A year ago, the Reds used a high pick on a catcher when they selected Tyler Stephenson 11th overall. That has no bearing on the organization's motives this year, as its practice is to always pluck the best available player on its Draft board.
"We did that a few years back with Devin [Mesoraco in 2007] and Yasmani Grandal [in 2010]," Reds senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley said. "We thought he was the best player up there. It's a hard position to find. This year, there was a little more depth at that position."
According to the Greenville News in South Carolina, Okey was a regular player immediately as a freshman and started each of the 186 games Clemson had during his college career.
"He's a guy we've followed since high school," Buckley said. "We almost picked him in high school. He's a very polished catcher. He's got a chance to be a complete catcher. He swings the bat and plays solid defense."
With their two earlier 2016 Draft picks on Thursday, the Reds also selected third baseman Nick Senzel from the University of Tennessee with the No. 2 overall pick. In Competitive Lottery Round A, the Reds took high school outfielder Taylor Trammell from Kennesaw, Ga., with the 35th overall pick.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.