Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. Across the Shield follows those who once wore Scarlet and Gray on their journeys through the NFL.
Can't Guard Mike
Michael Thomas had perhaps the most impressive NFL debut of all the former Buckeyes. Thomas made his first career start in his debut and caught literally everything thrown his way.
Michael Thomas seems to be finding his footing. That's his third reception now for 43 yards. He's caught every ball thrown his way. 14.9 per— Lyons Yellin WWL-TV (@LyonsYellin) September 11, 2016
His injury status was in question entering the weekend, as he had an injured ankle, but Thomas finished the game with six targets and six catches for 58 yards with a key fumble recovery.
Not bad for an NFL debut.
A week after surviving cuts and making an NFL roster, Jalin Marshall found himself returning kickoffs for the New York Jets – and he did it well.
Marshall showed off his speed and shiftiness Sunday in his NFL debut, returning a kickoff 65-yards.
AHEM. The correct video of that Jalin Marshall 65 yard punt return. Beast: pic.twitter.com/VSTq4jpcgo— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) September 11, 2016
Marshall totaled 110 yards on kick returns and added 11 more on punt returns, and seems to be catching the attention of Jets fans.
From Luis Tirado Jr. at The Jet Express:
At the rate Marshall is going, he’s going to easily be a household name this season and finally make the Jets’ special teams formidable.
Once he gets acclimated to how to be a consistent receiving target on offense, Marshall will be an x-factor all across the board.
From undrafted to x-factor – I like the sound of that.
Mike Nugent kicked roughly 48 game winners in his Buckeye career, so it should shock nobody that he's doing the same thing in the NFL.
In a week where missed field goals became the storylines, the former Buckeye had no problems with his game-winner. Nugent drilled a 47-yarder with with 54 seconds left on the clock to give the Bengals 23-22 win over the Jets in their season opener.
“I’d be lying if I said there [wasn’t] excitement and a little bit of nerves here and there,” Nugent told the New York Post. “I’m probably done with the game if that ever goes away.”
Nugent was 3 for 4 kicking on the day, but he hit the one that counted.
Elliott Finds Paydirt
Ezekiel Elliott had a relatively slow start, Sunday. The fourth overall pick struggled to get anything going in the first half, primarily due to virtually no push from his offensive line.
In the second half, however, the former Buckeye found a familiar place in Jerry World – the endzone. Elliott weaved through the Giants' defense and dove across the goal-line to score his first NFL touchdown.
Elliott led Dallas in rushing with 20 carries for 50 yards, and caught one pass for one yard.
Overall, it was a nice debut, but you have to think the Cowboys will want to see more production out of their newest toy as the season progresses.
Play of the Week
This week, the Factory of Sadness provided us a brief moment of ecstasy as former Buckeye quarterback mossed the Eagles secondary for a 44 yard reception.
Pryor appears to be the Browns' top receiving threat and got a lot of targets in week one, so there's a solid chance he'll be a regular on the highlight reel (assuming there is still somebody on the team to toss the ball in his general area).
Ohio Against the World
For the first time in as long as I can remember, an entire fantasy team can be filled using only former Buckeyes.
Of course, not all these players start or really even contribute, but it got me thinking – what if I only drafted former Ohio State players? Could I win a game? Could I finish better than last? Could I make the playoffs?
So, I got a few friends together and offered them to join a league, on the condition that they did not draft Ohio State players. I wanted to make sure they were trying to win, so I set a prize of $50 for the winner.
Here's how I did in my first matchup:
There are obvious problems – unless both Tyrod Taylor and E.J. Manuel go down, I can expect a zero from the quarterback position every week. It will also be a struggle to get points at tight end as both Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett will be used primarily for blocking, and I have no backup for Mike Nugent.
All in all, though, I'm optimistic. I have to bona fide starters at receiver in Michael Thomas and Terrelle Pryor with Braxton Miller and Ted Ginn Jr. as solid flex options. I also have two top running backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde as well as a solid kicker.
If the stars align, I don't think it's totally unrealistic to think I can win a game – but it sure did not happen in week one.
|Cardale Jones||QB||Buffalo Bills||DNP|
|Adolphus Washington||DT||Buffalo Bills||Played, did not record stats|
|Philly Brown||WR||Carolina Panthers||1 catch for 11 yards|
|Kurt Coleman||S||Carolina Panthers||Three total tackles|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||WR||Carolina Panthers||1 catch for five yards, one rush for 20 yards|
|Andrew Norwell||OL||Carolina Panthers||Started|
|Mike Adams||OL||Chicago Bears||DNP|
|Mike Nugent||K||Cincinnati Bengals||3 for 4 on field goals, kicked a game winner|
|Terrelle Pryor||WR||Cleveland Browns||Three catches for 68 yards|
|Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Dallas Cowboys||20 Carries for 51 yards and a touchdown, one catch for one yard|
|Rod Smith||RB||Dallas Cowboys||DNP|
|Jeff Heuerman||TE||Denver Broncos||DNP|
|Bradley Roby||CB||Denver Broncos||Five total tackles|
|Taylor Decker||OL||Detroit Lions||Started in NFL debut|
|Corey Linsley ***||OL||Green Bay Packers||DNP|
|Braxton Miller||WR||Houston Texans||One catch for six yards|
|John Simon||LB||Houston Texans||Six total tackles, one sack|
|Jack Mewhort ***||OL||Indianapolis Colts||Started|
|Michael Bennett ***||DT||Jacksonville Jaguars||DNP|
|Jake McQuaide||LS||Los Angeles Rams||Started|
|Alex Boone||OL||Minnesota Vikings||Started|
|Nate Ebner||DB||New England Patriots||One total tackle|
|Vonn Bell||S||New Orleans Saints||Played, did not record stats|
|James Laurinaitis||LB||New Orleans Saints||Seven total tackles|
|Michael Thomas||WR||New Orleans Saints||Six catches for 58 yards|
|Eli Apple||CB||New York Giants||Four total tackles|
|Johnathan Hankins||DT||New York Giants||Five total tackles|
|Darron Lee||LB||New York Jets||Six total tackles|
|Nick Mangold||C||New York Jets||Started|
|Jalin Marshall||WR||New York Jets||110 yards on kick return, 10 yards on punt return|
|Devin Smith ***||WR||New York Jets||DNP|
|Malcolm Jenkins||S||Philadelphia Eagles||One total tackle|
|Cameron Heyward||DE||Pittsburgh Steelers||Monday Night|
|Ryan Shazier||LB||Pittsburgh Steelers||Monday Night|
|Joey Bosa||DE||San Diego Chargers||DNP|
|Joshua Perry||LB||San Diego Chargers||Played, did not record stats|
|Carlos Hyde||RB||San Francisco 49ers||Monday Night|
|Tyvis Powell||S||Seattle Seahawks||One total tackle|
|Nick Vannett||TE||Seattle Seahawks||DNP|
***Player listed as "Injured/Physically Unable to Perform" to start the season