2014 Buckeye Draft Prospects Look To Produce an Uptick in Production at NFL Level

By Chris Lauderback on April 26, 2014 at 8:15a
Carlos Hyde hopes to give his alma mater a productive back at the next level.

The Ohio State football factory has consistently owned the B1G from a talent perspective for decades, consistently boasting a stock of players selected in the NFL Draft. As of roughly a month ago, no less than 32 Ohio State products dotted active NFL rosters. 

This year, another crop of Buckeyes project to be selected in the NFL Draft, headlined by Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby and Carlos Hyde. 

Despite the sheer volume of Buckeyes in the NFL, Ohio State could use a boost in actual alum production and the question remains if any of the current big three can help Ohio State stem the tide of flagging NFL stats. 

Curious to define the dropoff in productive Buckeyes at the next level, I took a look at the last four years of Buckeye draft picks in comparison to the four years prior and the data signals a gargantuan dip not in just picks, but in player worth to a franchise. 


From 2006-09, the Buckeyes produced 27 NFL draft picks with 14 of being skill players. Nine of those selections went on to do varying levels of meaningful damage. 

The 2009 class got its swerve on with three guys emerging as top-level players and a fourth making some noise for a time. 

James does work off the field, too

James Laurinaitis highlights the foursome thanks to 80 starts in 80 games and 10+ tackles in five straight seasons. In fact, L'il Animal racked up 142 stops in both 2011 and 2012. Malcolm Jenkins was a 2nd team All-Pro in 2010 and boasts a Super Bowl ring, 358 tackles and six picks on a still-building resume. 

Brian Hartline has emerged as a big-time steal as the 4th round pick (108 overall) produced back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for the Dolphins becoming just the 8th player in franchise history to eclipse the 1,000 yard barrier even once. 

Beanie Wells was released by the Arizona Cardinals just over a year ago and after his achilles exploded in a workout last October for the Ravens, he might be done. Still, Wells racked up 24 touchdowns and 2,471 yards in four years, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. 

In 2007, Ted Ginn Jr. was taken 9th overall and while he didn't live up to the pick, he has compiled six career KO/PR touchdowns, 7,767 KO/PR yards and last year he posted the 2nd most single-season receiving yards of his career with 556 and five touchdowns for the Carolina Panthers. 

The 2006 was nine deep with four players going off like the mob. A.J. Hawk has totaled five 100+ tackle seasons including two straight while racking up 18.5 sacks, a 2010 Pro Bowl nod and a Super Bowl ring. Donte Whitner has been a staple in the secondary for the 49ers and Bills with 669 tackles, 45 passes defensed and 10 interceptions in eight years. 

Santonio Holmes, while not short on shenanigans, has still managed a Super Bowl MVP trophy, one 1,000 yard season, over 5,900 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns while Nick Mangold has started 126 games as a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. 

The 2010-13 Buckeye draft picks, meanwhile, have yet to make much of a mark at the next level. 


While there is still time for OSU draft picks over the last four seasons to develop, the early returns aren't much to talk about. Just 16 players have been selected, six at the skill positions, with a mere three guys making significant contributions though it's possible a few more could evolve into solid pros. 

Cameron Heyward, a 2011 product, headlines the list after a 59 tackle, five sack season for the Steelers a season ago; his first as a starter. Heyward paced the Steelers with 32 quarterback pressures and the organization recently exercised the 5th-year option on his contract, boosting his 2015 pay to $6.9 million. I'd say that speaks volumes as to what kind of player they think he will become. Teammate Mike Adams has 16 starts in 25 career games though his play has been spotty. 

Johnathan Hankins played in 11 games last season, not yet justifying his 2nd round selection in the 2013 draft. With fellow defensive tackle Linval Joseph signing with the Vikings, Hankins has an opportunity to make a greater impact this coming fall. 

Andre Johnson says DeVier Posey is primed to break out in 2014

DeVier Posey, a 2012 selection by the Houston Texans (3rd round), bounced back from a torn achilles to record 15 catches for 155 yards last season and if nothing else, teammate Andre Johnson expects Posey to have a breakout year in 2014. 

That leaves just Chimdi Chekwa as the final Buckeye pro over the last four years to still potentially emerge as a solid NFL player. The 2011 product played in a career-high 15 games last season, recording 23 tackles. 

