Last week, we took a trip around the NFL circuit to see what teams were saying about Ohio State's five first-round draft picks following the conclusion of league minicamps. The results, as expected, were fairly positive as each player figures to make an impact as a rookie.
But, as you're well-aware, the 2016 NFL Draft was a historic night for the Buckeyes as they had seven additional players selected after the first round. There's a strong chance some of those picks are high-impact rookies, as well.
Here are some things NFL teams are saying about the former Ohio State players they recently selected in the NFL Draft:
Michael Thomas — New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver
Many thought there was potential for former Buckeyes wide receiver Michael Thomas to hear his name called at the end of the first round on draft night. But when Thomas slipped to the second round and was selected by the New Orleans Saints with pick No. 47 — and subsequently paired with Drew Brees — many thought it was a perfect fit.
Indeed, Thomas appears to be off to a great start in New Orleans.
"His improvement over these six practices has been awesome," Brees said recently, via CBS Sports. "From day one until now, the same mistakes are not being made. He's on to the next set of challenges, and he's continuing to progress well."
Vonn Bell — New Orleans Saints Safety
The Saints have a pair of high-quality safeties on their roster in Jarius Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro, but trading up in the draft to select Bell would lead one to believe the former Ohio State All-American figures to be a key part of the secondary's future in New Orleans.
For now, however, the Saints are trying to figure out ways to get all three on the field and Bell has reportedly seen looks with the first-team defense when New Orleans has worked three-safety packages in offseason practice. Bell's playmaking ability is what caught the eye of Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn.
“We want ball hawks across the board (in the secondary),” Glenn said, via NewOrleansSaints.com. “If you have a guy that has that mentality, I think it rubs off on other guys. Our secondary, we’re looking for guys that are ball hawks, that can make plays on the ball. Because that’s the name of the game – can you get the ball?”
Adolphus Washington — Buffalo Bills Defensive Tackle
Adolphus Washington was somewhat of a surprise third-round selection by the Buffalo Bills as many pegged the former Buckeyes defensive tackle to go somewhere in the 4 to 7 range after a suspension ended Washington's Ohio State career.
Paired with Buffalo's first-round selection, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, Washington should give head coach Rex Ryan a pair of horses up front on the defensive line to have fun with next season. In fact, Bills general manager Doug Whaley thinks both could start next year.
"Shaq Lawson is going to walk in off the bus starting," Whaley said, via NFL.com. "Reggie Ragland and then Adolphus Washington — all three of those guys will start right off the bus. And we're excited for some guys from the fourth through sixth rounds that will contribute for us."
Braxton Miller — Houston Texans Wide Receiver
The Houston Texans had a clear philosophy in the NFL Draft: Add speed on offense. The Texans did just that by taking former Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller in the first round and former Buckeyes quarterback-turned-wide receiver Braxton Miller in the third.
Miller is still obviously raw for the wide receiver position, but his athleticism has never been a question. It may take some time to get used to the NFL level and the speed of the game, but Miller could be a big-time potential playmaker for the Texans if he ever fully picks up the position.
It appears Miller is a quick learner.
“This offense is not an offense that you can just come off the street and learn," All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said recently, via the Houston Chronicle. "You have to put in a lot of work. I have to give credit to the offensive staff and the staff in general for drafting guys that have high football IQs that can come in and learn this offense at such a fast pace. Just basically stay after it."
Nick Vannett — Seattle Seahawks Tight End
Nick Vannett never had a ton of production at Ohio State because of the Buckeyes' system, but it was hardly surprising he was a third-round selection by Seattle. That's because Vannett's skill set seems to be tailor-made for the NFL.
He caught on quickly for one of the NFL's best teams, too, and seems to already have a strong connection with quarterback Russell Wilson.
“He has surprised us, We knew that he could catch the ball and all that, but he’s a very natural catcher. He shows the savvy and instincts that you hope a guy has," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said recently, via The Seattle Times. "I know (quarterback) Russell (Wilson) has really clicked into him. He picked up on it and has already shown trust and working the ball his way. He’s exceeded our expectations a little bit in only a positive, great way for us.’’
Joshua Perry — San Diego Chargers Linebacker
After selecting Joey Bosa in the first round, the Chargers went back to the Ohio State well in the fourth round when they picked former Buckeyes linebacker, Joshua Perry.
Perry opened some eyes during San Diego's organized team activities and throughout minicamp, as well.
"When you saw Joshua on film and the entire Ohio State defense; the way they run around, run to the football, that’s the great thing you saw and one thing we really emphasize," head coach Mike McCoy said recently, via Chargers.com.
Cardale Jones — Buffalo Bills Quarterback
When the Buffalo Bills drafted Cardale Jones in the fourth round it was clear they were selecting a project. Jones is far from a finished product but has the physical tools to, potentially, be an NFL quarterback one day.
All reports out of Buffalo indicate Jones has been exactly that so far. He's had good days and bad ones, but still showcases that raw ability from time to time.
"You know we are trying to really throw everything at him which is somewhat unfair, but in the long run, it is probably the best way to do things," Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman said recently, via WKBW. "At some point, we will titrate down, define the player and customize what we do with him. Right now we are exposing him to everything to get a feel for him. So we are not really in the evaluation phase, we are simply trying to get him prepared for training camp."