record nine players were picked.
- In 2005 Kyle Orton was a fourth round selection by the Bears as the only Purdue pick.
- In 2010 Mike Neal was a second round pick by the Packers.
- In 2011 Ryan Kerrigan was one of the highest picked Purdue players ever at No. 16, but he was also the only pick.
- In 2013 Kawann Short kept the streak alive by being a second round pick.
- Finally, last season Ryan Russell was a fifth round pick by the Cowboys to keep the run alive.
While Purdue is not going to get anywhere close to the expected 22 Ohio State players drafted, there are 253 picks. The chances are SOMEONE will get picked. Here are the top possibilities:
Anthony Brown - DB - Brown was Purdue's only invitee to the NFL combine and he performed well. He was one of the fastest corners with a 4.35 40. He was also one of the top performers in the bench press and 20 yard shuttle. NFL Scouts like his size, speed, and ability to play in zone coverage. They view him as a 5th or 6th round selection.
Robert Kugler - C - From our profile on Kugler earlier today, he is an experienced starter that grew up as the son of an NFL offensive line coach. He has all the intangibles you need to make in in the NFL. What he likes is the size and all-world talent. He is going to work hard to make an NFL roster, but his official NFL.com profile sees him as an undrafted free agent.
Danny Anthrop - WR - Anthrop showed surprising speed at Purdue's pro day, but his recent ACL injury and lack of big plays during his senior year seem to be detriments to his chances. NFL.com sees him as an undrafted free agent, but after an excellent pro day at Purdue he could be a very late round pickup.
David Hedelin - OT - Hedelin was banged up this past season, but was still a very promising run blocker that might get a look by some NFL team. You can't teach size and he definitely has the build to be a good tackle. Is that draft-worthy, however?
Frankie Williams - DB - Williams seems to project as a poor man's Ricardo Allen. He had a good four years at Purdue, but was not an over the top defender like Allen was. NFL Draft Scout rates him as the No. 51 cornerback, and it seems unlikely that 51 cornerbacks will be picked.
Ultimately, I think brown will be the player that keeps the streak alive. He is rated in one of the middle rounds, so it is not like he is looking to be the 7th round savior to keep the streak alive. Now, if you're looking for 2017, I can't really help you, as there is not a standout senior on the 2016 roster at all. The best hope is Jake Replogle, and he is not a lock.