Again, these guys likely have plenty of football left to show they belong but there's little question the last four Buckeye draft classes have fallen well short of the four classes preceding them which brings us back to the 2014 draft hopefuls. 

Ryan Damn Shazier projects as a mid-late 1st rounder and though he's undersized, he could be a force in the right system. 

Bradley Roby, despite a rough final season in Columbus, still has the goods and seems destined for a late 1st round to mid-2nd round pick. 

For my money, Carlos Hyde is the Buckeye with the greatest chance to thrive at the next level. His combination of size and speed along with underrated hands could prove to be multi-year starter quality in the NFL. 

Jack Mewhort and Philly Brown, among others, will also effort to make a squad but all signs point to Shazier, Roby and Hyde as the guys most likely to help give Ohio State a boost when it comes to boasting of recent talent making an impact in the professional ranks. 


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D. Anthony's picture

Malcolm Jenkins 

D. Anthony

+1 HS
Chris Lauderback's picture

Who's that? Dammit, I do that every time. 

BoFuquel's picture

See how hard it is kids. These are the overwhelming odds you face of ever making it as a professional football player. Stay in school. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

+1 HS
RBuck's picture

Last I heard, Alex Boone isn't playing too shabbby either.

Long live the southend.

+9 HS
poop's picture
+1 HS
FitzBuck's picture

Forgot Pryor.  3rd round pick. 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+4 HS
BuckeyeDale's picture

Jake Ballard? 



+1 HS
BuckeyeDale's picture

We still have a lot of hangers-on, who knows for sure?  Reid Fragel, John Simon, Dan Herron, Mike Brewster, Nathan Williams, Zach Boren, Travis Howard, Doug Worthington, Anderson Russell, Jake Stoneburner, Jake McQuaide, Etienne Sabino, & even Orhian Johnson and Nate Ebner.  It took Boone a couple years to get his act together, and become productive.  While they're on a roster, they're still doin' it...


+3 HS
chirobuck's picture

yeah good call, I thought I read somewhere that Brewster's coaches like him a lot and expect him to start this year, don't remember which team, the Dolphins maybe, but if he ends up like Boone it would be yet another example of talent underdeveloped by the magnificent Bollman....thank god that guy is finally gone, same goes for Adams if he develops for the steelers


^ best post ever ^

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

I think Brewster will be in the League for quite a while. He may never turn into Mangold, but I think he is very underrated when it comes to most Buckeyes fans' opinions of him.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Long overdue for a Buckeye RB to shine consistently on Sundays.

Love to see Hyde pick up where Eddie left off.

+3 HS
CGroverL's picture

I admit that I am "over" biased when it comes to "El Guapo" Hyde....

First, I KNEW he would become a big force as a Buckeye RB when he signed out of Naples, FL (Over the last 20 years, the "hot spots" of college recruiting have come from really just 5 states: Ohio, California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida). Being from Florida and having a few sneak peeks of "El Guapo" (Which was originally coined by me in 2009), I knew that all it would take for him to reach stardom was to simply give him the ball, which was tough going for him.

Anyway though...if Hyde is 100%, he is probably the most NFL ready of all RB's in this NFL class. His weakness, they say, is VISION...when you weigh 242 pounds and are capable of running sub 4.4 second 40's, your need of vision is lessened a little as your natural abilities bring you to smashing into LB's and Safeties very quickly as it takes more than one man to tackle you. I'm really NOT comparing Hyde to Bo Jackson, but the almost strange combination of size and speed draws some comparisons. Hyde weighs 240 pounds and is capable of "bouncing out" runs if need be......and then--God help the CB's trying to tackle him.

I know that I'm probably the only person that thinks this way...even in Buckeye Nation. However, a healthy "El Guapo" runs 4.35 and weighs 240 to 245 pounds. When I think of players like that, Bo Jackson comes to mind. I'll always love Eddie George but really, "El Guapo" has a couple of things in his bag that our beloved Eddie George didn't. Carlos Hyde is the real deal. It is a shame that Hyde was not at 100% for his NFL workouts or he would be considered a top 10 pick easily as my favorite team (New England Pats) need a back of Hyde's caliber. Really though, what NFL team would NOT want to have a young strong RB that weighs 242 (by espin) and ran fast 40 times that led the Buckeye RB's in 2011? Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State) was the 48th pick in the 2013 draft....he weighed around 240 to 245 pounds and was nowhere near as fast as Hyde....and he was picked at #48.

