Late-Round Talent Isn't a Rarity Coming From Ohio State

By Johnny Ginter on April 26, 2020 at 10:05 am
Former Ohio State player Nate Ebner
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Most of yesterday afternoon was spent by Buckeye fans getting increasingly irritated that the all-time leader in receptions at Ohio State kept sliding down draft boards.

K.J. Hill did eventually get picked up in the 7th round by the Los Angeles Chargers, which prompted them to tweet a fun meme and everyone else to think aloud "Yeah, but you could've gotten him in the six previous rounds but didn't, so..."

I have no doubt that the Chargers got a steal. Hill didn't have an incredible 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine (or even a good one), but it isn't like the guy was running backwards. Numerous corners and safeties that he repeatedly smoked during his time at Ohio State will be making millions more than him, all for the opportunity to get smoked by him again once they're all in the league.

But K.J. and the other Buckeyes selected on Saturday have the opportunity to join a list of Ohio State players that was admittedly a lot longer than I thought who made an impact in the NFL from the later rounds in the draft.

Note that this list doesn't include undrafted free agents (Andrew Norwell, for instance, was at one point the highest paid guard in NFL history, but he wasn't one of the couple hundred or so players with their names in bright lights in late April), and while the number of rounds has changed dramatically over the years, I've tried to restrict the definition of "late rounds" to mean the last thirdish of the draft.


Linebacker Stan White was drafted almost at the very end of the 17th and final round of the 1972 NFL Draft, with only four players selected after him. Despite that, selection number 438 made the most of his lengthy career with the Baltimore Colts and the Detroit Lions; through 11 seasons in the NFL he was a consistent performer with a knack for interceptions. He still holds the single-season record for most INTs by a linebacker, and is second all-time.

Safety Doug Plank had an entire defensive scheme named after him.

Taken with the 291st pick in the 12th round of the 1975 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan (father of Rex and Rob) would name his innovative "46" defense after Plank's jersey number, in honor of the defenseman's hard-hitting style and role in the scheme. Plank played eight years for the Bears and would eventually coach in the Arena Football League.


He won't show up in too many highlight reels, but quarterback Kent Graham (8th round, 211th pick) had a long journeyman career that started in 1992 being drafted by the Giants and ended in 2002 with the Texans.


Longsnapper Kevin Houser was taken by New Orleans in the 7th round of the 2000 edition of the draft, and went on to play through 2010, which is nice. He also got sued by a bunch of members of the Saints for financial issues related to investments, so, less good. Donnie Nickey got drafted in the 5th round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans and played mostly special teams for them for eight seasons. As far as I know he did not get sued by his teammates.

Ken-Yon Rambo is probably not a name that you expected to see here, and while the wideout had a relatively short NFL stint after being drafted by the Raiders in the 7th round of the 2001 draft (229th overall), he ended up in the CFL and had a pretty decent career with the Calgary Stampeders and won two Grey Cups, which is two more than you have.


Safety Kurt Coleman got drafted in 2010 by the Eagles in the 7th round with just 11 picks left to go (linebacker Austin Spitler actually got drafted a few spots behind him and stuck around for a handful of seasons) and had/has had a pretty damn good career! Coleman was a consistent contributor for both the Eagles and the Carolina Panthers and has played in nine playoff games.

hey guys
Ebner and Reid Fragel. I took this picture.

Nate Ebner got drafted in the 6th round by the Patriots in 2012, and you can read one of the many, many, many articles about the special teams legend-slash-rugby player-slash-three time Super Bowl champion that have been written over the years, but it suffices to say that the Columbus native kicks ass and will continue to do so with his new team, the Giants.

One of my favorite football humans is offensive lineman Corey Linsley, who was taken in the 5th round of the 2014 draft by the Packers and made an immediate impact, making the NFL All-Rookie team. Though he's struggled a bit in the last two seasons, he's a fan favorite in Green Bay and also has been on the Dubcast a couple of times, so it's pretty apparent he's on track for the Hall of Fame. Linsley is also in a contract year, so definitely a dude to keep an eye on.

This isn't an exhaustive list, and hopefully sometime soon in the future we can add the likes of K.J. Hill, Jashon Cornell, Jordan Fuller, and more to it. Congrats to them, and hopefully we can see them do great things on the field in the near future.

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