Buckeyes in the NFL: Draft Recap

By Mike Young on May 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

Draft day, 2009. Five years later, are any Ohio State players "the man," still?

Drake remixes aside, OSU doesn't have a particularly strong reputation of late. That might change after six Buckeyes were selected in the 2014 draft, the most since 2009. Seven former OSU players – including first round picks Malcolm Jenkins and Beanie Wells – had their names called that year, equalling the amount of first rounders from this year.

Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby broke-up the top-32 Ohio State shutout, as both went on Thursday. We take a look at how they, in addition to the four other Buckeyes selected, will fit in their new homes: 

Ryan Shazier – Pittsburgh Steelers


Selected: First Round, Pick No. 15
Incumbent Starter: Vince Williams (LILB)  

With needs at defensive back, wide receiver, plus along the defensive and offensive lines, the Steelers seemed destined to address something other than linebacker. 

Yet, for the second straight year, Pittsburgh spent a first-round pick on a linebacker in an attempt to re-build what was once the league's most-feared unit. With his speed and a recent trend of placing more "undersized" linebackers on the outside, Shazier is capable of playing one of the OLB spots for Dick LeBeau. 

With a significant lack of depth next to inside-backer Lawrence Timmons, and spots occupied by 2013 first-round pick Jarvis Jones and Jason Worlids, Shazier will probably line up at left-inside line backer. Shazier's ability to stuff the run and in coverage will ease the pressure on a defense that did not rate highly in any particular category. 

Bradley Roby – Denver Broncos


Selected: First Round, Pick No. 31
Incumbent Starter: Kayvon Webster (CB)  

Recent off-field "trouble" certainly did not affect Roby's draft stock more than his 2013 season.

He wasn't as consistently dominant in his redshirt-junior season, but his athleticism still made him one of the draft's top corner prospects. Roby ran a 4.39 at the NFL combine in February, putting him among the top-five in his position (behind Browns first-round selection Justin Gilbert's 4.37).

Denver continued to rebuild its defensive secondary this off-season by signing Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward. Roby is the latest addition to the new defensive-back corps and will likely line-up opposite of Talib and next to nickel corner Chris Harris.

Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers


Selected: Second Round, Pick No. 57
Incumbent Starter: Frank Gore (RB) 

The other 31 NFL teams might soon regret this.

Widely considered to be the best running back in the draft, Hyde slipped to the late second round and went after two other backs. Inexplicably, the Bengals selected LSU's Jeremy Hill over Hyde, citing Hill's pass-protection abilities, among other reasons.

That shouldn't offend Hyde, who couldn't have found a better fit than San Francisco. Frank Gore, a geriatric as a  30-year-old running back, is also entering the final year of his contract. Still, Gore has started 14 or more games in all but two seasons with the 49ers. 

Hyde has to compete with the incumbent Gore, as well as Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Marcus Lattimore. Behind their offensive line, however, it's hard to imagine "El Guapo" not succeeding at the next level. 

Jack Mewhort – Indianapolis Colts


Selected: Second Round, Pick No. 59
Incumbent Starter: Donald Thomas (LG), Khaled Holmes (C), Anthony Castonzo (LT)

Despite being named a first-team All-American at left tackle, Mewhort is in store for a position change in the NFL.

As Marvin Harrison announced in the above video, the Colts list Mewhort at guard. Regardless, Indianapolis could stand to improve their run-blocking (in ways other than getting rid of Trent Richardson) and continue to help Andrew Luck in a surprisingly efficient pass-blocking scheme.

Mewhort's versatility could keep him in the NFL for years, as he played guard before transitioning to left tackle for his final two years at Ohio State. He was also an All-American center at St. John's (Toledo). He may not have a leg-up at a particular spot, but could step in anywhere along the offensive line when injuries occur.

Corey Linsley – Green Bay Packers 

Selected: Fifth Round, Pick No. 161
Incumbent Starter: J.C. Tretter (C), T.J. Lang (RG), Josh Sitton (LG)  

In another nod to Ohio State's outstanding offensive line production under Urban Meyer and Ed Warinner, Linsley also went in this year's draft.

The All-Big Ten center started his Buckeye career at guard, so Green Bay will benefit from his swing abilities. Starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith signed with Tampa Bay, so it was imperative that the Packers add to their offensive line depth. J.C. Tretter is expected to take over the starting role, but Linsley will compete with him there. 

Christian Bryant – St. LOuis Rams

Selected: Seventh Round, Pick No. 241
Incumbent Starter: T.J. McDonald (SS), Rodney McLeod (FS)  

We had to wait three days and it almost didn't happen, but the best Buckeye story to come out of this year's draft is Bryant.

Urban Meyer could not hide his frustrations after Bryant broke his ankle during the Wisconsin game. His leadership at the back half of the Ohio State defense was sorely missed in the last nine games of the season – not to mention a significant drop-off in play to Corey "Pitt" Brown. Ending the season on the sidelines is part of the reason why Bryant repeatedly appealed (albeit unsuccessfully) for a medical redshirt.

He now gets a shot to prove himself at the professional level, where he'll have plenty of competition. Starting strong safety T.J. McDonald is locked up through the 2017 season and St. Louis is comfortable with him in that role, so Bryant likely won't challenge him. A better spot for Bryant may be at free safety, where he'll look to beat out Matt Daniels and Cody Davis behind starter Rodney McLeod. 

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