When Your Favorite NFL Team Drafting a Buckeye in Round One Goes Wrong

By Michael Citro on May 8, 2014 at 1:00p
37 Comments

“With their first-round selection of the 1988 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…Ohio State linebacker…”

I remember my jaw dropping and my whole body going momentarily numb. It was happening. My favorite Buckeye of all time was about to become a member of my favorite NFL team. Chris Spielman was going to join John Offerdahl, Bob Brudzinski and John Bosa to boost Miami’s defense for the 1988 season. It was pure joy.

For about half a second.

“…Eric Kumerow.”

Wait…what?

The Dolphins had a chance to have the most dominant inside linebacking tandem in the NFL with Spielman/Offerdahl and instead they went with the tall, rangy former quarterback-turned-defensive end/outside linebacker. At that time, Eric Kumerow was an NFL tweener — not heavy enough to play defensive end and not fast enough to play linebacker.

I was 21 years old, had never been part of an NFL personnel department, and still I knew this.

I was very torn by the pick — absolutely no one had predicted Kumerow as a first round selection (as you might imagine, "draft expert" Mel Kiper had much to say about the Dolphins reaching for what should be a middle-round pick) — because, although I loved the guy as a Buckeye, he simply wasn’t the right fit for Miami. What was Don Shula doing?

No one, with the possible exception of Shula and the player himself, wanted Kumerow to succeed more than I did. After all, he had put together a great career at Ohio State. A three-year starter, Kumerow was a two-time all-conference selection and the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year in 1986. He racked up 23 career sacks and 39 tackles for loss in Columbus.

But I knew this would be an uphill battle for him.

Sure enough, the 16th overall pick of the 1988 draft flamed out of the league in just a few years. In three seasons in Miami, Kumerow didn’t start a game. Before being traded to Chicago for Vestee Jackson, Kumerow finished his Dolphins career with five sacks and an interception. He made only one tackle in 16 games in 1990, backing up Hugh Green at outside linebacker.

Some call him the biggest draft bust in Miami’s history.

It’s one thing to suffer through a wasted first round pick by your team. It’s about 10 times worse when that player is a beloved Buckeye. And it’s nearly unbearable when your team had the chance to scoop up Spielman but instead chose to do something that turned into one of its all-time worst draft day blunders.

It’s one thing to suffer through a wasted first round pick by your team. It’s about 10 times worse when that player is a beloved Buckeye.

Flash forward to 2007.

Between bands at a progressive rock festival in Phoenixville, Penn., I wandered into a bar to catch a little of the draft and to grab a beer — not necessarily in that order. As luck would have it, they were up to the eighth pick and my beloved Dolphins were coming up at No. 9. I got a Yuengling and parked in front of a TV.

All Dolphins fans wanted a quarterback, and the majority of us (and yes, I’ll freely cop to it) wanted Brady Quinn. Instead, the Miami selection was Ted Ginn Jr.

Wait...what?

To this day, I love Teddy Ballgame as much as any Buckeye fan, but I groaned at the pick despite all of his collegiate accomplishments.

With a glaring need at quarterback, it felt like the Dolphins had decided a kick and punt returner was worth the ninth overall selection. Most Miami fans were livid. And then-coach Cam Cameron didn’t endear Ginn to the fanbase by saying the Dolphins had drafted “the entire Ginn family.”

Once again, I decided to be cautiously optimistic. Maybe this would work out. I wanted Ginn to be great and now my team’s 2007 draft class depended on it. Perhaps he’d become a favorite target of second-round pick John Beck — the quarterback of the future! — and they’d dominate the league for years. [Pause for laughter]

The college game and the pro game simply aren’t the same. I saw deficiencies in Ginn that worried me, and that was backed up in the scouting reports I read. The concerns were that Ginn would struggle against press coverage, was a suspect route runner, and, while extremely fast, he lacked “quickness” to get in and out of breaks.

And those turned out to be his precise flaws.

Miami went 1-15 that fall. Ginn started nine games and caught 34 passes for 420 yards and two touchdowns — not terrible for a rookie receiver, but certainly not the impact you’d like from the No. 9 overall pick. Cameron was fired after the season.

Ginn put together two more average seasons with the Dolphins before being traded to San Francisco in April of 2010 for a fifth-round pick (Nolan Carroll). In 2008, he started a career high 14 games, finishing with 56 receptions for 790 yards and two scores. Ginn finished his Miami career making 12 starts in 2009, totaling 38 catches for 454 yards and a touchdown.

In fairness, Ginn did get open deep a lot for Miami and Dolphin quarterbacks (among them: Beck, Trent Green, Cleo Lemon, and Chad Henne) simply couldn’t get him the ball.

One thing Ginn did well for the Dolphins was return kicks and punts, although many Miami fans criticized his tendency to run out of bounds to avoid contact. He scored three return touchdowns for Miami and had a number of others called back on holding penalties.

Like Kumerow, Ginn flamed out of Miami after three years. Once again, here was a Buckeye first-round pick that was considered a bust selection by my Dolphins. Unlike Kumerow, at least he turned into a useful player. But he certainly did not live up to being a No. 9 overall selection.

So when you watch the draft tonight, keep in mind that having your team take a Buckeye can be a double-edged sword. You're golden if you get a Spielman, Orlando Pace or Joey Galloway. Not so much if you get a Kumerow or a Vern Gholston.

Enjoy the draft.

[Evil laugh]

[Is simultaneously giddy and terrified at the prospect of Miami drafting Ryan Shazier.]

37 Comments

Comments

route4buckeye's picture

Lol. I thought that said "When Getting High Goes Wrong".

