Zach Boren's switch to defense, will it impact his chances for a NFL career?

German Buckeye's picture
November 7, 2012 at 8:04p

I was thinking about the outstanding selflessness Zach exhibited in switching over to linebacker after serving as our #1 fullback over the past couple years.  Then I wondered how this could impact his ability to be drafted and/or evaluation from NFL talent czars in drafting him.  Certainly his limited resume on defense will not provide enough insight for NFL talent mongers to judge his worthiness. 

His fullbacking skills are well documented:  Mel Kiper has him as the #2 fullback on his 2013 draft board.  But now with the switch, how will he be viewed?  While Zach's unselfish support of "team" is to be commended, how will this potentially impact his draft status for the NFL? Kiper says, "Boren was among my top fullbacks among juniors last year and will end up on an NFL roster".  I wonder when he updates his big board, will he drop Boren from the fullback position? The inside linbackers Kiper has in his top 5 are Manti Te'o (ND), Arthur Brown (K St), Kevin Reddick (UNC), Shayne Skov (Stanford) and Nico Johnson (Bama).  Is Zach better than any of those?  I believe over time he certainly would be.  That's the rub - he doesn't have time - in fact he's got two more games to show what he can do as a Mike.  Love Zach, love his unselfishness, love his leadership and dedication as a Buckeye.  I hope the NFL loves him too. 

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ohiowhitesnake's picture

I think it only helps him get drafted!  The guy is a football player period.  He is versatile and aggressive and any NFL team would love that kind of guy.  As soon as he made the move to LB my first thought was "This guy will be a NE Patriot" (wife's team that I am forced to watch).  They love players who are unselfish.  I seem to remember a DL from OSU who now coaches LB/DL at OSU.  He played in NE for years and was a good linemen, who...caught a few goal-line TDs.  Boren will find a home somewhere in the NFL.

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klfeck's picture

Agreed, just proves to NFL scouts that Boren can contribute on either side of the ball.



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AllDay028's picture

I also believe it helps his status. He isn't going to play MLB at the next level (most likely) simply because he isn't athletic enough. But he has shown that what he can do laterally as opposed to just going straight ahead and it helps show him off and what he may be able to do coming out of the backfield, which he may not have had the chance to do much this season. He'll be starting for an NFL team next year as a FB.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Eh. Maybe. New England, the Jets, Green Bay, and a few others like guys like this, but his traditional full back position is a dying breed in the NFL and he doesn't wow you as a linebacker. With that said, he has 5th-7th round special teams contributor written all over him. He can have a nice, all be it well traveled career in the NFL as an ST ace.

bodast67's picture

Agree with you long as Belichik is coaching in the NFL, Boren has a goiod chance at being drafted or trying out at least i.e. Nate Ebner




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cbusbuckeye's picture

I think he will be fine. He will end up somewhere as a fullback for sure. Maybe even a short yardage back

Golden Buckeye's picture

I think it can only help his chances.  Now he just proved to scouts he can play offense, defense, or special teams if they need it.  Teams aren't going to be wasting a draft pick on a fullback, they will be drafting one heck of a football player.

texasbuckeye's picture

Boren is Belnicheck's wet dream

Doc's picture

Helps.  The more he can do the better.  It won't extend his career in the league, but it will help him get there.

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jthiel09's picture

He'll go to a team and more than likely have a very successful career. Being able to play two positions, have it shown on tape and do a decent job only helps someone in the draft.


sb97's picture

I doubt it affects his draft stock.  He has proven his worth at full back over 3 and a half years.  I doubt anyone will consider him as a NFL linebacker. 

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Versatility is invaluable.  Vrabs will tell ya,  DE one play TE the next. 

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

CowCat's picture

With only 53 players on an NFL roster and only 46 on game day, who wouldn't want a player who can play both sides of the ball if needed?
He'll be the reverse of Vrabel -- FB full time, maybe a short yardage / goal line LB when needed.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Squirrel Master's picture

How can you say he "won't" be an NFL linebacker. The guy came right in and has turned around a powerhouse defense that was struggling! He is doing the job a 5* recruit couldn't do nor a senior starter! That to me is very impressive. The defense looks totally different now and he has only made Shazier look even better!
I didn't think he would have been drafted that high in the first place. I mean #2 rated FB is like saying the #50 rated running back. I'm not sure what the typical FB draft positions are but I think a team would draft him higher taking a chance he could become a starter a MLB. Teams just don't need FB that much anymore. RB are becoming bigger and more powerful or so elusive that a lead blocker isn't as necessary as it once was.
As a FB - 6th-7th round
As a potential MLB - maybe a 5th rounder.
I think it actually helps him a lot!

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Oyster's picture

I agree and what I think some people keep overlooking is that he came to OSU as a LB then moved to FB.  That says quite a bit about his desire to do what is required to make the team successful.  I won't even get on my soapbox about his leadership on the team.

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BuckeyeinAnnArbor's picture

Boren drafted as an LB?  Please give me whatever you are smoking.

Earle's picture

I actually think it has hurt him.  He is going to be a FB at next level.  If he had stayed on offense and gotten more of a chance to show his ability to carry and catch the ball in addition to his blocking, he would show himself to be the type of versatile player coaches love.  Showing he can play on the other side of the ball in college doesn't really add to that in my view, just makes him more of a novelty.
I think he will play in the NFL, but I think the move drops him from mid-round pick to late round or undrafted FA. 
Or else the Browns draft him high to replace Owen Marecic.  They seem to like to reach for guys to prove they are smarter than everyone else.  If so they will get a good football player.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Danify's picture

Going to sound like a homer, but he would be perfect to head up to the Cleveland Browns as they currently have a TE being their full-time FB. Boren could definitely fill the role of a hard-nose blocker for T. Richardson and help with short passes in the West Coast style offense.

BuckeyeinAnnArbor's picture

No offense to Boren, but I don't think he has much hope for an NFL career either way, at least not a very long one.

nltemple's picture

Here is the ultimate team player, not playing for himself. A blessing to any professional team who drafts him. All the best to Zach.

Noel Temple

Buckeyejason's picture

Boren will get looks at teams that have power run offense(SF, Jets etc)
I just really can't see a team drafting him as a LB with what..5 games of film? There's a lot of good MLB's out there that have 2-4 years of game experience to draft. 


BuckeyeinAnnArbor's picture

The notion that Boren will play LB in the NFL is laughable; however, I could see him at least getting a shot as a utility guy for a team like NE.

BED's picture

Most teams in the NFL don't use a true FB anymore, this helps.

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The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009