Why Was Sanzenbacher A Snub?

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture
May 5, 2011 at 6:47a

First Posted at Inside The Shoe



From humble beginnings as an unheralded receiver from Toledo Central Catholic, Sanzenbacher made his way to Ohio State to try and make a name for himself. He came to Ohio State as an unknown who had to fight for everything he got, and what he got was being a 4 year starter, and a lot of love coming in all directions. The way he ended his career, by putting all that motivation into one great performance against Arkansas, was simply spectacular. Most Buckeye fans will remember the Great Dane for his excellent route running, superb hands, and always, always, being in the right place at the right time.

The way he played was 110% effort no matter the down, quarter, or game. You might hear of Ray Small or DeVier Posey dogging it a couple of plays, but they were the big time talents, right? I think more receivers should be like Sanzenbacher, who wasn't always the deep threat, even with his decent speed. No, he was more of a possession receiver that went for the extra yards, the receiver that wasn't afraid to go down the middle. The 5'10" Sanzenbacher reminded some people of Wes Welker, who is still a key receiving component for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Perhaps that is why when the 2011 NFL Draft was upon us, many saw Dane going in the later rounds, but certainly being an absolute steal for any team.

Sadly, that seemed not to be the case as Sanzenbacher went completely undrafted. After being voted Ohio State's 2010 Most Valuable Player and leading the Big Ten in touchdown catches (11), while grabbing 55 passes for 948 yards (second in the league, by 5 yards), and leading the North in the Senior Bowl with 5 catches for 62 yards, Dane went to the combine and had good numbers, and had a great workout there and then at the Ohio State Pro Day. He said no teams raised concerns about concussions that he suffered as a freshman and sophomore, and that he didn't miss a game his junior and senior years.

Through his career as a Buckeye, Dane has 115 receptions for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns. That's pretty good considering he wasn't a full on starter until his junior year. We already mentioned him being a team leader, and an outlet for Pryor when things weren't going well (Penn State, Arkansas games). With all this going on, you would think Sanzenbacher would stand a good chance in the draft.

So, why wasn't Dane Sanzenbacher chosen? Could it be that NFL owners were worried about previous OSU talent at the WR spot? Ted Ginn came to be only a kick returner, Robiskie wasn't stellar, and Hartline didn't raise too many eyebrows. Santonio Holmes is really the only one that has it going well for him, even after some rumbles in Pittsburgh. Was it the size? No, Wes Welker sits at 5'10" as well. I don't see any logical explanation. The Bengals and Browns were in need of some WR's late in this draft, yet passed him by. I have no explanation, I'll be honest. If I were any one of those GM's, and I saw the Manzenbacher sitting there in round 6, round 7, I would pick him up in a heartbeat. As of right now, Like every other undrafted player, Sanzenbacher is in limbo while the NFL's lockout is in place. Teams cannot contact or sign him.
He is back at OSU, finishing his degree in marketing, which he will earn in June. At some point, he will be in an NFL training camp, where he hopes to repeat the rise-from-obscurity story he lived over the past four years, and yet, he is not bitter.

"This may be a blessing in disguise," Sanzenbacher said. "I've never wanted to be average. And you look back on it, I guess it would be cool to (be drafted) in the middle rounds, but in a sense, it would be much cooler to come all the way from being a free agent. That might bring me more satisfaction."

Class act. What do you guys think about the situation? 

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Rooster Buckburn's picture

I would throw Michael Jenkins in the mix of former Buckeye receivers who have had pretty decent NFL careers to date.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Ray Small was no big time talent Ian! He made two clutch plays ('08 Punt Return that saved the day against Ohio U and '09 deep punt return against State Penn) in his whole career

Solid article nonetheless

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

btalbert25's picture

Small was big time coming in, just never showed it once he got here

pldconsulting's picture

Sanzenbacher will end up being the Kurt Warner of receivers in the NFL. He will make all those supposed geniuses in the NFL look like half brained idiots.

Colin's picture

But he will NOT be working at a grocery store before being signed by a team.

buckeyedude's picture

I agree with everything you said Ian, except the part about him coming in unheralded. He played beyond what his size would indicate.  I was shocked and saddened to see that not one friggin team took a chance on this kid. Especially the Browns. Look at how many stinkin' #1 picks they've gotten recently, and almost all of them sucked.



ToledoBuckeye's picture

My guess is that they worried about Dane's concussion history.  He had his bell rung a few times while at OSU and I think with the crackdown on concussions in the NFL teams just thought he wasn't worth the risk.


"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Marshall's picture

5'10" and realistically 180lbs.  Runs approx 4.6 40.  From what everybody in sports media says about the draft anymore, it all comes down to measurables.  But more deeply, you guys didn't mention first rounder Anthony Gonzalez.  I think there's something about Dane that just reminds people of Gonzo.  Great receiver, caught everything, clutch like few others, deceptive speed, good head on his shoulders.  99 catches in 4 years as a first rounder, ergo a bust any way you look at it.

But you know, there's just something itching in my head that says that Dane can do pretty much whatever he wants.  What a great Buckeye, gonna miss him like crazy.  Hoping for the best.  Bet he's coaching in a few years.

2002 graduate of The Ohio State University
National champs.  Coincidence?

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

I just have a problem with Wes Welker able to be a go to guy. As for Gonzo, I think Sanz is better than him. Maybe I'm losing my mind, but it just seems like Sanz knows where to be and when to be there. Plus he had TP throwing him the ball instead of Troy Smith.