+3 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Funny you mention Vern G.  He is listed as one of the biggest busts for an overall 6 th pick, especially with none or virtually no sacks to this day.  Still, hope for the best in all Alum but sometimes, it aint enough.

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
Earle's picture

Craig Powell

Italics are for emphasis.

+5 HS
Michael Citro's picture

Browns fans obviously know my pain.

Curt Heinrichs's picture

A million times yes. 

+1 HS
Rapping Bum's picture

Not round one, but Brian Robiskie.

 

Help is on the way.

+3 HS
MackHall400Series's picture

As a Bengals fan, I'm afraid this could be Roby...  giddy and terrified describe my feelings quite accurately.

+1 HS
MacG91's picture

Dan 'Big Daddy' Wilkinson.. Archie Griffin..Both lovable college players for OSU but didn't match their 1 round pick by my beloved Bengals. Bengals did get Pete Johnson in round 2 which turned into a great pick. 

Mac..yeah

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

My pop followed the Colts after we moved to Virginia in the late 70's.

He was not pleased with their gamble in the '82 draft:

 

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+7 HS
Earle's picture

I bet he wasn't.

Italics are for emphasis.

+4 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

The odds were against him.

+2 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

He definitely wasn't a sure thing.

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

and then the fiasco with elway in 83. Colts fans must have hated the 80's!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
703Buckeye's picture

Now they're in the middle of a Manning/Luck dynasty. For as much as the Colts hated the 80's, they're loving this millennium so far.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+1 HS
Floyd Stahl's picture

To this day I wonder if Art would've become a decent NFL QB if not for the gambling issues. I believe he would've. Thoughts?

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

If he could have only proven his ability to win, he would have secured his place and shown his resilience. 

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

I always thought he'd be a star in the NFL. He was a much better QB than Mike Tomczak, who made a nice career for himself in the league.. Too bad Schlichter mucked it up.

Hovenaut's picture

Too young to understand at the time, but looking back to it now I think Schlichter would have been a good NFL qb. He was a gifted athlete, just took the wrong path.

A real shame.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
UFest57's picture

As a DolFan, i recall the Teddy Ginn pick like it was yesterday. Mixed emotion because all bets were on taking Pretty Boy Quinn. Taking Ginn was exciting but I, as many others did, knew it was the wrong choice. Oh well...at least we are not the Browns. 

Good luck to all Buckeyes in this draft! 

Bailey458's picture

I'd gladly take dissapointment of Ginn and Kumerow over the reality that the Bengals have drafted Chris Perry, Rey Maualauga, Leon Hall, Carlos Dunlap, Andre Caldwell and have Taylor Mays and Reggie Nelson (thats seven buckeye killers without even thinking I have to root for).  It's like a SEC USC team, yuk.  Give me Roby, Hyde or Shazier, PLEASE do not take Taylor Lewan or Tajh Boyd (although he isn't so bad) or Darqueeze Denard.

You can't spell chump without UM's picture

The Bengals did not draft Reggie Nelson, the Jags did. Nelson went to Cinci via trade in 2010.

Brady Hoke ate my comment

-3 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

You can't spell and you can't read.

Buckeye in Texas

+1 HS
TNBuckeye1421's picture

San Fran took Mays...

+1 HS
Bailey458's picture

They did it! they took Darqueeze (kind of had to it's a good fit)!  My Bengals only want buckeye killers, so frustrating, especially when the stupid steelers take all the bucks.  ARGH

GoBucks713's picture

As a Browns fan, all I can say is if a Quarterback that is not the clone of Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Bernie Kosar, or even John Elway is taken with the 4th pick overall, I will slit my wrists.

-The Aristocrats!

+1 HS
BierStube's picture

If we get this guy ... at least he will sign some balls for fans!

 

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+2 HS
NitroBuck's picture

I'm certain I don't want JF anywhere near my balls with a sharpie.

Ferio.  Tego.

+1 HS
703Buckeye's picture

If Kumerow didn't go to Miami, the Buckeyes may not have this fellow right now...

 

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+8 HS
NitroBuck's picture

Great point!

Ferio.  Tego.

hit_the_couch's picture

I remember the Ginn pick being booed by Dolphins fans and their GM sweating balls on camera trying to justify the pick.  

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

JohnnyKozmo's picture

As a Lions fan, you can substitute "Buckeye" in the title of this blog, for any other NCAA team and it would work just fine.  It still amazes me how Millen's protege, Mayhew, has kept his job this long.   

Joe Beale's picture

As a Bengals fan, one of my biggest draft-day headaches came when Mike Brown and company did NOT pick a Buckeye -- in this case Chris Gamble. They desperately needed a good cover corner, but inexplicably they chose RB Chris Perry from TSUN. We all know how that worked out. The Panthers then took Gamble only two picks later. SMH

dubjayfootball90's picture

Dude, I was born in 1988...

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Michael Citro's picture

The Dolphins again screwed up their first round pick, but at least this time it wasn't a Buckeye, so it only hurts a lot instead of a LOT a lot.

Rocket Man's picture

Shazier and Roby certainly landed in some good spots in this draft . . . good teams where they seem to fit needs.

Never put off 'til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely.

MAVBuck's picture

Hard to call Kumerow a bust (let alone the biggest bust in Dolphins history) when they reached for him! If he was drafted where he shouldve been he's just another mid round pick that didnt make it. Put it into a little perspective next time 'phins fans.

Michael Citro's picture

While you're right about it being a reach (see also: Miami's first round pick last night, Ryan Tannehill, etc., etc.), we label guys "bust" when they don't live up to their draft position. It's just the way it is. And even if Miami waited until the third round to pick him, he'd have still been a bust.