"I hope they're last in everything". One of Meyer's comments when speaking of TTUN after being hired at Ohio State.



+1 HS
Buckeye Beast's picture

I actually think Louisiana is a great football state, & that they've produced a bit more talent than us lately. In my personal top 10 of high school talent states, we're at #6. But considering that New Jersey is the only other northern state I would put in the top 10 (#10), it says a lot about the quality of football players we produce. I believe spring football would have us at #4 in a few years. And call me crazy but Carlos Hyde reminds me of Jerome Bettis. Both big, physical running backs with under-rated speed & around the 240-250 pound range. I'm glad you've been a Hyde fan since day 1. I haven't always been the biggest believer in his potential until recently, so I give big props to you on that. It's nice to see someone stick by a player from day 1. Joey Bosa was my favorite guy in the 2012 class, but since he's already going off, I would like to come out & say that I think James Clark will make a big impact.

Even Squirrels hate Michigan

Chris Lauderback's picture

I lazily left off Boone, Ballard and Pryor as I was focusing on guys selected in the regular Draft. Boone was a big miss on my part as he's a legit contributor but Ballard and Pryor seem far cries to be consistently productive Buckeyes at the next level. Ballard has 45 career receptions with 38 of those coming in 2011 though Arizona seems to like what they saw from him after a seven-catch 2013. 

Go1Bucks's picture

Not surprising regarding Pryor, expected, and hope for more from Ballard.  Boone is a producer.

Go Bucks!

chirobuck's picture

I think Norwell has a chance to be a good solid Guard at the NFL level as well


^ best post ever ^

bucndc's picture








-1 HS
buckskin's picture

I think this comment was supposed to go in the Archie post.

+1 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Yeah, Buckskin, probably right. I love Archie - class all the way around. Regarding this post, however, and going back almost 4 decades, one might say (arguably) that Ray Griffin had a better pro career than Archie.

2002osubuck's picture

I think Mewhort will end up being a gaurd and excel in the league for yrs. I also think Shazier's gonna have really good career and be the next great buckeye LB in the NFL. This is just the start, we're gonna have several top picks in the draft each year, with the level of talent Meyers bringing in.

+1 HS
Calgarybuck's picture

I can def see Noah spence being an impactful 3-4 OLB (2nd round, fringe 1st if he gets up to 10+ sacks) diesel will have to stay till his senior year but he could be a great 3-4 DE in a San Fran/Pittsburg system.  Now many of the class of 2012 have yet to reach their potential but for now these 2 standout to me from an NFL aspect going into their 3rd year 

PoKeY21's picture

As a Steeler fan I can honestly say Heyward is primed for a phenomenal season in 2014. He plays a less than glamorous position on the DL but in a 3-4 he is extremely important. The player before him was Arron Smith who played at a probowl level for a decade without much recognition. So if the Steelers D returns to form this year it will have a whole lot to do with Heyward taking the next step in his development, even if you don't hear his name called.

Also this is a make or break year for Adams  with the Steelers. They have 3 tackles looking to start Adams, fellow 2nd rounder Gilbert from Florida, and 7th round pick Beechum out of A&M. Most think Beechum is in the lead for the left spot (steal for a 7th round pick). If Adams can beat out Gilbert this season the Steelers will probably let Gilbert walk because this is the last year of his rookie contract. If Gilbert wins they extend his rookie contract and that relegates Adams to the bench. Mike Munchak is the new Oline coach and they will utilize a zone blocking scheme more. This may benefit Adams, I don't know, but like i said its a make or break year for him.

"It was a woman who drove me to drink, come to think of it I never did hang around to thank her for that"

+1 HS
Crumb's picture

How about Mike Nugent? Or Will Smith? They're still doin pretty dang good in their NFL careers or do they go too far back to make it on this list?

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

bleedscarlet's picture

Gonzo's still making a living in the pros isn't he?  Stoney could end up being a contributor in GB....

Slingin' swag since 1970


gwalther's picture

Ballard, Rolle

Class of 2008

Go1Bucks's picture

Gonzalez, until injury relegated him to backup in 2009/2010.  Currently a free agent but also enrolled in Standford business  school.  May have moved on.



Go Bucks!

osubuckeye4life's picture

Don't forget about Jon Gruden's latest mancrush. Dane SANZENBACHER!